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my dovetail problem

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devonwoody

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I have started my new project a five drawer display cabinet. Yesterday I did a mock up drawer in softwood to check out measurements etc. and appearance ( I do not have a working plan)
The front dovetails were the half blind type and rear of drawer through dovetails.
These joints were cut by hand (with a good quality dovetail saw) but the end result left me in a not very happy mood. If back to 55 years ago my woodwork teacher would most probably have given me 5 out of 10 for quality of work done. Also the job would cost a fortune in fillers :D

Therefore I think time as come to consider machinery :roll: ,BUT if I go for something like a woodrat or trend dovetal jig will I still suffer a problem.

I am thinking of TEAR OUT, I have a finger jointer jig used with my router and that tears out. So I dont want to buy another pig in a poke :twisted:
 

CHJ

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devonwoody":1j2vy3oj said:
I am thinking of TEAR OUT, I have a finger jointer jig used with my router and that tears out.
devonwoody
You do not say what type of jig, can you by any chance use a piece of sacrificial wood behind your workpiece for finger joints?

Also what wood did you use, have you tried the router cutters in parana (spell?) pine or hardwood? you may get better results.

How good (sharp) are your cutters, will they cut MDF without leaving a feather edge at the end of the open slot?
 

Chris Knight

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Devon,

Tear out is not a function of the jig. You will need to take steps to prevent it with any jig. Backer boards are the simplest and most foolproof method but I have also used masking tape occasionally. Sharp cutters are a must too.

Why not persist with hand cutting? Just practice for a few days. By the time you have hand cut a hundred pin/tail pairs you will have no problems.
 

CHJ

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waterhead37":3715hy19 said:
Why not persist with hand cutting? Just practice for a few days. By the time you have hand cut a hundred pin/tail pairs you will have no problems.
In all deference to Devon, Chris I think Devon is in the same frame as me. Your sig. says it all "The number of hours in a day is in inverse proportion to your age."
 
A

Anonymous

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DW

You would probably find that most cheap DT jigs will cut half blind dovetails to the standard you need. A lot of cheaper ones won't do through dovetails though. Clearly the best DT jig is the Leigh but this will cost you £300 - a lot for one project??

As Chris has already stated, a backer board is what is needed for through DTs on a suitable jig and you will have no problems.

Personally, i now prefer to cut through DTs by hand (half blind on a Leigh) and must warn you that cutting DTs by hand in pine is HOPELESS and you should practice a bit on the sycamore. Practice for a day or two and you will find that it all comes back and you enjoy it immensely.

***I would strongly recommend Rob Cosman's dovetail video as the best hand cut dovetail trainer I have seen :wink:
 

Alf

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DW,

Are these your first hand cut DTs for a while? Generally it helps to get a little practice just to get your eye in again, and then it'll all come back to you. Also softwood is a PITA to cut DTs in... :(

As far as tearout and jigs go, Chris and Chas have covered the bases. FWIW, the 'Rat, which is the only DT "jig" I have experience of, avoids tearout by being able to cut the joint from both sides. You cut half way in from one side, unplunge the router, hop over the board and cut the other half from the other side. But while it'd avoid tearout, as Tony will tell you, it's not cheap. :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

devonwoody

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Thanks for encouragement both ways.

Back to tear out .

If I purchase the woodrat or trend D400 can I still have a backing piece in these types of jig without causing problems with the set up.

The finger jointer has been tried on MDF (breaks it apart into layers) chipboard veneer, unclean finish. Never tried it on hardwood, my builders skip never seems to come up with much. (apart from four large laboratry tops in teak which I am frightened to use :roll: )
 

Steve Maskery

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Chas
May I urge to to seriously consider CHris's encouragement? Cutting dovetails is ONLY a matter of practice. It's not rocket science, and as you say, you already have a good saw. DT jigs are themselves only tools, and there is a learning curve associated with them as with any other tool. You WILL make mistakes with them, and then it won't be just the one DT that's duff, but the whole batch. The cheaper jigs produce functional but aesthetically poor DTs anyway.

As I have said before, I recommend Mark Duginski's bandsaw method. This will do the Through tails and pins, and also the tails for the Half Blind. And they look hand-cut.

Why not work out how much time you will spend buying a jig (visit to the tool shop, or ordering on the phone), assembling the jig, reading the manual, trying it out, making a few test runs. Then spend that much time cutting dovetails. I bet by the time you have spent a few hours doing it you will be a dab hand.

BTW how do you mark them out? I cut the tails first and then mark the pins, and I find this support bracket invaluable:



BTW, these tails were cut on the bandsaw.

Cheers
Steve
(whose spelling and grammar appear to have taken a nose-dive this morning).
 

Chris Knight

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Chas,

Yes I reckon we are probably of a similar generation (like a good Cheddar - nicely matured). However, I do think dovetailing gets blown out of proportion - there are many joints far harder to cut although admittedly, these are not all show joints. A little practice really does go a long way and it's not long before a single drawer can be made as quickly as setting up a jig from scratch etc takes.

Having said this - I have no religion about hand cutting. I use three different jigs that can make dovetails and if I have a fair number to do, will turn to them every time.
 

devonwoody

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I have just drawn up a plan to make a jig to enable the lip of a blind dovetail and its brothers to look and become a tidy straight line.

The chisel can rest on the ledge and all openings should have the same level.

Anyone suggest any improvements?

 

CHJ

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devonwoody":fu87ybqq said:
OK bring me sunshine and I'll go out to the garage and start practising :D
Got some here you can have at the moment, painful outside without sunglasses on. (unfortunately have had to spend the last 4 hours in a Beer Keller :eek:ccasion5: celebrating a granddaughters first communion) also unfortunately not being catholic and the fact that the local church had limited room for visitors we were not able to take part in the 3hr ceremony. :whistle:
 

devonwoody

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devonwoody

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Tearout in handcut dovetails is a constant threat with soft woods, such as pine. The only answer is a very sharp chisel.

If you are difficulties in getting the shoulders lined up, then use the following jig I made a while back:

http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au ... php?t=7221

Regards from Perth

Derek
To Derek Cohen,

Thank you for the link to your dovetail jig posted at the UK woodwork forum.

I intend to build your former today, but could you explain what purpose is the brown inlaid timber performing on attached photgraph .(marked with questin marks)

Many thanks.

 

wizer

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Looks like it's a guide fence to me?
 

devonwoody

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Thanks Wizer

I think you are right. I thought it was inlaid but its obviously has you have suggested.
 
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