Isaac

Dovetail help

Recommended Posts

As I'm working to improve my dovetail technique I've been scaling down the size of my pins as many have suggested that narrow pins are often a more attractive arrangement, and I'm tending to agree, either from personal choice or brainwashing. 

One challenge is when I cut my tails, my saw winds up being slightly skewed, such that I hit I am straight marking line across the top of the board and my diagonal line that is visible on the face of the board in front of me, but wind up off target on the line on the backside of the board. For larger pins, I have a large enough negative space on the tail board to get inside and fix this issue with my chisels and such.  For narrow and deep pins, this is quite challenging as the chisels themselves can't necessarily be operated in the space. Any suggestions for how to fix this?

by the way, I'm not talking about the cuts being radically skewed, but I've learned now that I really need to make sure my tails are as true, plumb, etc, as I can possibly get them, before I move onto making the pins, so I need to fix it. Obviously I need to keep working on my saw cutting skills, but rather than abandon them, I'd like to practice my repair/salvaging techniques. 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just leave a bit more fat behind and let it naturally thin out as my technique and abilities improve. I have seen people put a mirror up so that they can see the line on the side this away from them. This may help but doesn’t do much for me. Once I’ve gone far enough to see I missing the line there is no correcting the path. If I’m lucky enough to miss Bi a lot, I can go back and restart the cut :-)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear ya Isaac. When I lay out my Dts I take in consideration will my paring chisels fit in there.

 I'm always sawing my Dts too tight and they need paring. Sometimes I also use a flat xacto knife blade but the steel is soft. Compared to my good chisels so I don't reach for it unless I have to.

Keep at it even a small success is a step in the right direction.

Aj

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It can be hard to do, but stop after every couple of strokes to make sure you are on your line. Correct if you need to, then a couple more strokes. If you go much more than two-three strokes you can’t correct the cut. Good luck. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, gee-dub said:

I just leave a bit more fat behind and let it naturally thin out as my technique and abilities improve. I have seen people put a mirror up so that they can see the line on the side this away from them. This may help but doesn’t do much for me. Once I’ve gone far enough to see I missing the line there is no correcting the path. If I’m lucky enough to miss Bi a lot, I can go back and restart the cut :-)

 

3 hours ago, Unknown craftsman said:

I hear ya Isaac. When I lay out my Dts I take in consideration will my paring chisels fit in there.

 I'm always sawing my Dts too tight and they need paring. Sometimes I also use a flat xacto knife blade but the steel is soft. Compared to my good chisels so I don't reach for it unless I have to.

Keep at it even a small success is a step in the right direction.

Aj

7 minutes ago, Barron said:

It can be hard to do, but stop after every couple of strokes to make sure you are on your line. Correct if you need to, then a couple more strokes. If you go much more than two-three strokes you can’t correct the cut. Good luck. 

I think you guys have diagnosed my cutting problem, I feel like I get off track and then my fate is sealed, and now I'm trying to precision pare down the extra material, which isn't the easiest task for me when I have access, but especially difficult when I'm limited in how I can get to the material. 

I've been doing dovetails on 8/4 material. I'm curious if this practice will make doing them on 3/4 material easier the next time it comes around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, derekcohen said:

Isaac, most of the problems experienced in sawing dovetails come down to accurate marking out, and seeing the lines to saw to. If you can saw straight, then you can create perfect dovetails off the saw. I generally get around 95% saw to saw, and no extra paring to fit.

Here are a few examples ...

The dovetails in this bombe chest are compound - bow fronts and curving sides. The drawer fronts are Jarrah, the secondary wood is Tasmanian Oak ...

TopOfTheWorldToYou_html_m233f38e0.jpg

The end of my bench. These were fun!

55e28b74-db67-47eb-b272-0d2a59eaa6cb_zps

When you have many to fit, and it is hardwood-to-hardwood with no compression at all, then you had better be bloody accurate! This is fiddleback Marri from Western Australia.

Kist_html_73e7fb24.jpg

 

Kist_html_1adf4f56.png

Kist_html_m143e34e7.jpg

All these required no paring at all.

 

I have a couple of articles on my website about the blue tape method, which was a method I developed several years ago.

Half-blind dovetails:  http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Furniture/HalfBlindDovetailswithBlueTape.html

Through dovetails:  http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Furniture/ThroughDovetails3.html

These will help.

Regards from Perth

Derek

 

Derek,

I just read both posts, those are some great suggestions. I started this post wondering about my paring techniques, but all the responses have really reminded me to refocus my saw cutting technique. I am also thinking that doing some projects with narrower, 1/2 or 3/4 inch stock will likely help refine my techniques. 

 

Thanks!

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that has helped me is 1) startwith your saw resting on the near corner (easier to get it started smoothly and take a slow full lenght stoke rocking the saw so that you end up with a nice starting kerf across the top. 2) watch the near side line closely and cut down the near side without cutting much on the far side by lowering the saw handle as you go.  Then rock the saw forward to about level and cut the back.  I use an exacto knife to scribe my lines and a head band magnifier so the I can see the saw teeth follow the center of the scribe line.  I credit Lonnie Bird with this approach.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now