Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 36 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #139299
    David B
    Participant

    This is a good thread–I was going to make a thread for “practice dovetails” but there’s no need with this one.

    I will add my inferior first night of practice to show my flaws and areas I need to improve. I took a 5″ section of 2×4 and resawed it in half and then tried to square it on all sides as well as I could (that knot was a testy one!). The wood was really soft and my biggest frustration is the little gaps I ended up with. Next step is to cut the ends off and repeat…

    IMG_2163

    IMG_2164

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by David B.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by David B.
    Attachments:
    #139331
    Steve Giles
    Participant

    @dbockel2 I think the gaps will disappear on your next try if you saw a little more to the waste side of your pencil lines (some fine adjustment may be necessary to get the dovetails to fit together). A little deeper knifing and you will avoid the surface chipping.

    Hark at me handing out advice after having done two! lol

    (A confession: Never one to follow convention I squared my boards after I cut the dovetails 🙂

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Steve Giles.
    #139573
    David B
    Participant

    I’ll call this, dovetail practice on white pine with garnet shellac that never gets used…A little bit better. It fit quite well after the first pass though I did have 1 small gap on one side.

    IMG_2174

    IMG_2178

    IMG_2184

    IMG_2178

    IMG_2174

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by David B.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by David B.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by David B.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by David B.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by David B.
    Attachments:
    #140917
    Reno
    Participant

    >> ” I don’t yet have a workbench, “

    I’m a bit late to this thread, but I just wanted to comment that for dovetails, all anyone needs is a Moxon vise. Set it up anywhere.

    There are lots of plans for these vises on the net.

    #141444
    Riley Lennon
    Participant

    Those look great! Today I made my first template and very first ever dovetail. Obviously I have some work to do. But I am quite proud. Keep up the great work. I hope mine look that good some day.

    Attachments:
    #141454
    plan00i
    Participant

    Nice dove tails. I agree with what someone else said. Turn your practice into projects. I have a bunch of boxes in my shop that I use to hold different stuff and junk. Most were made with scrap wood and even some pallet wood. I can look at them and see how far I have progressed. Something about knowing it is a project gets you in the mindset to do better work and everyone needs storage in their shop.

    #141461
    Sandy
    Participant

    I agree that just cutting dovetails at random does waste some time. Make something out of it even if it’s a storage box for nails or junk.. I have a few of those around my shop. 🙂

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

    #141797
    David B
    Participant

    hmmm…why does it not want to seat all the way. This soft pine often seems a bit too soft and prone to internal tear out.

    IMG_0005

    IMG_0004

    Attachments:
    #142025
    David B
    Participant

    OK, more practice and a bit more on my workspace, why I do this, etc. Trying to drum up some dialogue so going to make a lengthier post with plenty of photos.

    So I decided to step up the dovetail practice to the next level–more than just 1-2 dovetails so I used Paul’s method with the ruler at the diagonal to plot several points, equally spaced, on a slightly wider board (a free oak scrap that Home Depot gave me simply because it has been partially sawed by someone else and thus they couldn’t properly ring it up. OK, whatever, free wood is free wood! I turned it into a chisel box and practiced a dovetail with the remainder. And I learned some cool tricks/techniques that improved parts of my joint (though still clearly needs work).

    Here you can see the rough layout for the tails. I tested a couple of different saws and ultimately found my best cuts were with my frame saw–the lines just seemed crisper and straighter than what I was getting with my other saws (maybe not set perfectly, a blade imperfection, etc.)
    1

    I have watched and re-watched Paul’s dovetail technique videos several times and finally figured out how to get a clean wall without the internal tear-out issues I used to have. I noticed that when doing the chopping, Paul actually makes the first chop 1-2mm in front of the knife wall, so not to move it before paring it back to the knife wall on the 2nd cycle of chopping. This ensures that the knife wall has a minimal chance of moving due to still not having enough space for the waste wood to escape. I also have switched to bevel down use of the chisel in the vise and NOT trying to split all the way to the knife wall–the waste will come out cleaner and in larger masses when chopping out what has been loosened–paring all the way to the knife-wall is not the point and makes for a much messier cut. I had been doing it wrong all this time…Much cleaner lines with almost no visible internal tear-out!
    3

    Similar strategy with the pins. Nice clean cuts/sharp edges.
    4

    That said, I still need to practice cutting to get them absolutely flush to the point that they fit with no gaps, yet at the same time do not leave so much material that it fits so tight that it causes the wood to split. I did have that issue to a degree with this joint.

