Re: I can make dovetails!


charlie b Wrote:

Charlie,
Thanks a lot for writing this document and make it available. I don't own any video playback equipment (not because I am too old, but just a matter or principle!) so it is not much use buying Frank Klausz' video. During searches over the Internet and reading some books (The Workbench Book by Scott Landis) I learned a few things about Frank Klausz, and I have applied the information I could get. Frankly, I was surprised by that even *I* was able to cut decent dovetails. The more I make, the better they get. But what is more important, I get faster in making them. Somehow I always seemed to overcut the tails, and it took quite some paring to make them fit. As my skills continued to develop, sawing became more accurate, and now it often happens that I fit the part together right after chopping out the tails. Without any pairing. Very relevant was the replacment of the handle of my dovetail saw with a homemade one after I read this article: 'the way of the saw' (http://www.ucalgary.ca/~kmuldrew/woodworking/revelations_1.html ) Sawing has become twice as accurate after I copied this saw handle.
But I also considerably improved my skills using the tips from your document. I once read it, lost it, found it back and now I was smart enough to save it. Thanks again.
jlinkels
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jlinkels

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jlinkels wrote:

I'd been waiting to finish my first dovetailed box (I've got one and a half joints done so far; shop time has been hard to come by this week!) to post this, but I'll go ahead and say it: Thanks, tremendously, for that how-to guide. I downloaded a copy of the PDF and printed it out, took it to the shop with a scrap piece of oak, and cut my very first set of dovetails. The process made sense, and the joint fits tightly. It's not pretty yet, but I know where I need to get better on the next one.

And thank you for that link! That was the one thing I felt like I was missing after working on the dovetails -- a proper saw. I wasn't too sure what a really good dovetail saw would look like, but I was pretty sure it wasn't the one I was using. Now I know, and I know how to get one.
- Brooks
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Try this online dovetail template generator to set out your joints. It draws the template. Enter the dimensions of the wood, and tail setout and it draws the template, ready to print, fold over end of wood and cut through. You can change the measurements, angles, tail setout etc and see what it looks like. http://www.blocklayer.com/Woodjoints/DovetailEng.aspx
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jlinkels wrote:

What I did was more like transcribing what's on Mr. Klausz's tape. I'm a visual learner so illustrations work for me.

Ah - a total neander!

That's the realization I try to encourage. "If even he can do it then I sure as hell can!"

Works that way for a lot of things.

If you scribe the layout lines they can't be rubbed off. And if you "leave the line" - just the line - you can see where you're at. And because they'll always be a tiny bit "outside" the pins (or tails if you're a Tails First person) if you cut just TO the waste side of the scribe line you'll get a pretty good fit with little if any paring required.

Another thing that helps when using that type of handle is to hold it keep a fingers relaxed loose grip instead of a white knuckle death grip. Let the teeth do their job. With that kind of handle, there's also a tendency to push the teeth down onto the wood much harder than necessary, brute forcing the cut. A relaxed, lighter touch will let the saw do the cutting rather than ALL your muscles.

Like most "hard" problems, when you break it down itnto smaller pieces it gets easier. By the yard it's hard. By the inch it's a cinch.

No problem. Pass it on when you can.
charlie b
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