Holy cow, I actually made a hand-cut dovetail drawer!


I know this isn't necessarily exciting news as almost everybody in this group has probably done it many times over but this was my first one!
I have been puttering around as often as I could the past couple of weeks just cutting and fitting dovetail joints together. I sucked it up and went for all four corners this time and, holy cow, it actually looks pretty damn good.
Well, it isn't really a drawer; it's the four side but I had to make it all fit together. And it is El Cheapo 1/2" pine but, heck, it fits togerher.
Sure, everything doesn't fit together nice and tight--I didn't expect pine to fit nicely. You can tell where I took off a little too much wood and there is a bit of rip out between the pins and the tails but I attribute much of that to the pine as it crushed pretty easily.
I admit I am not good with the chisel and I was getting anxious toward the end and may have rushed things but, damn, it all fit. And everything is square. And the tops all line up.
When I showed it to the wife she looked at it with a blank stare and said, "Um, yeah, it's nice." My kids just said, "Eww! A square! Wow, dad, you're talented." Sorry if this isn't newsworthy but I needed to tell somebody and maybe, possibly, someone will appreciate this.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I felt exactly the same pride and excitement when I lost my virginity.
It wasn't pretty, but everything fit. :-)
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I heard the fit was a bit loose!
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Congrats,
It's more than I can do at the moment but a skill I hope to work on someday. Your story reminded me an experience I had a while back. I had an old video of tuning up shop equipment and the gentleman went from tool to tool demonstrating the maintanence and then some sample cuts progressing a drawer case like yours. My daughter was seven at the time and watched for an hour just glued to it. As he finished the last tool he assembled the draw and the credits rolled. She looked at me with complete disbelief.
"A square..."? "That's all he's going to make is a square"?
Oh someday, she and my son may hopefully come to know what an accomplishment that first square really is. Anyway, congratulations.
Daryl
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A true testament to the superior people skills and highly developed sense of empathy found in the modern american woman! They pass it to the kids also. At least you can be ready next time she asks "How do I look, really?". Wilson

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Ready how? The ramifications of that oh-so-tempting answer to that question are considerably more severe than the look and spousal support one gets for the situation described below.

+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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I must admit I cut my first dovetails from pine. Then I tried cherry and the dovetails were even better than the pine. I practiced one or 2 hours a day, and in two weeks perfected a useful & fun skill that will last a lifetime. My drill and bit storage cabinet has hand-cut dovetail drawers--all made from free pallet wood.
On 29 Jan 2006 18:14:12 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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On Sun, 29 Jan 2006 18:14:12 -0800, busbus wrote:

My first, made this weekend from dunnage plywood. Looks like death warmed over, but it fits and it's at 90 deg.
http://bcanaday.photosite.com/Trainingpiece
Congrats. Oldtimers may have forgotten what it is like to teach yourself how to do something ... but I sure haven't!
Bill
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Bill,
Wow! Way to go!! Yours looks a hell of a lot better than mine. I think part of my problem was the wood in that it was WAY too soft and I just crushed the fibers when I used the chisel until i figured out that it was probably better to saw a bunch of kerfs and then chisel them out. I was trying to use a coping saw almost to the line but it seemed like it was better to cut kerfs all the way down to my line and chisel them out.
I hope my SECOND try looks as good as your first try! I was taking somebody's advice and trying to do them as fast as I could. I understand the philosophy but maybe I will take my time next time and apply what I learned from the first time but also watch what I am doing closer.
It is truly amazing when you put your sqaure to the joints and see them all line up to 90-degrees.
I wonder, is this just a natural outcome of making a box out of these joints? In other words, if you cut all the corners to fit, does the object have no choice but to be square??
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On Wed, 01 Feb 2006 13:11:15 -0800, busbus wrote:

AFAIKT, if the SIDES of the pins & tails are at right angles to the wood, perpendicularity is forced. I think small variances will balance themselves out but I wouldn't care to try a large variation from one end to the other.
FWIW, on the other hand, this observation is based on exactly one attempt.
Bill
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If your starting out with dovetails, try this (free) dovetail template generator. You can see how it will look, and then use the printed templates to cut the tails. http://www.blocklayer.com/Woodjoints/DovetailEng.aspx
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