Cutting dovetails
#40
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Another endorsement for a DT a day for a month. I self-taught, cutting many practice dovetails, but the "one a day for thirty days" would have made it much easier for me.

You need a decent saw and not necessarily to most expensive. Learn to saw sraight, prep stock correctly(square, both ways) and layout accurately. Out of curiousity, last year I had the chance to try out a dovetail cutting aid-worst looking DT's I made in a decade!
Waiting to grow up beyond being just a member
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#41
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Thanks Hank.  I have been working with the SYP, because I have a decent amount of it that I want to use up for a cabinet I am building for the shop.  You are 100% correct in what you mentioned about SYP.  It is a "bear" to work with, especially hand sawing and chiseling.  I haven't tried any oak, cherry or walnut yet for DT's, so hopefully the experience will be better. Smile  I am using a Vertias Dovetail Saw, which hasn't seen much work until now, so it's plenty sharp.  Again, thanks for the advice.   I really do enjoy cutting dovetails by hand.  It is nice to be able to pair off slivers, and go test fit the pieces.  It beats the router, which is so noisy and creates so much dust that know matter what you use, you and the shop are just covered in dust!!!  

Scott
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#42
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Smoothjazz, Where in the north east do you live? I might be able to get you some poplar to practice on. Personally I hate pine for dovetails. It has such a tendency to crumble if you cut tight joinery.
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#43
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Cutting some dovetails today in cherry and hard maple, both are much easier than SYP or western red cedar, anyway another tip came to mind while cutting the tails...when cutting tails one can leave the saw in the cut and take a square and check the cut it has to be within a couple of deg over 6" for it to fit without paring ( no angled gap between saw and square) These fit without pairing, and they have not been cleaned up with a plane yet, as it's part of my tool cabinet build, so have many more to go....Andy


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-- mos maiorum
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#44
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
I live about 90 miles north of NYC.  Near Poughkeepsie, NY
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#45
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
To bad you aren't closer to Baltimore. I have a ton of poplar cut offs that are good for practice that are just going into a burn box. By the time I pack them up and ship them though it is cheaper to just buy some rough poplar. I also try to give Woodnet members free instruction. At least within reason. I've taught quite a few guys how I hand cut dovetails. I have a pretty streamlined method as I have to cut a lot so speed is important for me. Ideally you want to get to the point where the only lay out you do is strike a baseline. After that everything else is done by eye. Once you train your eye and you can skip the layout it is a huge time saver. That said the only people I know who cut them that way are myself and two other guys. As other people have said, the best way to learn to cut dovetails it to just cut them. Figure out a method that works for you and just keep at it.
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#46
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Thanks Dave!  I appreciate it.  Unfortunately, Baltimore is a bit far.  I have been practicing, and it's getting easier.  I save each set I make to see how they improve each time.  I am in no rush. I dedicated this summer to practicing hand cut dovetails, and will make a hand tool cabinet in the fall.  Of course with hand cut DT's.  Smile Smile

Thanks

Scott
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#47
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Tools For Working Wood, Joel's blog, has an excellent posting today about dovetailing.  He takes a traditional, purist's approach to the skill.  I totally agree with his emphasis on thorough layout.
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#48
  Re: Cutting dovetails by Smoothjazz077 (I consider myself a ...)
Follow Joel's blog, and really like it, he knows more about the history of hand Tool woodworking than most, However dovetail cutting is done differently by most masters, because they were taught by their masters....

Rob Cosman teaches people who have never cut dovetails to cut almost flawless dovetails in a day or so, his method is the same, with a small change, as Alan Peters, and Alan's is the same as Ernest Joyce......and if you have a copy of " Encyclopedia of Furniture Making, you can find it in there. This method must go back to the 19th century, and most likely the18th, because Ernest learned from someone?

The change is that one offsets the marking of the pins by the width of the saw blade, and this is done with the tail saw kerf before the waste is removed, this makes sure the pins are at the perfect location and the perfect size....ingenious! The results speak for themselves.

Andy


-- mos maiorum
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