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SLIDING BLIND DOVETAIL DADO

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Argus

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Wanting an ambitious project, I want to compare methods of cutting a sliding blind dovetail dado, joint and housing, by hand before I start in earnest. Tools, jigs, angles tips etc.

I’ve cut plenty of dovetails over the years, but never ventured into making a sliding dado, yet. It will be equal to the top of a chest, about 500mm long in oak, and as I said, blind.

This is a demanding bit of work, and I don’t want to use machines for this sort of thing. Any ideas?
 

Steve Maskery

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Hi Argus
There was an article in FWW many years ago now. I made up the jig, but I'm not sure I've every used it on a proper project. JIG is a slightly grand term for it - it's just a length of 2x2 accurately prepared with bevel on one face. You rout out the groove square first, then clamp the block across the workpiece, tapered slightly if you like, to support a wide chisel to undercut the groove. The mating shelf was cut with a home-made dovetail plane, made to the same angle.
A lot of work, but I bet its gratifying when it goes together easily and just snugs up on that last inch or so.

Best of luck with it,
Cheers
Steve (who can't type today)
 

Alf

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Coupla links here and here. I think the first one may be the article Steve means. Side rebate planes can be a real help as an alternative method of forming the angled sides on both the housing and the tail. A while back I read a suggestion to use a #79 and bend the fence to the required angle IIRC. Never tried it, but fwiw. A router plane's a good choice for cleaning out the waste from the housing, or else you'll need a long paring chisel. "Sliding dovetail" (with the inverted commas) in a search of the Old Tools List should bring up some gems, if you skip all the wooden moulding plane boxing-related threads. Edit: Try this link which should skip the unrelated stuff for you. There's a shot of sawing the housing with a stair saw here. For a blind housing with a saw you'll need to bore a recess at the stopped end for the saw's toe to go off course.

Having said all of which: in OAK?! Are you INSANE? :shock:

Cheers, Alf

Who greatly values the 'Rat's ability to do sliding dovetails and doesn't aspire to do them by hand - 'specially in oak... :oops:
 

Argus

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Thank you, Steve.

I'm not familiar with that article but my reasoning processes had fallen into a similar vain.

This really is re-inventing the wheel, as these joints were used a lot on old furniture.

I'm thinking along these lines:

1. A pair of male and female feelers, basically a smaller version of the joint that could be used to test the sides as they are cut:
2. Excavation of the stopped dado with an OWT router
3. Establish the approximate gradient of the sides with a side rabbet plane.
4. Fine tune the side angles with a clamp-on much as you describe.

I think that the dado has to be exact; any fine tuning after this is easier done on the dove tail.
I’ll only be doing one of them but I expect to spend twice as much time on the jigs as cutting the joints.

Thanks for the reply.
 

Argus

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Thanks to you too, Alf.

No I’m not mad, I just like Oak. My other hobby is sharpening!

Surprisingly, good quality oak is not all as hard as iron, some is, but I don’t use that stuff.

I’ll look at the links. Thank you.

I have an OWT and a couple of side rabbets, a Stanley 79 and a little Preston. They cut side grain quite well if you don’t demand an aggressive stroke.
Steve’s idea of a clamp-on guide is a good idea and the Preston will work well on that, I think in combination with a paring chisel.
 

Chris Knight

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Argus,

I reckon you have a wealth of advice there so this is just a question. I take it you mean a tapered sliding dovetail?
 

Sgian Dubh

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I'm with you waterhead, a regular sliding dovetail whether it be hand cut or worked with machines at 500 mm long is just asking for trouble at assembly time.

It has to be a tapered housing (sliding) dovetail for ease of assembly, or maybe a pair of sliding dovetails at either end of the male part and a suitably widened housing to let the dovetailed parts in. Slainte.
 
A

Anonymous

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hi
i tend too agree with Sgian Dubh who's going to see this joint, not you,maybe a raised eyebrow from the discerning woodworker, but like in alf's second link , the dresser who the hell is going to appreciate the work put into it, i remember doing my c & g we where expected to make a mortice and tenon joint between joist,s in the void above a staircase , a lovely looking joint i don't know the name of it , but i can describe it on oneside of the tenon it is stepped and on the other it is tapered,the tenon it's self was protruding throughout the mortice ,which had a square taken out for a wedge to go through,if anyone can tell me the name of it i would be much obliged.anyway it was a joint that you could take great pleasure in , just looking at it , that too me is worth going the extra mile
having made the joint we were later told it had been replaced by a large nail ,lifes funny like that.
 

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