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Learning dovetail joint

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twodoctors

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Hi all,

So I've been trying to teach myself dovetail joint. I'm sure I was taught that a school 25 years ago, and I was never that good at it back then.

Bought myself a Bahco dovetail saw (Bahco PC-10-DTR Dovetail Saw Right 10in) and a cheap dovetail marker. Have been trying to copy what Paul Sellers does on Youtube with his desktop organiser video. I'm using off-cut pine for practice. My other off-cuts are plywood.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHcW_km ... pz&index=2

My "problem" is that I don't seem to get a very clean cut with the saw. The last one I cut was probably the best I've done so far, but the saw edges are not as clean as I would have liked. Looking elsewhere online, it looks like the issue might be with the pine.

My question is:

1) Do I need "more expensive" saw for this? (I'm guessing the Bahco is good enough)

2) What is the difference between left and right hand saw? Does it dictate the "clean" side and the "jagged" side? They also sell a combination one. I have no idea!

3) Should I find some hard wood and practise on those instead?

Thanks!

Stay safe.

Adrian
 

Andy Kev.

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Rough surfaces can be dealt with by light use of a freshly sharpened chisel.

I'm sure there will be people along who are far more knowledgeable about saws than me so I'll not discuss them.

There is one thing that I found which helps accuracy with sawing the pins (and any other line that I want to get bang on where I have not chiselled out a knife wall) and that is to start by putting the nail of my left index finger in the cut of the marked line (marked with a knife) and place the saw right up against it. That way I'm confident that the saw is starting in the right place.

Also when sawing out the pins the saw blade needs to be bang on vertical. I found that what really helps with this is to watch the reflection of the wood in the saw blade. If you keep the reflected line in a straight line with the physical one, the saw is vertical. Yes the saw is at an angle because you are doing the pins but it is the horizontal plane that you are lining up.
 

MikeG.

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Rather than cutting dovetails, just practise cutting. Saw up some scrap. Mark lines and try to follow them. Sawing is a really easy thing to teach someone, but quite difficult to describe. I certainly wouldn't be blaming the saw, although I wouldn't have recommended a hard-point. However, I would be very suspicious of the set. If the kerf is noticeably wider than the thickness of the plate then it may well be worthwhile taking a hammer to the side of the teeth on a hard flat surface to reduce the set. Make some cuts in scrap as I suggest and then post some photos. It won't be easy to diagnose that way, but it may give us a clue.

Cutting the tails, by the way, requires no accuracy other than that the cut is straight across the board. The cut lines down the board are pretty much irrelevant. It's the pins where you need to be precise.
 

FatmanG

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I made the same mistake buying a similar saw off Amazon the kerf is simply too wide for dovetails. You want to find a brass backed one off eBay which will probably cost less than you paid for that one. Follow Mikes advice above. You won't go far wrong. Good luck
FatmanG
 

Bod

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twodoctors":wipf2zuv said:
Hi all,

So I've been trying to teach myself dovetail joint. I'm sure I was taught that a school 25 years ago, and I was never that good at it back then.

Bought myself a Bahco dovetail saw (Bahco PC-10-DTR Dovetail Saw Right 10in) and a cheap dovetail marker. Have been trying to copy what Paul Sellers does on Youtube with his desktop organiser video. I'm using off-cut pine for practice. My other off-cuts are plywood.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHcW_km ... pz&index=2

My "problem" is that I don't seem to get a very clean cut with the saw. The last one I cut was probably the best I've done so far, but the saw edges are not as clean as I would have liked. Looking elsewhere online, it looks like the issue might be with the pine.

My question is:

1) Do I need "more expensive" saw for this? (I'm guessing the Bahco is good enough)

2) What is the difference between left and right hand saw? Does it dictate the "clean" side and the "jagged" side? They also sell a combination one. I have no idea!

3) Should I find some hard wood and practise on those instead?

Thanks!

Stay safe.

Adrian
Could you post a photo of your cuts, showing the problem?
There will be a simple cure once the problem is clear.

Bod
 

Nigel Burden

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Are you forcing the saw? Let the weight of the saw make the cut, you just guide it. I found that my sawing became more accurate when I followed this advice.

Nigel.
 

Ttrees

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Get a suitable saw for yourself, looks easier to use a hacksaw than that crosscutting thing!
I'm sure Paul Sellers mentioned about rip tooth geometry for long grain, in all his videos regarding saw sharpening.
A wee rip saw is the least amount of faff to do, and your saw will cut on the line.
The use of a real dovetail saw with rip tooth profile enables gluing surfaces straight from the saw.

Here is an excellent write up from Deema on the subject
hand-saw-restoration-and-re-teething-of-a-99p-saw-t98494.html
Have fun reading :)
 

MikeG.

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Ttrees":2a6uxegi said:
Get a suitable saw for yourself, looks easier to use a hacksaw than that crosscutting thing!......
It's not a crosscut saw. It's rip pattern, and a Gent's saw like this is perfect for dovetails. it's probably easier for a beginner to learn to control a Gent's saw with its in-line handle than to learn with a pistol grip-type saw. Bar the hardpoint (ie non-sharpenable) teeth, that very much is a suitable saw for dovetails.......assuming the set is OK. My experience of hardpoints is that the set is never OK. There's always too much.
 

MikeG.

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You could check the description where it says "dovetail saw". That would be a clue. You could also check the history of Gent's saws.......they've never, to my knowledge, been filed as crosscuts.
 

Nigel Burden

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It certainly doesn't look like a crosscut saw to me.

I read some of the replies to the questions, and one of them said that the blade is too thick for cutting dovetails.

Nigel.
 

andrewmashton

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Try a japanese saw, revolutionised my sawing, you cut on the pull rather than push so you have more control, cheers, Andrew
 

MikeG.

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I've tried both and found no advantage whatever to Japanese saws, and the distinct disadvantage that you have to kneel on the floor to start any cut in the vice. So you pays your money and takes your choice. As a general point, though, do not fall into the trap of thinking that the answer to the lack of a skill is just another tool, a different tool, a more expensive tool. It isn't, and that way leads lies a workshop full of unused tools and no decent projects to show for it.
 

That would work

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Probably half rip.
I.m.o few manufacturers know what a crosscutt rip half rip is
If it's a hard point saw
Throw it away.
Get a normal dovtail saw.
 

MikeG.

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No, seriously, don't chuck it. For a start, you can actually grind the teeth off and file new ones, later, when you know your way around a saw a bit better. In the meantime, I'd try hammering the set off the teeth. There's nothing to lose.
 

large red

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Moxon vice a very good saw, extremely sharp chisels, took me a little time to master the art of beautiful hand cut dovetails. A fantastic feeling of self fulfillment. Then I realized that life is too short and bought a dovetail jig, guide Bush and router cutter.
 

twodoctors

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Thanks for all the replies so far.

I have taken some pictures but my day up til now has been tied up with Covid stuff for my Trust. Still not finished yet.

Have asked to send the saw back to Amazon.

"talk" later.

Adrian
 
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