Dovetails and Work Height
#21
  Re: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (Recently, on another...)
Y'know, I am an amateur ... a fairly busy amateur. I may saw several hundred dovetails each year. But it is little compared with a handtool pro, who may saw thousands each year. The amount I saw does not warrant going to the incredible levels that I see discussed on forums. This height, that height ... it is a storm in a tea cup. I place a Moxon vise on my bench. It is raised to a reasonable height. I bend the kneez a little .. all good.

At the end of the day these decisions are personal, so I would not argue you out of it. Just present my view, which is reasonably experienced. My dovetails look OK.

What I will state a little more rigorously is that the Moxon-with-a-bench is poor design. As is David Barron's dovetail alignment board, which is similar. I like the concept, but in practice it is an aid for rank beginners.

The problem I have with the Moxon-with-a-bench is that it placed the chop immediately in front of the pin board, and you are certain to slice it up when transferring marks with a knife. This is the reason I use a spacer to raise the pin board up (by 1/2") when transferring marks.




The problem with the alignment board is that it only aligns the pin and tail board from their front edges - more often I need to align boards from their back/inside edges. To do this it really helps to have some light behind the pin board, which is impossible with the (closed up) alignment board. This lesson was brought home to me recently after I redesigned my Moxon to act more like the alignment board. I have had to return to the previous design.

I find alignment is easier with a simple square I built. This can be used either side. It also aids when I build compound dovetails, which has tended to be the case over the past few years (these are parallelograms and not rectangles) ..




I shall be building a new Moxon soon, and the guiding principle will be KIS.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Articles on furniture building, shop made tools and tool reviews at http://www.inthewoodshop.com
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#22
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by Derek Cohen (Y'know, I am an amat...)
Some things are obvious (e.g., alignment boards, etc) and some things are not. Go to any textbook or magazine article focusing on dovetails, and most will show the sawyer sawing away at his bench face vise.  If any of these references mention ergonomics at all, they usually include the admonition to work at a comfortable height. I would say for most amateur woodworkers, their dovetailing begins with the face vise, at the usual face vise height, which is dictated by the traditional rules of determining the optimum bench height. More recently, after the Moxon vise craze prompted many to consider a variation on bench work holding,  some folks saw the benefit of having the work raised that 4" or so above the bench.  The overwhelming majority of references on dovetailing have arguably given the clear impression that dovetailing is an operation performed at bench height or slightly above. Somewhere along the way I got the clear impression that your forearm should be somewhat parallel to the ground to ensure good sawing dynamics/ergonomics.  The bench height/moxon height approach jibes with this posture.  This is all a preface to my main point: raising dovetail work to chest height is not at all obvious and flies in the face of most DT training information. The few times I did see references to this (e.g. Christian's aux bench) I dismissed them as being contrary to the established rules of proper dovetailing (I greatly admire Christian Becksvoort's work, and I now see the error of my ways in being so quick to dismiss his excellent approach).  When you add the facts that not only can this improve your ability to see what your doing (I've found that to be fairly important when sawing: you may feel otherwise) and may be the answer to pain-free sawing (a game changer for anyone who has been bothered by chronic back pain), I'd say that this discussion is anything but a "storm in a tea cup".


(08-30-2019, 09:26 AM)Derek Cohen Wrote: Y'know, I am an amateur ... a fairly busy amateur. I may saw several hundred dovetails each year. But it is little compared with a handtool pro, who may saw thousands each year. The amount I saw does not warrant going to the incredible levels that I see discussed on forums. This height, that height ... it is a storm in a tea cup. I place a Moxon vise on my bench. It is raised to a reasonable height. I bend the kneez a little .. all good.

At the end of the day these decisions are personal, so I would not argue you out of it. Just present my view, which is reasonably experienced. My dovetails look OK.

What I will state a little more rigorously is that the Moxon-with-a-bench is poor design. As is David Barron's dovetail alignment board, which is similar. I like the concept, but in practice it is an aid for rank beginners.

The problem I have with the Moxon-with-a-bench is that it placed the chop immediately in front of the pin board, and you are certain to slice it up when transferring marks with a knife. This is the reason I use a spacer to raise the pin board up (by 1/2") when transferring marks.




The problem with the alignment board is that it only aligns the pin and tail board from their front edges - more often I need to align boards from their back/inside edges. To do this it really helps to have some light behind the pin board, which is impossible with the (closed up) alignment board. This lesson was brought home to me recently after I redesigned my Moxon to act more like the alignment board. I have had to return to the previous design.

I find alignment is easier with a simple square I built. This can be used either side. It also aids when I build compound dovetails, which has tended to be the case over the past few years (these are parallelograms and not rectangles) ..




I shall be building a new Moxon soon, and the guiding principle will be KIS.

Regards from Perth

Derek
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#23
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by elinourrumming (Jeff Miller's versio...)
(08-29-2019, 11:52 PM)elinourrumming Wrote: Jeff Miller's version looks a bit less complicated to build, FWIW. https://www.finewoodworking.com/2008/03/...htop-bench

I made Jeff's version many years ago and use it a lot when cutting DTs. Actually very comfortable cutting them at that height. Plus I can take that small bench anywhere and clamp it to other surfaces.

I tried sitting, but found that I was moving around too much in the stool. I can sit while chopping out waste, but for sawing, I prefer to stand.
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#24
  Re: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (Recently, on another...)
Philip, I think that you are missing my point. Visibility is indeed important, but work holding height is only part of the equation. Light is vital, and the colour of the wood is another. I developed the blue tape method because of the need to see what I was doing.

