Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sliding Dovetails ... by hand

I began using this joint after I built a great router table back in VT, but I had thought the idea of cutting them by hand nothing more than a novelty. I have changed my mind.

I had read descriptions of hand cutting the groove in Tage Frid's books, but until you do it, it's just unbelievable how easy and forgiving the process is. Lay out in pencil, saw to your line and knock most of the waste out by chisel before cleaning to a final depth with your router plane. Like I said, it sounds hard until you try it. Cutting the male dovetail proved a different story.

My dovetail plane is nothing more than an old rebate plane that has bootstrapped itself up in the world. It's working out, but as you can see it ate away at the shoulder in the left side of the picture. Lessons learned:
1) the nicker on "commercial" dovetail planes is essential, not a luxury.
2) the adjustable fence that comes with "commercial" dovetail planes is not a luxury either.

Hopefully I have more inspiring pictures on the next post. I think this is a pretty efficient sawbench design as well as a forgiving intro to making a sliding dovetail.

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