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Hand-cut dovetails, I don't think so

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johnelliott

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Saw it being done once, impressive but it was a bit like watching a good musician, I knew I would never be able to do it myself. Probably I could get halfway there if I practised, but as I don't, I won't. Never mind, if I need any dovetails I'll get a jig
John
 

Drew

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John

If you can make a good finger joint you can make a good dovetail. :p
I must be a bit of a fossil I like doing joints by hand. I find it totally consuming. Just like fly fishing you concentrate so much on what you are doing the time just flies past. I just wish I had the plans and a reason to do some of those complex pegged joints used in medieval timberframe construction.

On the other hand no I would probably surface like some bleary eyed rip van winkle twenty years down the road from a pile of sawdust. :oops:

Drew
 

johnelliott

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Drew":2o9ukns3 said:
John

I find it totally consuming. Just like fly fishing you concentrate so much on what you are doing the time just flies past.
Time flying past- as a full-time woodworker,that's the stuff of nightmares.

John
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi John

I came into woodworking after watching Norm on H&L. I was mesmerised because he could cut dovetails "perfectly" every time using his wonderful jigs.

Now my very first purchase along with a router, was the Trend dovetail jig. It is the normal fixed width jig that you see everywhere. I am going to buy the Leigh jig to give me completely variable spacing. When I have the Leigh jig I will then be able to produce dovetails at a standard that will be acceptable to me.

In the future I intend to buy some Japanese saws and try to cut dovetails by hand. Now, my hand skills are the most basic imaginable. But I believe that if I mark them out well, really concentrate on what I am doing and just take my time and practice a lot that I will produce hand dovetails at a reasonable standard. It doesn't matter to me whether it takes me five or ten years, it is something I want to achieve.

For me, this is the Holy Grail. It is something I have wanted to be able to do for over forty years. Ever since a certain boy in my class at school produced the most amazing hand cut dovetails at fourteen years of age. David you have a lot to answer for!!

Cheers
Neil
 

Argus

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The late Jim Kingshott was a great enthusiast of all Japanese tools and he produced an excellent short video that is sufficient to teach the basic techniques. In it he used ordinary European tools as well as introducing others, including Japanese from his impressive collection.
I'm not sure if the Video is still available, but in my view it is sufficient to get anyone making passable dovetails.
But, the one thing that Jim always emphasised, and I suspect is the reason why so many people find difficulty cutting these joints, is that the tools, although basic must be very sharp.

For my money, the asymetrical finish is the reason why I make dovetails (and most other joints for that matter) by hand - no machine could do that.
 
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Hi Argus

Thank you for the information about Jum Kingshott.

I will keep a look out for the video.

Cheers
Neil
 

Alf

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If you can withstand the onslaught of endless Lie Nielsen tools, Rob Cosman's video isn't bad. Hide the Axminster/Tilgear catalogues and your credit cards first though. :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Alf,
What do you mean "isn't bad"? The video ( and the second one on other dovetails) is great! Saw him in person at Tools 2003 ( stop groaning at the back) and he cut thru dovetails and lap dovetails by hand. Pretty straightforward when you see it with your own eyes, but the results were astounding. Makes you realize that stock prep and marking out are really important, not something to whiz thru so you can get cutting!
So please, have a go and don't be dissappointed with your first few joints. And definitely get hold of a video- it makes a huge difference to reading a book to see it actually done.
regards,
Phil
 

Alf

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Well I'd have liked to see him "deliberately" make some mistakes so as to properly show how to fix them, for instance. And a few close-ups of exactly how he chopped out the waste might have been helpful. Oh, and a credit card health warning at the beginning... :lol: It does make a heap of difference to see, and hear, it being done though, you're right.

Cheers, Alf
 
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