1. What about a piece of wood to clamp dovetails, but that have the Pin impressions cut into the clamping wood, so that there is secure clamping of the joint? You worked around the problem by clamping beneath the dovetail. Is it worth creating the special wood pieces described?

    1. Actually, he was clamping under the tails and that isn’t normally required. He took a little off the pin board when he was fitting the joint and that might have caused a slight gap. Bottom line is don’t over think it. If it happens, grab a piece of scrap and deal with it.

    2. Clamping cauls for dovetails are quite common. They don’t need to be fancy. As you described, you just hack out sections to relieve the pins and put pressure on the tails.

      As for when to use them, it’s a judgement call. The larger the joint, the more likely it is to use them. On a dovetailed blanket chest, I wouldn’t glue up without them. You’ll be fine most of the time, but there are enough pins and tails that glue up will take some time and, if something swells or seizes, the cauls can save you and it would be too late to cut them at that point. On a simpler dovetail, it’s not an issue because the glue up goes faster and because, if you get into trouble, you only have one or two tails and you can monkey in a bit of scrap wood.

      Just remember that squeeze out can glue your caul to the work. You can put painters tape on the caul, but that can cause its own set of problems. It usually helps, though.

  2. I am glad I am not the only one who has trouble with Clamp handles falling out of the adjustment bar of those types of sash clamps the stupid plastic ends are only pushed on. Very annoying when glueing up. I think the best idea will be to cut a thread at each end and screw a nut on. What do you think. By the way loving this project.

  3. I’ve made a bunch of these over the years to help with clamping dovetails. The word you’re looking for is a caul. Made all of mine on a table saw but couldn’t tak more than a few minutes with a saw and a chisel. Great way to make sure that the tails seat properly and they protect from marring the project as well. It might feel like you need another hand to make them work but I’ve used carpet tape or a glue gun to hold the cauls in place while you’re setting the clamps.

  4. Just a couple of notes…
    Never shake the container when using a clear finish. Stir only. Shaking will introduce air bubbles that may ruin the finish when applied.
    I prefer floor finishes because often the hardeners in the finish, especially the semi-gloss and gloss, are harder than other finishes and are easier to maintain and polish.

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