Marking dovetails - visibility

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Actually, he does start sawing, no notches. He aligns the saw with a fore finger or fingernail and he has the thumb or thumbnail marking the near side of the cut. Using only 20% of the weight of the saw, he starts the cut with light strokes and then brings the saw down to the surface, guiding with the thumbnail for accurate alignment.

vertical,
not
It's just something I came to by myself. It takes such little pressure on the saw to guide it, just the slight touch of a finger nail will do. I tried using square blocks to make the cut vertical, but that's awkard and really doesn't work for me. After I learned to trust the saw (to stay in the kerf), I realized that after I started the cut line was the time to insure the saw was vertical before the kerf was really initiated. As the kerf is initiated, the vertical direction of the cut is established.
I hope this not over discussion of the topic. Analyzing the the sequence of a successful cut helps me with the awarness of what it takes to make a good cut. I have to stay aware at all times, or my work quality falls apart. I am sometimes able to make somethig good, but I really have to work hard at it. The professionals that I have seen appear to throw it up on the bench and just do it. I know it probably was not always like that for them though and the techniques they use are done subconsciously.

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I'll have to give it a try that way and compare it to my technique.

Same here. I even went to the trouble of cutting various guide-block "training wheels", but found that I was better-served by just training myself to do it correctly without the extra stuff.

It sounds like that's similar to my approach. I make the initial kerf without being concerned about verticality; it's about establishing the horizontal angle. Once I have just severed the wood fibers, I can feel that aspect of the cut even without looking. From there it's about getting and keeping verticality.

We're on the same page. I don't know if this is useful for others, but it helps me to analyze what I do, and see if there are better ways. Also, I'm no expert, but I do have certain techniques that I no longer do totally consciously. The problem is, if it's been a long time since I've done something like cutting dt's, I need to approach it from a step-by-step technique. Like you say, if I just go in and start sawing away, I'm likely to butcher things. So this thread is sort of a reality check for me, and a reminder.
And this sure beats talking about trolls and Dubya, no? :-)
Chuck Vance
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After trying an awl I tried a very old penknife, was my grandfather's, might have been his father's. It has a largeish blade, thin at the end from years of sharpening and is easy to register against the face of the tails. the size makes it easy to get a good visible line too. Again though, whatever works for you.
Peter
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snipped-for-privacy@blueyonder.co.uk (Peter Ashby) wrote in message

Yeah, I used quite a few different marking tools before settling on the Veritas double-bevel knife. I started with an Exacto type, but that sort of knife edge didn't seem as precise. I tried an awl, but it tended to skip at just the wrong time. Then I bought the Crown set of left and right knives, and they're OK, but it's a pain to have to switch, and that's one more thing to lose in the mess of tools on the bench. :-}
From there it was on to a Hock shiv mounted in a homemade cocobolo handle. Great knife, but a bit big for marking some of the smaller pins I like to cut. I now use it for hand-to-hand combat and skinning large game animals. ;-) The Veritas just seems like the best compromise for the way I work. It can be handled like a pencil, which gives you great control, and the blade is narrow with a flat back and double-bevel which lets you simply reverse it to get it into tight spaces.
Chuck Vance
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Nate,
If money is not the issue - get it and enjoy. Collecting and using the toy's is part of the hobby too...
Now if you need to justify it to someone other than yourself - that's a whole 'nuther story and trust me, we can help you justify the hell out it if needed...;)
Bob S.

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I'm always interested in buying stuff, but did I miss something here? I reread Nate's post twice and I don't see any mention of buying anything. What am I missing?
--
Larry C in Auburn, WA

"Bob S." < snipped-for-privacy@noplace.com> wrote in message
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Having trouble marking dovetails and your doing/cutting pins first.
Cut tails first. Reason; when you mark and cut the pins no matter what angle you actually cut each tail (by hand there are going to be minor variations) the pin is still cut absolutely straight/vertical. Marking pins from the tails is totally unobstructed. Finally; marking in the end-grain is far easier to get a solid visible mark and rarely does end grain cause your knife to wander. IMHO ... cut tails then pins is the most repeatable accruate way.
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I use a drafting pencil (H or 2H) sharpened to a beveled point and mark with that. I cut the tails first, since I find it is easier to mark the pins from the tails. I clamp the pin piece to a vertical edge on my workbench and hold the tails securely over the pin piece while I mark the pins. If necessary, I will reinforce the line weight prior to sawing the tails or pins. I use strong cross lighting to make sure I can see the lines.
Let's don't get into the tails first - pins first argument. :-) Your not going to change how you do it and I'm sure not going to change. My mind is closed on the subject. <G>

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On 31 Jan 2004 22:30:26 -0800, n snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Nate Perkins) wrote:

if the wood is light colored, make your mark with the knife, then follow the scribe with a pencil. rub the pencil off of the surface, and you will have a dark knife mark. if the wood is dark colored, use white chalk to highlight your scribe.     Bridger
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Hi,
Thanks to you and all the others for the suggestions.
I think one reason why it's a bit tricky is that I'm doing this project in mahogany (African, the cheap variety). The grain structure on the face makes the mark especially hard to see.
In the past I've made some other pieces out of walnut or cherry, and the lines did seem to be a little more visible in those woods.
I'll try the pencil and the chalk method. I've been trying the crosslighting (with a little portable 100W lamp), and it sure does help.
To tell you the truth, it's only recently that I saw well enough that the precision of the line is the limiter :-P I'm sure I've made 50-100 dovetails (among scrap and small projects), and I'm still learning the little things I'm doing wrong.
Cheers, Nate
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On 31 Jan 2004 22:30:26 -0800, n snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Nate Perkins) wrote:

Try using an awl. A knife is OK for marking pins from tails, but it's hard to get into the corner for tails from pins.
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your supposed to do tails first from everything that I have read. Try that might help. Am almost ready to start the dovetail journey myself.
--

http://users.adelphia.net/~kyhighland


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