Anonymous3 December 2012 at 5:48 am #4138
Hey all. When I am chiseling out the tail waste portion of a dovetail, I take the chisel edge all the way tto the corner of the tail. But when I tap in with the mallet, the straight side of my bevel edge chisel leaves a dent across the angle of the dovetail line. The obvious solution is to stay short of the corner. But is there a trick I’m missing here? How do you clean out the corners? I read that you can grind down the edges of the chisel to stop this, but I watch Paul’s DVD’s and he hasn’t ground his down. Help?Anonymous3 December 2012 at 9:25 am #4140
The norm is to simply angle the chisel slightly while clearing/squaring corners, as saw the kerf normally clears enough waste unless you’re using the coping saw method for cutting tails, but – although the saw should remove the bulk – you still normally find the saw kerf removes sufficient waste for chisel clearance. Using a chisel that’s approx half the opening width normally helps, but techniques and personal preferences are many and varied.
Yes, you can refine the bevels of a chisel via a little judicious filing and this will work for finer dovetails. 🙂
I also found this issue a problem while making the pin board. I also found out, that nobody every mentions this problem in videos or write-ups on dovetailing…I wonder why, because I find this part of making the pin board quite challenging to make it neat and clean. The method I tried using recently is to chop in from the narrower side of the tails (wider of the pins) which leaves a little triangle of wood (widening towards the wider side of the tails), which I then pare down with the chisel. I find this more accurate and cleaner than chopping with the chisel at an angle.
I hope this might help…and that someone finally pays some detailed attention to this matter in a video tutorial 🙂
Lukasz.Anonymous3 December 2012 at 8:27 pm #4175
Your best bet is to chop out waste from each side of the pins in turn before paring/trimming to the line.Anonymous4 December 2012 at 5:23 pm #4202
Sorry for the late reply guys. Here’s a diagram of what I’m talking about.Anonymous4 December 2012 at 5:32 pm #4204
Thanks Lukasz. Glad I’m not the only one who has had this problem.
Thanks too Gary. So is using a coping saw the easier way to do it? I’ve seen Paul do it both ways. I’m sloppy enough with a coping saw I’d still have to pare it back to the line with a chisel or knife.Anonymous4 December 2012 at 5:57 pm #4205
You’re very welcome Jeff. 😉 In all honesty either method for clearing waste from dovetails is perfectly fine, but I generally pare back to the line using a chisel of appropriate size. It’s always best to have as many methods and techniques under your belt as possible, as these tend to come into play far more effectively than even the fullest arsenal of tools and contraptions. 😉Anonymous4 December 2012 at 6:51 pm #4209
Lukasz. Just some I’m clear about your method, is this diagram correct?
I should make it clear that using the coping saw is the fastest method I use, but that I only use it if I am making something like a beehive, a garden tool carrier or a kitchen drawer that is not high quality furniture. It’s a fast way of making tool drawers in workbenches but not what I would use for a customer’s cabinet. I also use it to demonstrate the skills I have and so that people don’t get bored during my demo’s at shows and such. It works and is a good method for more utilitarian works.
Re bevel-edged chisels for removing waste:
By angling the chisel, I get the cutting edge into the corner and then use that efficient corner to pare down along the internal corner of the part being removed. This is very effective. My saw kerfs are thin so that doesn’t help me too much. I remove most of my set on dovetail saws. That gives me a supe-thin kerf and much less resistance.Anonymous4 December 2012 at 7:40 pm #4215
It’s funny you mention bee hives, as I’ve recently been reading-up on bee keeping as a potential future hobby if I can manage to slip the idea past SWMBO in the coming new year 😀Anonymous4 December 2012 at 7:41 pm #4216
Thank you Paul. I recall a portion of a video clip of you paring down a protruding dovetail end grain after assembly, and now recall that you were using the only the corner of the chisel in a slicing motion. That’s what you mean when say “use that efficient corner”, (referring to the chisel corner, not the dovetail corner) correct?
Paul – When You talk about using the coping saw, I think You think about ONLY using the coping saw to remove waste. Not an issue for us regular people 😉
Gary – I agree with your suggestion to chop from both sides and I do so…in my description of the method I used a “mental shortcut” 🙂
Jeff – As I look at your diagrams, I get the feeling we were talking about to different problems. In the issue You are describing the solution may be a chisel with the side thickness reduced. As Gary mentioned…grind or file a chisel or get and old Marples or new LN, Blue Spruce or Veritas (by the reviews the are so thin one has to sand them a bit to not get hurt :)). Anyway, I haven’t found a problem with this part of dovetailing.
What I had on my mind was when cleaning the space between the pins. How is the chopping done, not to mar the pin walls? On my diagram the area giving me the issue is colored in light grey. What I do now is chop down from both sides the width of the narrower part of the tale (yellow) and then pare the remaining triangle with the chisel (orange). Is that what you do?
Lukasz.Anonymous4 December 2012 at 8:42 pm #4220
Lukasz Budzynski said “What I had on my mind was when cleaning the space between the pins. How is the chopping done, not to mar the pin walls? On my diagram the area giving me the issue is colored in light grey. What I do now is chop down from both sides the width of the narrower part of the tale (yellow) and then pare the remaining triangle with the chisel (orange). Is that what you do?”
I tend to chop the bulk between the pins from either side of the board before angling the chisel side to run parallel with the tail and paring alongside the saw kerf to clear away remaining waste. 🙂 Using a finer chisel will help reduce the degree of hand pressure needed to push the edge through the waste timber whilst paring and therefore aids control of the tool during the cut.
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