through dovetails with thick wood

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All,
I am new to the dovetailing game and I need some advice. I recently was given a Leigh D4 as a graduation gift and am attempting to make some boxes. The boxes will have 4 sides only (i.e. no bottom or top) and will be used as modular storage in my new apartment. I will be using through dovetails to join them.
According to the Leigh manual, the maximum thickness of the pin board is 1" but the stock I have is 5/4". What dovetail/straight bit combination do I need to join these thick pieces? I'd rather not plane it down as I like the look of the very thick walls.
Thanks, Ben
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Interesting thet the D4 marketing literature say "Through dovetails 1/8" to 1-1/4" thick" with no mention of a limitation.
Reading the D4 documentation it actually shows a limit for the tail board as 1" with info for up to 1 1/4" for pins [Table 15-6 page 134]. To go thicker than 1" on the tails you will have to use some method other than the Leigh D4. Here are some ideas. I think if it were at all possible to do it with the jig they would tell you how.
1. Use the D4 to cut the pins then use them to layout the tails and cut them by hand. 2. Do the whole thing by hand. 3. You could do them with 5/4 on the long sides and 4/4 on the short sides if you are building rectangular boxes or even if you aren't. Symetrical is more common but not a requirement. You could even mix it up more and build some smaller boxes too, with thinner pieces to add some character to the whole set of boxes. 4. You could get real creative and have all 4 sides step down, bevel down or taper down on one side or symetricially to 1" in the last few inches at each end. If they had a square 1/4" step on the outside, this would provide some nice locations to kind of lock in the boxes as they stack in certain configurations.
Are you sure your material will still be greater than 1" after planing and smoothing?
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Cut the dovetails with Leigh as deep as it will cut, then finish the cuts with a backsaw??
John
On 23 May 2005 10:11:28 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Can you get by with half blind dovetails? The look will be different but the joint will be plenty strong..
OR - box/finger joints? You can get spiral upcut or down cut bits that will cut 1 1'4".
charlie b
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You are mixing two different measurement terms. 5/4 is a lumberman's term used to denote the thickness of unsurfaced lumber. 5/4 stock after finishing both surfaces is typically 1inch thick. Isn't that what you need as the maximum for your D4 jig? Maybe you should get out your ruler and actually measure the thickness of your stock before deciding that you have a problem. If it's been surfaced on both sides and it measures 1 1/4 inches thick, then it was likely 6/4 lumber in it's rough state. If it measures 1 inch after surfacing both sides, then it was likely 5/4 thick in it's rough dimension.
Ok, now tell us how thick your stock really is by measuring it. Don't use lumberman's terms, but actual dimensions.
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It's definitely 5/4. I measured it. I went with the thick stock because I'm copying a piece that I saw in a furniture store. You're right, I'm sure it's overkill from a structural standpoint but I like the way it looks.
So what exactly would I need to cut these by hand? From what I have gathered, I need a dovetail saw, some sort of guide and a nice set of chisels. I have none of the above. Recommendations?
Thanks for the help,
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newman wrote: snip

The first thing you're going to need is practice and a cheap hardwood, NOT pine, to practice on. 1X4 Poplar should do the trick. Since you don't have handtools apparently, you probably don't have an appropriate bench with a decent vise to hold the wood. Perhaps the place to start is: What handtools DO you have. The second question is how much money and time are you interested in spending on learning to use neander methods of doing things. The third question is: what are the antique stores like in your area, and 4th, WHERE are you?
To answer your question, You'll need a marking guage, a dovetail saw preferebly, a tenon saw otherwise, a marking knife (pencils really won't do) and a straightedge, a vise attached to something SOLID, a set of chisels (Sears, Marples or better) - NOT Buck or Benchtop, possibly a coping saw = matter of taste. And a sharpening system of some sort. You may have some of these already. You may want to check Jeff Gorman's site: http://www.amgron.clara.net/dovetails/dovetailindex.htm and Charlie B's as well: http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/DovetailDrawer0.html and http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/DovetailDrawer17.html
That should give you an idea of what's going on with doing it by hand as well as with neandering.
Dave in Fairfax
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

