So this Dovetailing business?...

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Kaizen123

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Right well Im very grateful for all advice and methods. Doing a little Meranti box just now and attempting dovetails all around it. It is definitely a tonne easier to get an accurate flat surface with the chisel so I'm exciting to see how it fairs. Im definitely getting alot closer to the line anyway.

Quick question. I have these diamond plates for the chisels but I stupidly didn't wipe down after last use (very new to all of this stuff) and it's got a bit rusty. Are they screwed now or can I fix this without losing the water ability because I read if you put a chemical or oil on a diamond stone then you can't use water again.
 

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Jacob

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Right well Im very grateful for all advice and methods. Doing a little Meranti box just now and attempted dovetails all around it. It is definitely a tonne easier to get an accurate flat surface with the chisel so I'm exciting to see how it fairs. Im definitely getting alot closer to the line anyway.

Quick question. I have these diamond plates for the chisels but I stupidly didn't wipe down after last use (very new to all of this stuff) and it's got a bit rusty. Are they screwed now or can I fix this without losing the water ability because I read if you put a chemical or oil on a diamond stone then you can't use water again.
Use oil and/or white spirit. Water causes rust - so you really don't want to use it again!
 

Jacob

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not sure how to add video references but go to YouTube and search for “just another dovetailing video”.

in time you sift thru all the noise and settle on a basic straight forward approach that works.
Very neat:



I also claim to have invented sitting down on the job, which Becksvoort also does! If you do a big batch you have to or you get back ache with all the leaning over.
 

D_W

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Very neat:



I also claim to have invented sitting down on the job, which Becksvoort also does! If you do a big batch you have to or you get back ache with all the leaning over.


I invented that after you stopped doing it.
 

Kaizen123

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Right! So noticeably tighter and less 'gappy'... Happy with it but it has taken me almost 3hrs and I've got 3 more lots to do to create the well sought after an highly rectangular 'box' look. So I might have a break. Janey Mack I bet it takes you lot about 15 minutes.

It took a lot of editing but I think I've learned not to be too afraid of the line and keep adjusting. A lot of my post cut forming was taking 0.0000001 nanometer off of each tail for fear of going over the edge which I did anyway.

Going for a coffee now don't try to stop me.

Do people use filler or dust+glue to cover up gaps or is that a sin?
 

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Kaizen123

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Also I wanted to take a bit more off the bottom of one of them for a tighter fit but genuinely I cannot get them to unlock now. Not sure if that's a good sign or not.

(Edit) got it off now.
Ive come across yet another thing that is confuddling me now. This is my first attempt at doing the joints all around an actual thing and looking at where the next tails on the side piece of the box are going to be placed... Is that something that is done? I'm not so good at figuring out the end product but I'm now wondering if this is even possible? Am I going to have to mirror the tails on the adjacent side or is this potentially going to not work if some tails won't let the next tail go in? Am I making sense?

Will this joint interfere with the next joint is my question? Or like a box joint will they all just coexist peacefully?
 

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Adam W.

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You should only have four boards for your box sides. Two boards carry pins only and the other two boards carry tails only. A mirror is a good way of thinking about it, unless you work in a random fashion and don't worry about it, just match the corners up and number them and mark UP/arrow on each board and keep it upwards.

If you suddenly find that you have five boards for your box sides, you've gone wrong.
 
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Kaizen123

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You should only have four boards for your box sides. Two boards carry pins only and the other two boards carry tails only. A mirror is a good way of thinking about it, unless you work in a random fashion and don't worry about it, just match the corners up and number them and mark UP/arrow on each board and keep it upwards.

If you suddenly find that you have five boards for your box sides, you've gone wrong.
Hahahaha. That made me chuckle. Yes so I've done one pin side and one tail side for the sides and hopefully if I don't mess it up then the face and back will be 1 tailboard and 1 pin.... I think.
 

Kaizen123

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Wait... Cancel that.

Wasn't hammering just pushing. Maybe this wood isn't as forgiving as I though :'( oh well. Back to the start!

Actually sod it I'm gonna get the glue out and see if it will survive.
 

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Adam W.

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Hahahaha. That made me chuckle. Yes so I've done one pin side and one tail side for the sides and hopefully if I don't mess it up then the face and back will be 1 tailboard and 1 pin.... I think.
Tails only on two boards and pins only on two boards. Don't mix tails on one end and pins on the other end of a board, as you won't get the box together.
 

paulrbarnard

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Could be. The cross pollination in this world is great. I live in the states. My Wadkin buddies are in England, Australia, South Africa, Canada. Isn’t it crazy how something like a dovetail can bring us all together? We should send some politicians to wood working school. LOL
As long as the don’t need to sharpen their chisels it would be great.
 

Devmeister

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LOL
I have to admit I have not seen your website but I have now marked it. I love your drawer work and the blue tape does make things look electric.

Kingshot had difficulties seeing those same half lap lines in mahogany and he used white chalk. It never occurred to me personally to use blue tape as I had just used white chalk.

crossman posted his chisel idea and made a chisel available. But ii is interesting to note that taige used a modified chisel for this back in the early days of the dovetail rensonce. I am not surprised.

