Monday, March 8, 2010

Five Minute Bench 9- The Pins

Once the tails are cut I mark for the pins.

I use scrap to bind the pin board square, then I tighten the vise. I then hold the tail board down and mark the pins with a utility knife, guided by the saw kerfs.

I don't saw at it, I just pressure it down enough to make a mark. Movement jostles the tail board, and makes the marks inaccurate. If I had more than a couple of marks to make I'd clamp down the tail board with a holdfast.

I then draw guidelines. I'm right handed, so I want to keep the waste to the left of the saw. This keeps the guidelines to the unobstructed view to the right of the saw. I draw two marks on each side. These don't have to be perfectly lined up with my knife strikes, they're just a visual aid to keep my saw square.

I use my square in my vise to line up the board, and make the first two cuts.

Then I spin the board around to make the other two cuts.

Because the knife I use is a double bevel, the line it makes is centred in the kerf, not tight to the tail sides. I saw 1/32" to the waste side of the mark to compensate for half the knife thickness.

It's now time to remove the waste. While the vise is at this setting I saw off the outside pieces from the tail board.

I then clamp up my birdsmouth and fretsaw out the inside waste. I saw to within paring distance between the pins, but I saw to the line between the tails. It's too tiny to chisel. The keys to successful fretsawing are a tight blade and a loose grip.

The waste is pared out, working from both sides with a sharp chisel, held perpendicular or slightly angled into the stock.

I apply glue to the inside and sides of the tails. Squeeze out happens to the outside of the joint. Small pieces like this are closed all four sides at once. If the stock is too large to close all at the same time I clamp the pin boards in my end vise. This protects the fragile pins. A steel hammer is used, on the tail boards only, to close the joint.

After the glue has set up, I'll plane or sand the ends flush and break the edges. I used an oscillating spindle sander to create the cut-outs on this piece.

I cut a small piece of Baltic Birch plywood and used spray adhesive to adhere it to a leather scrap. The leather was trimmed flush, and the part was press fit into the box.

A new home for my old Stanley 199!

Five Minute Bench 9- The Tails

This is getting a little monotonous (the posts, not the exercise), so for this one I'll show how I hand cut dovetails. I'm no Frank Klaus, I'm still learning and developing my technique.

Here's a picture of my tool arsenal. Not shown is a utility knife.

I start with wood milled square and 1/16" longer than final dimension. I set my marking gauge to 1/32" wider than the stock.

The tail boards, which would be drawer sides, are marked all the way around. The pin boards, the drawer back, is marked on the two faces only, not the top and bottom. A pin gauge isn't the best tool for this job, I'd rather use a wheel style but I don't own one, yet.

I sharpen a pencil and highlight the lines. I can't cut to what I can't see.

I use a square to measure for and layout the tail ends.

The sides are clamped in my end vise and the tail lines are drawn with a sliding bevel. The Veritas Sliding Bevel is an excellent tool, I feel the cam lock is well worth the cost. The small version is on my wish list, as the large is a little awkward for this scale of work. I use a 1:5 angle on parts this thin.

I prefer to saw perpendicular to the world. Keeping my cuts plumb improves my muscle memory and reduces variables. I use the sliding bevel to line it up in the end vise. A scrap behind the stock protects the bench from saw scratches.

I've heard some say this it's harder to saw on an angled part, but I've never had a problem. I think it has an added benefit, for skinny pins only one entry kerf is used, gravity helps to keep the saw from being influenced by the first cut.

I use a Lie-Nielsen Progressive Pitch Dovetail Saw. It is one of my favourite tools.

Five Minute Bench 8

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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.