I think I’m finally getting the hang of them! I made the tails a bit more widely spaced for no reason other than experimentation. I also managed to get clean chops–I switched chisels from an older Marples chisel with a metal tipto the older resin/plastic handled one. I thought they were both sharpened the same but I had much better success with the plastic/resin handle–and it was much more comfortable to work with.
First couple of pics show the clean chops, then a picture of the joint at the first/raw fitting and finally after planing/cleaning it up. Feeling much more confident now.
I’m making a chest of drawers so I needed to practice making a half-blind dovetail joint. I hadn’t done this before (this is only my third attempt at any sort of dovetail, in fact). It isn’t perfect, but is good enough for me to have a go at the real thing with a little more confidence than I would otherwise have had.
I mean that once you get your line across the wood and are about 1/8″ deep or so, you drop your saw hand so that you are essentially pointing the saw more upwards as you cut. This will ensure that you don’t cut too deeply on the side of the wood that you can’t see (and also helps you stay on the correct line as you saw. It’s a nuance that took me a while to pick up, even though I’ve heard Paul talk about dropping your hand as you saw countless times…
I think, after some reflection, I should add that it is easier to cut the wood that is closest to you with the part of the saw that is closest to you vs. trying to saw the wood that is farthest away from you with the part of the saw blade that is farthest away from you (i.e. dropping your hand).