Monday, March 8, 2010

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.

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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.