Well, well. Making a reproduction Thomas Jefferson portable writing
desk (http://www.woodbender.com/Thomas_Jefferson_s_Desk_NMV.html ) for
my wife and part of the design is hand-cut dovetails. Tiny, tiny hand-
cut dovetails that no router bit is small enough to cut. I had posted
earlier on the topic of hand-cut dovetails and specifically on the
half-blinds for the drawer front (a source of significant anxiety for
me ;) ).
Anyhoo, I was pleased to find that with a moderate amount of prep and
practice and a decent helping of patience I was able to cut good
throughs and passable to good half-blinds. Cut some paper thin shims
on the bandsaw with the same grain direction as the pins and passable
is now good.
I had watched a number of videos on-line and purchased a very nice
Japanese pull dovetail saw, as well as a Stanley Sweetheart 1/8"
chisel as my set only went down to 1/4". I did mention these were
tiny dovetails, right? The plan for the desk actually has you grind a
1/8" down to 3/32" but I wasn't going to get involved in that. I just
made my dovetails slightly larger, and as my wife had me increase the
drawer depth from 1 3/4" to 3" I had no "authenticity guilt" over
I find working with decent chisels to be far superior to the router in
many ways, not the least feeling much more in control of the cut. The
whine of the router always made my back tense up, even when doing the
simplest of operations. I had (due to my own impatience) shattered
not one, but two all carbide 1/4" router bits recently and that kinda
put me off the router. As well as destroying some nice wood with the
same failing and poor technique in other incidents.
Chiseling out the bi-level mortise for the lock in the drawer front
was a joy. Quiet, soothing work. Doing the escutcheon and the
keyhole was fun with a drill and a set of small and aggressive
Think that router's gonna see a lot less action from now on :).
When it is done, I will post a link to the project on lumberjocks.com.