I’m still in the “imperfect dovetail cutting” part of my learning. After cutting and chiseling, I can be off 1/16″ here and there. It’s me. I know it’s me. Practice practice practice!
Obviously the creator is never happy with their creation. But I don’t want to go tossing many hours of work and wood. So what is the best way to repair/hide the worst of the work? Wood filler? Other tricks?
Geoff, a good idea i found was save all your offcuts until you are done with the project. They match what you are doing best. I toss them all in the corner of the bench and pick from the pile as needed. Even dovetail scraps come in handy.
I do toss most of the shall stuff when the project is finished.
On the really thin gaps, the ones too small for a wedge, I just use a wax filler. Comes in all sorts of colors but you can’t use it until AFTER you put your finish on – it’s wax and finish won’t adhere to it. Beeswax works if you’re not staining and using a lighter color wood. I avoid that stuff they call wood filler. I’ve yet to find any that doesn’t make the problem look worse instead of better. Sometimes, a little sawdust mixed with some PVA can do the trick on the thin gaps.
If it is a bad gap, like cut on the other side of the line or something like that I will hammer in a thin shim. If its not big enough for a wood shim, I just leave it. Doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good piece to be proud of in my opinion.
You have to have higher standards, I would just keep practising with well prepared stock until you can do a dovetail with no gaps, don’t worry about it, just move on and make another box, really take your time, it could be worth practising sawing accurately simply by drawing lines onto a piece of wood, sounds basic but it works, and trains you to saw to the line squarely and accurately.
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