However work height to ensure "that your forearm should be somewhat parallel to the ground to ensure good sawing dynamics/ergonomics" is fine in theory. In practice you will not do enough sawing to make a difference. How many dovetails have you sawn this year? There seems to be so much energy by so many in a less important design aspect of the Moxon vise. I would not be writing this if you were sawing dovetails all day long.

Regards from Perth

Derek
Articles on furniture building, shop made tools and tool reviews at http://www.inthewoodshop.com
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#25
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by Derek Cohen (Philip, I think that...)
Derek: I am sure you are missing my point. Sawing at this height is a vast departure from what most of us have been taught/learned regarding sawing at the bench. As such, it is at least noteworthy for those of us who have to deal with back issues and bifocal challenges: at last we can stand up straight, see what we are sawing, and get very good results to boot: you don't have to saw hundreds of dovetails to make this a worthwhile endeavor. Certainly any competent amateur could jury-rig a proof-of-principle setup to demonstrate the strengths/shortcomings of this approach: I suggest that would be time will spent. Phil

(08-30-2019, 11:34 AM)Derek Cohen Wrote: Philip, I think that you are missing my point. Visibility is indeed important, but work holding height is only part of the equation. Light is vital, and the colour of the wood is another. I developed the blue tape method because of the need to see what I was doing.

However work height to ensure "that your forearm should be somewhat parallel to the ground to ensure good sawing dynamics/ergonomics" is fine in theory. In practice you will not do enough sawing to make a difference. How many dovetails have you sawn this year? There seems to be so much energy by so many in a less important design aspect of the Moxon vise. I would not be writing this if you were sawing dovetails all day long.

Regards from Perth

Derek
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#26
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by elinourrumming (Jeff Miller's versio...)
Thanks for that link: yes much simpler. However, aesthetically Christian's aux. bench is nice. And it matches my main bench: its not just a work holding apparatus, its art!

(08-29-2019, 11:52 PM)elinourrumming Wrote: Jeff Miller's version looks a bit less complicated to build, FWIW. https://www.finewoodworking.com/2008/03/...htop-bench
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#27
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by Scoony ([quote='elinourrummi...)
Yes I agree on the sitting for chopping mortises. Sawing while sitting: not so much. Bench portability is also important, although I am quickly running out of space in my modest shop (if I make it nice enough, perhaps it can be stored on the coffee table in the living room: a conversation piece if you will.


(08-30-2019, 11:28 AM)Scoony Wrote: I made Jeff's version many years ago and use it a lot when cutting DTs. Actually very comfortable cutting them at that height. Plus I can take that small bench anywhere and clamp it to other surfaces.

I tried sitting, but found that I was moving around too much in the stool. I can sit while chopping out waste, but for sawing, I prefer to stand.
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#28
  Re: Dovetails and Work Height by Philip1231 (Recently, on another...)
I have tried sawing dovetails standing up....prefer sitting.  Elbow is then just about the height of my bench....but, then again...I work from the end of the bench.   Bench height is also about right for me to do a day's work with the handplanes.   It is when I have to reach too far, is where I run into back trouble....like jointing a 4' long edge without taking a step or two.   And...not using my legs to power the planes along.
Show me a picture, I'll build a project from that
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#29
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by bandit571 (I have tried sawing ...)
(08-30-2019, 02:18 PM)bandit571 Wrote: I have tried sawing dovetails standing up....prefer sitting.  Elbow is then just about the height of my bench....but, then again...I work from the end of the bench.   Bench height is also about right for me to do a day's work with the handplanes.   It is when I have to reach too far, is where I run into back trouble....like jointing a 4' long edge without taking a step or two.   And...not using my legs to power the planes along.

A bit off subject, from someone a bit off....maybe a tea cup theory, but has anyone considered making a Moxon type vise that tilts forward allowing for a more comfortable cutting angle on half blinds?
I have been considering this. Just haven't gotten around to it. Too many unfinished projects to finish. For now, I sometimes put smaller parts sideways in my vise.
BontzSawWorks.net
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#30
  Re: RE: Dovetails and Work Height by Derek Cohen (Y'know, I am an amat...)
(08-30-2019, 09:26 AM)Derek Cohen Wrote: Y'know, I am an amateur ... a fairly busy amateur. I may saw several hundred dovetails each year. But it is little compared with a handtool pro, who may saw thousands each year. The amount I saw does not warrant going to the incredible levels that I see discussed on forums. This height, that height ... it is a storm in a tea cup. I place a Moxon vise on my bench. It is raised to a reasonable height. I bend the kneez a little .. all good.



What I will state a little more rigorously is that the Moxon-with-a-bench is poor design. As is David Barron's dovetail alignment board, which is similar. I like the concept, but in practice it is an aid for rank beginners.



Regards from Perth

Derek
YES to your comment regarding storm in a tea cup (many hand tool discussions are like that - tails first, sharpening, etc.) and complicated bench on bench or moxon bench.

NO about your remark that the Barron alignment board is for beginners. His jig is just like any other aids such as the shooting board or bench hook. Granted it doesn't work for all situations but no jigs do. For marking tasks it is designed for, it does a marvelous job - with super precision. I'm no beginner by any definition, but I enjoy using it every time I hand cut dovetails, through, half blind or others.

Simon
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