My biggest complaint with FWW is that they seem to be driven by commercial influence. When I talked to them years back about not covering shapers and spending to much time on router tables, I was told out right that guys using shapers don’t buy router bits and router bit dealers buy advertisement space.

it made me leery about what they wrote. Today every article has a slick photo of the saw stop. Some folks love them and I hate them. My opinion. I love my Oliver 270 and my 1956 wadkin PK!!!! They work for me.

my concern is that the newbies are being adversely influenced by the subconscious or subliminal influence of commercial interests.

my work would never get published because I refuse to cow down to this. I don’t own vetitas planes and don’t like their modern spin. I do like my LN planes and I like my oldies such as Norris.

My 20 in planet is a 1905 Faye with a square head. I am converting it to run off steam.

None of this helps in selling the new shiny bobbles. LN told me out right that they do not market thru these channels. So now I know why you see few LN photos in these mags.
 

Devmeister

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Tails only on two boards and pins only on two boards. Don't mix tails on one end and pins on the other end of a board, as you won't get the box together.

LOL
That’s not funny! As I partly mentioned, you need to keep track of the ends when using a router on the Leigh D4 jig. That is exactly what I did by accident while in a hurry. Oops….. RECUT!!!!
 

Fred48

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Fred, that is certainly a safe approach and I probably did it that way when I started. The disadvantage is that it is making work and not really developing skill. It is quicker (not actually important to me) and I find it enormously satisfying to cut straight to the line so the joint goes together with no additional "fettling" of the sides with a chisel. This of course requires accurate saw cuts that nobody can expect to do without practise, but you will never be able to do that if you never try.

Try marking out a series of parallel cuts (angled like on a dovetail) just a few mm apart on the end of a piece of scrap, then saw against the line. I bet when you have done 20 you will be pretty close & consistent. Then try an actual dovetail cut direct from the saw. You may surprise yourself.

Just4Fun.

Thanks for that. I’m loving this thread.

What a like about this thread is Kaizen123 has had input from a number of people who have been very helpful.

Donkeys years ago I was taught by a brilliant woodwork teacher, Don Hall who trained at Loughborough College of Education and with his guidance I gained top grades in O & A Level Woodwork. We marked the tails with a knife and dovetail template and shoulder lines with a marking knife and square.

We were taught to cut at close to the line as possible, but not to remove the knife line. The same with the pins. The minute bit of wood that was left would be trimmed back to the knife line with a chisel.

That’s the method I have used from the age of 11 and it gives me really good results.

Here is an example of the successful method
 

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This is a great thread with some serious education going on. I learnt to cut dovetails to the line, chopping out the waste. Being a vocational school with a line into the C&G apprentiship system, it was more of an industrial education than fine woodworking, and funnily enough I was taught to hide dovetails, so lots of hidden dovetails were cut out. I recall having to make oak strips to veneer over exposed dovetails on a small chest of drawers.
 

Jacob

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Hahahaha. That made me chuckle. Yes so I've done one pin side and one tail side for the sides and hopefully if I don't mess it up then the face and back will be 1 tailboard and 1 pin.... I think.
Really have to do 100% markup. If you think of a drawer each side can be orientated in 4 ways and swapped around too many times to mention. 4x4x4x4 = 256 and that's before you move them around!
Face marks all facing out, edge marks all facing bottom, each drawer numbered, each piece with drawer number added, plus front, back, left, right, if not already obvious.
Also handy if you have one finished on hand, for reference
 

Jameshow

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Right! So noticeably tighter and less 'gappy'... Happy with it but it has taken me almost 3hrs and I've got 3 more lots to do to create the well sought after an highly rectangular 'box' look. So I might have a break. Janey Mack I bet it takes you lot about 15 minutes.

It took a lot of editing but I think I've learned not to be too afraid of the line and keep adjusting. A lot of my post cut forming was taking 0.0000001 nanometer off of each tail for fear of going over the edge which I did anyway.

Going for a coffee now don't try to stop me.

Do people use filler or dust+glue to cover up gaps or is that a sin?
I use sanding dust from the belt sander or table saw and PVA hides a multitude of sins!!!
 

D_W

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This is a great thread with some serious education going on. I learnt to cut dovetails to the line, chopping out the waste. Being a vocational school with a line into the C&G apprentiship system, it was more of an industrial education than fine woodworking, and funnily enough I was taught to hide dovetails, so lots of hidden dovetails were cut out. I recall having to make oak strips to veneer over exposed dovetails on a small chest of drawers.

One of the comments on the williamsburg video showing instrumentmakers building the cabinet for a harpsichord pretty much says the same thing.

"one rarely wants to see such joints".

But furniture that was well made was a thing for the wealthy back then and I'm sure the wealthy were taught taste, etc, at least more on average.



I realize that all bets were off as soon as synthetic materials and power mortisers appeared with "craftsman style" furniture.

Where I grew up, you could find blanket chests that were hand dovetailed on the corners with the corners left exposed, and some designs of chests that have tails showing on the top of the piece (but I think a moulding wrapped around the sides).

The chests were not made with sloppy dovetails, though - when they were left t show, they were done neatly. Especially considering many have had two centuries to move around and they still look relatively neat.
 
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