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Half-wood blind dovetails ?

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Anonymous

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Hi. I'm proposing a photo sequence prepared for a friend of mine willing to know my way to cut drawer half-blind dovetails.

http://it.f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mantrakalas/detail?.dir=/dc37&.dnm=7479.jpg

It comes to my mind that the holy books never (... at least those I came across) mention the "half wood" solution for the male-dovetails. Personally, I find this solution much more precise than the "full wood" one.

What do you think about ? (please DO NOT come up with routers ...)
Cheers
Alberto

P.S. I don't think you'll have difficulties in translating the comments but if you do... please ask !
 

Chris Knight

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Alberto,
I agree you don't often see it. I never make such large reduction in thickness as you have done because I generally use much thinner stock for drawers anyway (I feel too many people use very thick stock that makes small drawers ugly). I often do cut a small rebate with a shoulder plane though - that has the same effect as yours in that it hides any imperfections in the fit of the shoulders as seen from the inside.

You appear to have lost the benefit of this a bit however by not fully cleaning out the sockets for the tails with the result that there is a small stand-off? It could be shadows in the photograph.

Have you shown the sawing previously? I dont see where you sawed down the sides of the sockets prior to chopping them out.
 

Alf

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Alberto,

I certainly don't recall seeing that technique before; pretty clever. One real advantage that strikes me is that the shoulder of the rebate gives a very positive stop on the tails board when marking out the pins, which would be helpful. But the cynic in me has to ask, what's the drawback? Why isn't it a more widely known technique? Great photos, by the way. :D

Cheers, Alf
 

Dewy

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Before the use of router jigs, half blind dovetails were a work of art yet have become the norm.
An even more difficult joint to make is thesecret or mitred dovetail. This has the joint looking like a simple mitred corner but is incredibly strong. It was only ever used on the most expensive furniture because of the time taken to produce such marvels. It is very difficult to provide the knife edge on the mitres to hide all joints.
 
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Chris,
thank you for your comments. Unfortunately I do not have a power thickener so I have to manage with the stock I have in the shop. But I agree with you: it's a little thick for the size of the drawer...

It was not a shadow :oops: : actually there was a slight stand-off. However, it disappeared as I clamped the drawer firmly back to front.

Yes, I sawed down the sides of the sockets with a Jap dozuki prior to using the chisel.

Alf,
in Italy we call it "behindology" (the science of figuring out what is behind...: a widely professed discipline !). In my eyes there are four basic advantages:
1) as you say, it helps marking out the sockets;
2) it helps cutting the two sides of the drawer to the very same measure;
3) it helps maintaining the two stocks perfectly aligned and perpendicular;
4) the rebate gives more surface to the glue.

Drawbacks ? mmmm :roll: ...
 

Chris Knight

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Alf,

I really don't think there is any drawback. I started doing it with handcut half blind dovetails after I had observed that this is how the Leigh jig does them - indeed, any jig if one is using a dovetail bit to cut the pins.

For me, the greatest advantage lies in the hiding of a less than perfect shoulder line on the inside of a drawer. The eye seems quite capable of seeing humps and bumps only half a micron high when it comes to that particular joint line!

You are quite right about registering the piece being marked out for pins - it is almost enough to persuade me to start cutting tails first!
 

Alf

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Okay, so if there's no drawback why isn't it more widely touted by the dovetailing gurus? It's not that I don't believe you, I can't see a drawback either, I'm just genuinely wondering why not. Although maybe it has and I've just missed it; up until recently I tended to skip any articles about dovetailing out of sheer embarassment... :roll:

Cheers, Alf

P.S. Chris, you don't do pins first do you? Yikes, and I thought you were an okay sort of guy too... :shock: :wink:
 
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Alf":2zgzxk3s said:
I'm just genuinely wondering why not
WOW ! Rolex award for the biggest revolution in blind dovetailing !!!!!
 