was
plane
FWIW, I did this project for the first time a long long time ago using 3/4 lumber (phillippian mahogany and piranha pine) and standard 1/2" drawer dovetails. This combination has help without exception for 30 years of rough usage. This boxes 1'x 1' and 1'x 3' have supported my weight on numerous occasions, and I can assure you I dynamic weight puts more stress on the unit than any number of stationary books, even if stacked to the ceiling. For these reasons, my most recent effort used 1/2 piranha pine. These 1/2 inchers have support books five feet high for almost a decade. All in all, I would think use 5/4 lumber is overspecing, expecially if it is hardwood.
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Cut 'em by hand. I'm not familiar with the Leigh D4 as I don't own one. I do know I get great satisfaction and great results by cutting them by hand. Cheers, cc

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phadras wrote

James \"Cubby\" Culbertson wrote:

Gotta agree with Cubby. I was given a DT/FJ jig for my router, and I haven't used it yet. Routers are too noisy and the jig seems like a real pain to set up. A DT saw and a marking gauge are fast and don't care how thick the wood is. A #71 and some planes take care of the rest of the things that I'd use a router for. Mine haven't been touched in years.
Dave in Fairfax
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Glad to see I'm not the only one stuck in the dark ages! I actually find a hand cut dovetail looks better than the machine cut ones. Where did all the Neander's go anyway!

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We didn't go any place. We just have not developed the skills yet. I admire the guys that can cut them, I'll never be one of them. The brain knows how, but the hands just don't follow.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Unless you practice, practice, practice, that is... :)
It'll come if you do that. I was taught in HS shop by the "trick" that everyday we came to class we had cut one before doing anything else. The neat thing is all other usages of similar skills come along at the same time.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

I'd like to add that "warming up" a less frequently used hand skill on some poplar or basswood is a technique that not many take advantage of. Musicians, athletes, public speakers... they all do it, why not woodworkers? <G>
I put warming up right up there with making step-by-step test boards for a finish.
Barry
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James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

I'm not a Neander, but I do use hand tools, and I hand cut dovetails when I think I should.
It all depends on the piece!
Barry
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James \"Cubby\" Culbertson wrote:

Still around, just hard to hear them over the screaming routahs.
Dave in Fairfax
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And if you're going to cut them by hand this may be helpful Though it describes how to make a dovetailed drawer the dovetail parts are applicable. http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/DovetailDrawer0.html
If you're going to do them by hand be aware that some of the "dovetail" saws have a limited depth of cut. In my case, while doing the joinery for the apron of my "real" workbench, I had to get a tenon saw since the parts were close to 3 inches thick
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/BenchFinishing/CBbench23.html
You can also cut them on a bandsaw. The tailes are fairly easy -the pins require a means of tilting the stock.
Try hand cutting - it's fun. MAKE SURE YOUR MARK THE WASTE SIDE! http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/OOPS/OOPS1.html
enjoy!
charlie b
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I had luck with a real low-tech means of tiling the stock when doing my bench: milled a 1/2 inch scrap of stock and carpet taped it so that the inside edge was 4" from the other edge of my workpiece, so what was resting on my BS table was one edge of the wokpiece, with this scrap raising the other edge of the workpiece. Result: a 1:8 slope. Then move the scrap to 4 inches from the other edge to get the other side of the pin. Much simpler than the jigs I have seen for dovetailing, and with very thick and not very wide stock, I was not worried about lack of support under the cut.

But that is not sufficient. The next step is to cut out the part you marked. DAMHIKT!! I saved my piece with X's clearly marked on the "pushtails" I left. I plan to mount it over my bench as a reminder that a supposedly foolproof method is no match for a superior caliber of fool! ;-)
P.S. I enjoy your web site. Nice job. Well written and designed.
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Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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I am not familiar with using the Leigh jig, but would it be possible to rabbet the pin board to 1" at the pins and cut the tailboard to match?
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Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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