    5

    Post continues…

    Attachments:
    #142031
    David B
    Participant

    So I wish my joints looked better on the initial fitting though once glued up and set, they can be cleaned up and planed down to look much “better”.

    Here it is all completed and shellaxed (shellac & wax).
    6

    Biggest issue to me is on the internal corners–clearly I pared out a little too much even though I thought I had my knife walls carefully measured and cut. Oh well, more practice…

    7

    OK, so last bit–not about dovetails…more about my workspace and why I do this. The other night, someone saw my workstation and asked about what I was doing/making and I told her I was just working on a dovetail box. I haven’t really made very much at this point but for me, it’s about the journey, not the outcome–working the wood is the relaxing part where I am focused and time seems to stand still. I have embraced hand tools for the most part, to the degree that I’m comfortable using them almost exclusively (though not totally). And when I shared that information with her, she commented that she is a power-tools person. I have no problem with that but it did make me reflect a bit. Below is a photo of my current workspace–I spend hours here, sharpening, chopping, thinking, etc. I use these tools constantly when I am working–every one has a purpose (or many purposes). All of these dovetail boxes have been “practice” projects but they’ve also helped me get more organized and compartmentalized…
    8

    …And then I turned around and looked at where I started. Shelves covered in loud, heavy, dangerous power tools that spend more time gathering dust and wasting space than they do anywhere else in my workshop. I may use the bandsaw (not pictured) from time-to-time but not regularly. I may use the power router occasionally (but really hardly ever). That table saw hasn’t been turned on in months.

    9

    Attachments:
    #142037
    Jim Allen
    Participant

    Thanks for posting and the tip on not splitting to the line.
    I think that your dovetails are coming along nicely. For some unknown reason the first ones I did were the best and it’s been over ten years ago. I’ve cut many since then.

    Jim from the mythical State of Jefferson – Oregon side

    #143247
    sodbuster
    Participant

    Gary Rogowski is one of the writers who has advocated warming up with a simple dovetail joint..

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by sodbuster.
    #143249
    sodbuster
    Participant

    I’m with you on the satisfaction of having a set of often-used tools ready to hand. My four go-to handplanes now sit on the tablesaw behind my workbench. Easy to guess what gets used more.

    #308478
    David B
    Participant

    OK, I think I have finally had a minor breakthrough on the dovetail front and I can attribute it to a few factors: 1) practice of course 2) THINKING about what issues I might be having and how to actually correct them. I mean really thinking about why things have been happening–(why did this joint seem too tight and then I pared it back and now it has a gap in it and it split?), 3) sharpness. Even though my tools have always been sharp, my recent diamond stone upgrade seemed to enable a new level of sharpness that I think provided an upgrade to my confidence…I’m very happy with my improved success with the shooting board (one picture shows end-grain to end-grain just so I could see how true they were) and my inside corners too.

    Some of the things I focused on/learned by paying more attention:
    1) cutting the dovetails–make sure to drop your hand/saw blade once the horizontal kerf is established. I found this made my cuts straighter and cleaner.
    2) When paring down the pins for fit, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T PARE ANYTHING THAT THE WOOD ALREADY FITS INTO. I know this sounds obvious but i have found that when my joints are too tight, that the instinctive response is to pare a bit of wood off of the entire side of a pin. Well, silly me, this just means that what already fit is now loose with a gap and what was too tight may still not fit/have gaps.
    3) Main issue I still have is that when chopping the joints, no matter how sharp my chisels, I ALWAYS seem to get at least a little internal tear-out. Granted it is not visible but it drives me nuts that I almost always have this issue…
    4) I have a tendency to injure myself the same way over and over again with the plane. Anybody else have this problem? Seems I am prone to pulling the plane back too far on the backstroke, which then slips off the wood right as I start my push stroke…and jam my finger/knuckles straight into the back corner of my wood!

    Attachments:
    #308484
    David B
    Participant

    So with increased confidence I moved on to a piece of mahogany to practice on (for some reason this particular brand of mahogany that I got was like cutting a wet rope sometimes). It also split on me on the first dovetail when I was paring it down–I’ve had a dovetail split before but not from paring–usually from forcing the fit. What ended up as a practice joint session turned into a tiny little box for pencils or something. Given the stock was 0.75″ thick, the final product looked a bit clunky so I chamfered the heck out of the tops to give the angled look, which also showcases the insides of the dovetails in a somewhat interesting way.

    Also attached is a piece of some wood that I milled down to be perfectly square. I was happy with it.

    Attachments:
Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 36 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.