My first hand-cut dovetails
#31
  Re: My first hand-cut dovetails by OneStaple (Hey all, I've bee...)
Ok, round two. I see improvement and am happier with these, but there's still certainly room for further improvement.

Thoughts/comments:
1. Sawing straight lines (especially vertically on the pins) remains an issue. The tails seem fine because I do those first, so being off a little is corrected. You'll notice in the pictures that I have some decent gaps due to my cuts on the pins. I find it difficult to see around the top of the saw to really follow the line. And then I'm stooped way over looking at the line instead of making sure the saw is perpendicular to the board. So yeah, need to practice and work on this. (also, #3 would probably help)
2. I ditched the cheap dovetail marking gauge. It was way too far off. I cleaned up a super old (100+ years) bevel gauge that I had sitting around and used that. Much better. Now the angles of the tails look symmetrical. I'll probably get something better later since the bevel portion is a bit mangled/bent.
3. I need a Moxon vise or something. Clamping to the edge of my table saw is a horrible long-term solution.
4. The Japanese chisel that I just got (old/used from ebay...needed to fix it up a bit) is WAY better than the old western chisel that I was using initially. I put a 25 degree edge on it and it cut very nicely both when chopping and paring end grain.
5. There's a much smaller gap on the inside corner of these boards, which to me says I have a tighter joint.
6. My single bevel marking knife barely fit between the tails to mark the pins. So for now, those are the smallest pins I can do.

Pictures below, both before and after I glued the joint together and cleaned it up.

Tyler


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#32
  Re: My first hand-cut dovetails by OneStaple (Hey all, I've bee...)
Avoid cutting beyond the base lines. Slow down when you get close to the gauge lines. Those unsightly kerf marks pop up.

Simon
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#33
  Re: RE: My first hand-cut dovetails by OneStaple (Ok, round two. I see...)
Your second effort looks great, Tyler.  Well done!

I heartily endorse a Moxon vise, particularly set high enough to use a comfortable sawing stance.

A tip I found useful (thanks to both Paul Sellers and Derek Cohen) when sawing pins to the lines is to start a small, very light kerf across the top, then drop your hand & saw down the front, joining the bottom front corner to the top back; once you're on the front line lift the saw back to horizontal & saw the back down to its line.
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#34
  Re: RE: My first hand-cut dovetails by OneStaple (Ok, round two. I see...)
"1. Sawing straight lines (especially vertically on the pins) remains an issue. The tails seem fine because I do those first, so being off a little is corrected. You'll notice in the pictures that I have some decent gaps due to my cuts on the pins. I find it difficult to see around the top of the saw to really follow the line. And then I'm stooped way over looking at the line instead of making sure the saw is perpendicular to the board. So yeah, need to practice and work on this. (also, #3 would probably help)"

Sawing straight lines: the DT sawing savants make it look so easy. So is brain surgery, if you know how. Here is the one trick I have used to get good at sawing straight lines (don't tell anyone about this or everyone and their brother will be sawing perfect DTs)
PRACTICE
Here is pic of my bench as it was left yesterday after milling some lumber for a desk I am building. I nearly always have a scrap in my front vise ready for sawing practice. I keep a dovetail square, a pencil and at least one DT saw at the ready at all times. If I enter my workshop on a given day, I don't leave without doing some sawing practice. At first, it was intended to develop a skill. After a while, I just got to liking it so much that I miss not making a half dozen cuts any time I'm out in the shop. I've been doing this for a few years: you do get better. So there, its a secret, so don't  tell anybody Smile

   
   
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#35
  Re: RE: My first hand-cut dovetails by Philip1231 ("1. Sawing straight ...)
(01-30-2021, 09:18 AM)Philip1231 Wrote: So there, its a secret, so don't  tell anybody Smile

Though not my habit, I know that some people will warm up with a sawing exercise just before they actually work on their dovetails. I'm the kind that prefers to start right on the stock from the get-go. But I do warm up mentally, reminding myself what to watch out, and going slower than usual when I start. I consider that my warm-up exercise.

Simon
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#36
  Re: My first hand-cut dovetails by OneStaple (Hey all, I've bee...)
Handplanesandmore Wrote:Avoid cutting beyond the base lines. Slow down when you get close to the gauge lines. Those unsightly kerf marks pop up.
I know, I know. I had undercut a couple on my first attempt, so I over-compensated on the second. Obviously I overshot a few times. Another thing to work on, but also something that I'm not overly concerned about figuring out.

grwold Wrote:A tip I found useful (thanks to both Paul Sellers and Derek Cohen) when sawing pins to the lines is to start a small, very light kerf across the top, then drop your hand & saw down the front, joining the bottom front corner to the top back; once you're on the front line lift the saw back to horizontal & saw the back down to its line.
Yes, that's a good tip. I had come across it in my research and have been using that technique. I think it has let me get the tops of the pins very nicely lined up with the tails (gaps are much better on that side of the corner), but I still need to practice keeping things straight as I drop my hand and saw down the front. I tend to skew left or right at that point, causing the gaps.