Philly

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Just an extra thought..
When cutting half-blind dovetails using my Incra jig a rebate is cut on half of the joint, just like in this case.
On a hand cutting front, it certainly has got to help when marking out the pins. I have seen this approach in Fine Woodworking mag also, can't remember which article. If anyone is interested I'll take a flick thru some back issues.
regards,
Philly :D
 

Alf

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So basically, because I've never let one of those non-Rodent dovetailing cutting devices through the workshop door, I've been missing out on potential revelations and epiphanies. Well who'd have thunk it? :roll: (Not going to wonder how many of those R & Es might have involved "Hell's teeth, this jig is hopeless, why on earth did I buy it" comments. :wink: Ooops, I just did... :oops: )

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Alf,
You can never have too many useless expensive jigs! (regardless of what SHMBO might say!)
Thinking about the rebate thing, I'm sure it was an article by Steve Latta who rebated the back of the tails. Will hunt down said article tonight.
Cheers
Philly :D

p.s. Hows the treasure chest of tools coming on?
 

Alf

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If it's a fairly recent article then I probably have it myself. If you could track down the issue that'd save me a heap of time, ta. :D

Philly":3g3lc3av said:
p.s. Hows the treasure chest of tools coming on?
Very definitely on hold. :( A large cardboard box of rather newer treasures arrived yesterday from Santa at the North Pole. Well north of here anyhow. :wink: For some reason I'm considered the right person to review them for this esteemed site, which is such a bind... :twisted: Just too bad Santa wants them all back again at the end of the month really. :( :( :( :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

Cheers, Alf
 

Gary H

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A large cardboard box of rather newer treasures arrived yesterday from Santa at the North Pole. Well north of here anyhow. For some reason I'm considered the right person to review them for this esteemed site, which is such a bind...
Oooo this should be good.What could they be? The non-cable-power assisted, hand-driven variety, maybe??? :wink:

Gary
(waiting with baited breath...)
 

StevieB

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Maybe being daft here, not being a dovetail expert, but surely two drawbacks are one, the strength of the actual tail, the thinner it is the less strength it will have where it meets the drawer side (ie at the tails thinnest point) and secondly the cost. If you are making tails only half the depth of the side of the drawer, and they are strong enough, surely you could save money and timber by using tails the thickness of the wood but having the entire drawer side half as thick?

Steve.

Wondering just how rare mahogany was in Chippendales day, how much it cost to import and whether he would have made something twice as thick as it needed to be just to make cutting the pins easier
 

Philly

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Stevie B,
Not being daft there-thinner drawer sides=less material waste, less work (maybe a little). As regard the strength issue-the tension on that joint is front-back not sideways or racking so strength shouldn't be an issue.
Philly :D
 

Dewy

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Steve B
I have a chest of drawers made by my grandfather almost 80 years ago. It's pine with the drawer sides only 5/16" (8mm). These drawers are all half blind dovetailed into 1" drawer fronts. It has been in daily use since it was made for my father as a baby & the only problem is that one drawer handle has lost the nut keeping it in place.
 

Philly

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Alf,
Found it! The article was on cutting dovetails on the tablesaw (yes this is an American magazine.....). Issue no. 152, Dec 2001. There is a photo on the top of page 59 showing him rabbeting the inside face of the tails. He says" a small rabbet behind the tails creates a clean inside edge on the finished joint and makes it easier to locate the tails over the pins when transferring the layout. It also protects the corners of the tails when boards are stacked", amongst over things.
Hope this is of help,
(I can't believe I remembered this article from Dec 2001, how sad am I? :shock: )
cheers,
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Philly,

Ah ha, yes, I have it. Ouch. :shock: Lovely table saw safety on display as per usual... :roll: Okay, I don't feel so bad for not taking any notice of it now; table saw, dodgy safety etc, I was just bound to flick past. :lol:

Alberto,

It was new to me. :D

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Alf,
Was sat on the "Throne" reading the current issue of FWW this morning, the article on the cherry chest of drawers. What do I read at the bottom of page 55/start of page 56? The chap cutting a rebate on the inside of the tail boards! :shock: Seems to going on over the place.
Thats it though, I promise not to report any further findings (unless I come across a book called "rebating tail boards"........ :lol: )
regards,
Philly :D
 

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