Cutting dovetails
#11
  
I consider myself a hybrid woodworker, using a combination of power and hand tools. I'm moving more to hand tools as I gain more experience. My next project(once the northeast weather warms up), is a hand tool cabinet. Since it's a cabinet dedicated just for my hand tools, I want to make it with only hand tools. I plan on using dovetails for the frame joinery. Any dovetails I have cut up to this point have been with my router. I have purchased the stock for the project and will be using southern yellow pine. The stock is slightly over 3/4" thick by, 4" wide. Since this is my 1st attempt at hand cut dovetails I plan on doing some practice on some test projects. Any advice for me on my venture would be great. Thanks.

Scott
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#12
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
If you still have the router bit for the dovetail, keep it around.   I use mine to lay out the pins first.    Others may do tails, I find pins first is way easier to cut, chop, and then lay out the tails using those pins. 

Make a stop/base line all the way around.   It should match the thickness of the other half of the joint.....3/4" to 3/4" 
Use that old bit, mark out the "half" pins on each end.    Then flip the bit a bit, and work towards the center of the board...
   
I also use a sliding bevel gauge to do most of the lines.  ( Usual suspects..)
   
Usual rip saw/backsaw.    As long as it is filed rip.   Small square to mark the cut lines done to the base line.   I use those the see where to saw at.   I try to split these lines.....doesn't matter on pins.   Once you use the pins to mark the tails out, the tails will match.

I clamp the sawn board down to the bench.   I chop down only half way through.  Don't get in a hurry, as they will just blow out the other side if you try to do it in one shot.   Flip the board over, and clean things up...
   
Should look like this.     The skinny/ pointy part of the pins goes to the outside of the joint.    Remember that point.    Stand this board straight up, and even with the end of the tail board.   Use a sharp pencil/knife/whatever to mark the waste side of the tails.    When you cut the waste away. LEAVE the lines. 

I have a hard  time sawing angled cuts, but, if I lay the tail board on my bandsaw's table, I can see where to cut a lot better.   And straighter.  I then chop out the waste, again from both faces of the board. 
   
Once you get here, you can do a test fit.   Sharp chisel to pare away any spots that are too tight.  
   
Hopefully they will look like these.  

Paul Sellers has a few videos out there, about how he does his.
Show me a picture, I'll build a project from that
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#13
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
One exercise that helped me quite a bit was making the dovetail alignment jig on David Barron's website. It's not only good dovetail practice, you'll end up with a jig that is (at least to me) very helpful.
Currently a smarta$$ but hoping to one day graduate to wisea$$
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#14
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
If you have not practiced precision sawing with a backsaw, I would do that 1st. Cut as many lines at the angles you will be using as it takes to feel confident that you can see the line and cut to the line. After that, the best practice is to actually make something - so go for it or else make some simple corners from scrap.
Thanks,  Curt
-----------------
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
      -- Soren Kierkegaard
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#15
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
1. Be bold, just jump in and start cutting, the worst thing that could happen is you mess up, learn, and have to remake a piece or build another cabinet. (ie. spend more time doing and less thinking about doing) 2. Wide tails hold as well as narrow, and require less sawing.
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#16
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
(02-26-2017, 01:22 PM)Smoothjazz077 Wrote: I consider myself a hybrid woodworker, using a combination of power and hand tools.  I'm moving more to hand tools as I gain more experience.  My next project(once the northeast weather warms up), is a hand tool cabinet.  Since it's a cabinet dedicated just for my hand tools, I want to make it with only hand tools. I plan on using  dovetails for the frame joinery.  Any dovetails I have cut up to this point have been with my router.  I have purchased the stock for the project and will be using southern yellow pine.  The stock is slightly over 3/4" thick by, 4" wide.  Since this is my 1st attempt at hand cut dovetails I plan on doing some practice on some test projects.  Any advice for me on my venture would be great.  Thanks.

Scott

Accurate marking out is critical. This is more important when you transfer markings. Try my blue tape method for this.

The most critical saw cut is the across the board when sawing the tails. These must be square. Use a deeply knifed line to guide you here.

Saw two lines rather than one ...




Try to avoid using guides and jigs. You will grow in confidence faster.

Remind yourself that it is only wood. Also, that we all started with large gaps.

Half Blind Dovetails with Blue Tape: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Furniture/H...eTape.html

Through Dovetails:    http://www.inthewoodshop.com/Furniture/T...ails3.html

Regards from Perth

Derek
Articles on furniture building, shop made tools and tool reviews at http://www.inthewoodshop.com
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#17
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Thanks Derek and everyone else for the great advice and tips. It's time to start cutting and paring away. You can watch videos and read all the articles you like, but nothing is going to get you better than actually doing it!

Scott
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#18
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
3 suggestions:

1. Good chisels
2. The best DT saw yiou can afford
3. YouTube
4. Practice, practice, practice.

There are TONS of videos out there. 

IMO The first video to watch is Frank Klauzs.  He will show you how easy it can be.  
The second is Paul Sellers.  He will show you how anal you can be about it (just kidding I love PS!!).

There are also lots of project videos that have DT'ing as a part.
Everything is a prototype so its a one of a kind.
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#19
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Good tools help, but as long as the tools you use are SHARP, they will do the job...
   
These were done with the tools I shown in the other post...more about where one saws, then who made the saw.
Show me a picture, I'll build a project from that
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#20
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
My best advice is stolen from Schwarz: Cut a DT corner every day for month. On day 2, examine the "problems" from day 1, and try to correct them. On day 3, examine the day 2 joint and so on. After 30 days, you'll be quite good. (It's how I train any PW staff members who want to learn hand-cut DTs – fun lunch breaks, eh?)
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodwo...tail-a-day
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