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  Surprising Dovetails by Peter Hyde 1 of 2  

This was my last 2 days at work and there wasn’t anything to do. So my boss comes over with a little pencil sketch of a box with dovetails on it. “We need 2 of these pine boxes and they will paint some dovetails on after” he said. I pulled a face and suggested I should use some real dovetails. “How much time?” “About 2 hours extra for the dovetails” I replied “Do it” he said and walked away. After he left I realized I hadn’t cut any dovetails in probably 30 years. I don’t even have a dovetail saw anymore.

Anyway I plunged into the project full bore. Using 3/4 thick pine I had to glue up some pieces 10” wide. As we don’t have a 10” jointer I got out my 05 and flattened and straightened the boards and then put them through the thicknesser and reduced them to 5/8”. I cut them to length and then I marked up the face sides and edges and laid out a set of tails on the one board. I put all 4 sides together in the vise and started cutting with my 10” tenon saw.

Note the pieces are tilted over so that I can hold the saw vertical.  I then flipped the top board of the stack to use the saw cuts as a guide for the other end. This saves a lot of laying out and all that is needed is some square lines to be drawn across the ends.

The bundle is tilted the opposite way to again allow the saw to be held vertical.

The other tails are then cut.

Now comes the tricky part, marking the pins from the tails. First the side and end are aligned on the bench and then using the vise and a clamp they are held in position.

Then using the tip of the saw in each saw cut, the location of the pins is transferred.

With the pins now marked I have drawn X’s in the waste areas so that I remind myself to cut on the waste side of the line.


 
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