Nick2cd

How narrow do you like your dovetails?

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I've been working on hand cut dovetails. I'm really enjoying it. I've been teaching myself how to do it via articles and YouTube vids. As I was watching rob cosman's video, I noticed he often makes the top of the tail/pin super narrow. It's pretty much just the width of the saw's kerf. I like the look it creates. I'm curious how u guys feel about it. Pointy triangles or blunted? /\ /_\

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Having never really made a handout dovetail, I can only speak from what I would prefer to see. That is dependent on the situation. Small keepsake box or smaller drawers, /\

Large chests, or other large pieces, /_\

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Hi Nick,

 

I really like the tiny pins that come to a point, especially when done half lap! I seem them a lot on old drawers. Perhaps not a strong as chunky pins but I have yet to see one break and they show the incredible skill of the craftsman. I think I took some photos of some recently, will see if I can find them and add them for you to have a look at.

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PGHMYN got it first:  It depends on the proportions of the piece, specifically the height of the box and the thickness of the material being joined.  For the record, I've heard such skinny pins referred to as "London style" dovetails.  Anyone know if they really did originate in London?  (While we're at it, are French cleats actually French?)

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No idea on the French Cleat question, but if we look to our friends in the culinary arts I think we can find clues. French Fries did not originate in France. Neither did French Toast nor French Dressing. But French Bread did. So, I would say there's a 1 in 4 chance French Cleats originated in France. ... and if she weighs as much as a duck she must be a witch.


Anyhow, I'd like to vote for chunky dovetails. I'm not fond of the delicate little tiny ones... personal preference.

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I personally like the more delicate ones myself. I keep the narrowest point just a tad larger than my smallest chisel which is just shy of 1/8", so I shoot for 1/8", this is of course on drawers with thinner sides. On furniture projects I never use the 1and 6 or 1and 8 and so on, I lay them out until it looks good to me and cut. I look at the proportions And what is visually appealing to the drawer height, this is determined of course by the number of tails but you get the picture. I used to use a jig to lay them out, and that works great, buried like the constant experimentation:) Every project I seem to do I think I have it perfect but the next one I always think "but if I change the angle to here....) I am sure I am the only one who really notices but that's also my biggest critic!

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... and if she weighs as much as a duck she must be a witch.

 

Pretty sure that originated in England.  She turned me into a newt!

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I like 'em skinny...  My normal; versions have ~ a 1/8" thick narrow end of the pin.

 

Oddly enough, my favorite way to cut dovetail tails is with a special blade in a table saw, with the board traveling face-first vertically.   I'm eyeballing to a line, so there are slight variations form corner to corner.  I normally freehand rout the waste away with a small router, and final fit with chisels.

 

Sooo....  I'm hand cutting dovetails, but I'm getting a power assist for stock removal.    They will never be mistaken for router jig versions.

 

The guy who taught me this has a 1/16" kerf blade ground for dovetails, so he can get a 1/16" skinny end of the pin.

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Not to thread jack here but does anyone layout dovetails the proper way? By that I mean without templates, jigs etc. Only tools are a making Guage, protractor, combo square and sliding T bevel. And finally had anyone found a tutorial for this method

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Search for Rob Cosman videos, Sean.  He's a fellow Canadian hanging out in (I think) Alberta.  He has a lot of videos showing laying out the tail placement with a pair of dividers.  Angle is set with a marking gauge he made with 1:8 or 1:6 angle (you can buy a nice one in aluminum from Lee Valley, keeping it Canadian).

 

...or search for Frank Klausz videos.  Layout by eye, angle by eye.  I'm admittedly more in the Frank camp.

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I lay mine out with a Titemark cutting gauge and Veritas bevel gauges, before I rough cut them with machines.

 

There's really no downside of a marker, it just saves the time of setting a bevel, and it stays true when you drop it...  :blink:   No need to buy them, you can easily make them, in as many different angles as you'd like, from scrap.

 

Check out PM's suggestions, and L :ph34r: :ph34r: K at as many dovetails as you can, in person, online, and in print.  You'll probably start to notice a pattern on finer work, and some will look more attractive to your eye.  In no time, you'll be laying them out easily.  Dovetails are a good example of the woodworking adage "If it looks right, it is right". 

 

When you choose a bevel, pick one that can be flipped to either side without the locking mechanism getting in the way.

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No idea on the French Cleat question, but if we look to our friends in the culinary arts I think we can find clues. French Fries did not originate in France. Neither did French Toast nor French Dressing. But French Bread did. So, I would say there's a 1 in 4 chance French Cleats originated in France. ... and if she weighs as much as a duck she must be a witch.

Anyhow, I'd like to vote for chunky dovetails. I'm not fond of the delicate little tiny ones... personal preference.

 

Point of order - French toast is actually French. It originated from the fact that French bakeries were closed on Mondays, so you had to buy Monday's bread on Sunday. Dipping it in an egg/milk blend was the way to rejuvenate it/make the staleness palatable.

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Point of order - French toast is actually French. It originated from the fact that French bakeries were closed on Mondays, so you had to buy Monday's bread on Sunday. Dipping it in an egg/milk blend was the way to rejuvenate it/make the staleness palatable.

 

Okay, I really don't want to hijack this thread, but when I was living over in the Netherlands, my Belgium friends told me that French toast was invented in Brussels. ... Their bakeries are also closed on Monday's....

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