Philip1231 Wrote:Sawing straight lines: the DT sawing savants make it look so easy. So is brain surgery, if you know how. Here is the one trick I have used to get good at sawing straight lines (don't tell anyone about this or everyone and their brother will be sawing perfect DTs)
PRACTICE
Here is pic of my bench as it was left yesterday after milling some lumber for a desk I am building. I nearly always have a scrap in my front vise ready for sawing practice. I keep a dovetail square, a pencil and at least one DT saw at the ready at all times. If I enter my workshop on a given day, I don't leave without doing some sawing practice. At first, it was intended to develop a skill. After a while, I just got to liking it so much that I miss not making a half dozen cuts any time I'm out in the shop. I've been doing this for a few years: you do get better. So there, its a secret, so don't tell anybody
Ahhhh, the missing ingredient! Yes, I realize that getting really good at this will take lots (years) of practice. With two young kids, I don't know that I'll ever have the time/energy to become an expert at this, but I at least want to be respectable such that I'm ok including hand-cut dovetails in a piece of furniture that I give family/friends. And I don't care if I'm slow at each joint (I haven't timed these, but I'd guess that each of these joints has been taking about 60-90 minutes at the moment). Those dovetail savants drive me nuts with their ability to cut perfect dovetails, seemingly even while blindfolded and using their non-dominant hand. Granted, one has to realize that they've likely been making those cuts for years and years.

I'm starting to look at building a Moxon vise and am considering both the Benchcrafted hardware (seemingly the gold standard) and something cheaper. I know this could be an entirely separate thread, but do I go with "get the best and buy once" or "good enough" (lots of other sources)? I'm leaning toward just getting the Benchcrafted hardware so it's something I'm always happy with, even if it costs more. It can always be reused later if I want to make a newer version or change my shop setup a bit.

Thanks,
Tyler
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#37
  Re: RE: My first hand-cut dovetails by OneStaple ([quote=Handplanesand...)
(01-30-2021, 04:23 PM)OneStaple Wrote: I know, I know. I had undercut a couple on my first attempt, so I over-compensated on the second. Obviously I overshot a few times. Another thing to work on, but also something that I'm not overly concerned about figuring out.
Yes, over time, you should be able to avoid that. If you're really concerned about over-cutting, there's a simple solution---- undercut it. By that I mean you saw just about 1/32" or 1/64" shy from the baseline. When you pare or chop after coping, that bit would come off precisely. When you cut beyond the baseline, the fix is usually still visible.
Simon
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#38
  Re: My first hand-cut dovetails by OneStaple (Hey all, I've bee...)
You're making good progress and have gotten some great advice from a couple of members here who know what they're talking about. Did you take a look at the link I posted earlier?

"There is a thread running concurrently by Derek Cohen on cutting half blind dovetails. While he acknowledges that all his methods aren't his own, his execution approaches close to perfection IMO. Anyone would do well to cruise his web site for articles on the subject."

Derek's use of blue painter's tape can help with the fit of tails to pins IMO. Also helps with registration.

Good luck,

Doug
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#39
  Re: My first hand-cut dovetails by OneStaple (Hey all, I've bee...)
About 10 yrs ago, I had a back injury that kept me from doing any heavy work for months. I used the time to practice different techniques of hand-cutting dovetails. I made at least one set of practice joints a day. Each was dated and I jotted a note on the sample if I did something different. The samples got stacked on a cabinet so I could look back and figure out what worked best.

The key learnings for me from that exercise:
1. After laying out the cut lines with a fine pencil, I would go over the lines with a sharp marking knife. It helps me keep the saw on track.
2. I'm a tails first guy. Once I became proficient at cutting lines that are straight and square, I could stack boards to cut multiple tails at once. It's a terrific time saver.
3. Use sharp chisels. Most of my early failures had to do with dull cuts and rounded baselines instead if crisp edges
4. Sneak up on chiseling the baseline. My earliest efforts had big gaps because I laid the chisel right in the cut line. I got much better results chiseling to within about 1/32, then back-cutting to the baseline after honing the chisel with a strop.
4. To preserve sharpness, I sometimes use my bandsaw to hog out waste, then chisel to the baseline as described above. Using the bandsaw isn't as satisfying,, but it's a real time-saver..
5. A moron vice is great for quick and consistent setup.
The height makes it easier to see the lines, and it's also less stress on my back.
6. Good lighting leads to better cuts.

Good luck.
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#40
  Re: RE: My first hand-cut dovetails by RichK (About 10 yrs ago, I ...)
(02-04-2021, 12:34 AM)RichK Wrote: 5.  A moron vice is great for quick and consistent setup.


Good luck.

Ha! Who would have guessed? My vise is quite intelligent, which explains my poor results Smile
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