Yeah, I think that's where the previous poster wanted this to go,
but I'm not going there. :-) I rarely use metric, but I simply found
that it comes in handy when laying out dovetails. Nothing more,
Just say (tmPL) I'm married to a Canookie, so maybe that
explains why I'm part-metric.
On 13 Apr 2004 05:17:43 -0700, email@example.com (Conan the Librarian)
nah, not interested in a flame war with Conan... just wanted to show
another side.... one ain't better than the other, and it's good to
have both available in the shop.
Conan- he's one of the GOOD guys....
There comes a point where stronger becomes a meaningless term. That point is
where the joint will do the job without failure under normal conditions/use.
That is to say that if you want to make large evenly spaced dovetails more
power to you but it doesn't mean that it will out live a similar item made
with small thin dovetails.
Another example would be X brand glue advertising that the joint it makes
will be stronger then the wood and Y brand claiming it is stronger then
brand X. If, in fact, brand X is stronger then the wood. Ho hum, so what if
brand Y is even stronger.
I'm not so sure I buy any "this way is stronger than that way"
arguments when it comes to dovetail joints. Except for
extreme examples, I'd be surprised if dovetails laid out
one way would be more beneficial from a strength standpoint
than dovetails laid out some other way.
I think it really does come down to aesthetics. Here it
really is interesting, I think. Today some value
handcut dovetails (thin or not) over machine cut dovetails,
though I expect only if it were somehow clear they were, indeed,
handcut not machine cut. One way to demonstrate this is to
handcut dovetails in such a way that no readily available
machine could duplicate the layout.
But imagine yourself travelling back in time three or four
hundred years with a dovetailing machine. I bet your
machine cut dovetails would be all the rage. After all,
any monarch could get stuff with excellent handcut dovetails.
But how many could get stuff with your machine cut dovetails?
In other words, it's not the handmade craftsmanship that is so
valuable, per se; it's the relative rarity/novelty which
is valued. Nowadays, handcut dovetails have a corner on
the rare/novelty market, which make them more "aesthetically
pleasing" to some (most? all?).
And where do those funky machine cut joints fit into the
picture? I'm thinking of the "bears ears" templates
and the like which are available for the Leigh jig, here.
Those are certainly more novel/rare than typical dovetails.
Are they more or less aesthetically pleasing? Certainly
some get excited by them, though I'm sure there are some
on this very newsgroup who don't think they're all that
The hand cut variety may not be as rare as you think. There certainly are a
lot of dovetail saws being sold. Just check out the LN booths at the wood
shows. I have a Leigh Jig that I seldom use, but I keep it because I never
know when I might want it. Learning to make good hand cut dovetails was a
quest for me, and I just prefer them. I vary the widths of the pins as the
mood dictates. If I'm doing a some Shaker Shelves, wide tails would be used.
Shadow boxes or drawers would call for finer tails. A Shaker candle box gets
something in between.
My current quest is hand cut through tenons.
I suspect you're right. The small amount of experimentation I've
done seems to indicate that a row of small through tenons makes a
tough-to-beat (for strength) drawer joint. (example at bottom of
Well yes; but "readily available" is undergoing rapid change. I
have a CNC router - which is a bit of a reach for hobby use by
most people; but I saw a 3-axis CNC router with a 48"x48" work
area (can handle larger workpieces, but spindle travel is only
48" for x- and y-axes and 6" for z-axis) for $2000 yesterday.
That price included a PC and monitor but not a spindle. Now two
grand isn't a cheap dovetail jig; but it can be used to cut any
kind of dovetails the high-end jigs discussed here can cut, as
well as more flavors of mortise and tenon than the high-end
tenoning jigs discussed here can cut. Suddenly the $2K figure
doesn't seem quite so high. As more and more people recognize
that, we'll see more and more CNC tools in wood shops - and the
price can be expected to drop...
Agreed. At one point the French royalty laid out aluminum
tableware - because at the time aluminum metal was more rare than
platinum or gold!
I think they're /interesting/; and built a dovetail jig onto my
3-axis machine (http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/cnc_joinery.html ) so I
could copy 'em. When it occurred to me that I could make even
more interesting joints, I kind of left the bears' ears on the
table. I've written a part program to cut a through tenon joint
whose pins have an X-shaped cross-section and have been doodling
with letter shaped pins. How about a bench drawer with tenons
that spell out C H I S E L S?
<g> Just noticed your sig. Linear algebra is coming soon to a
workshop near you! (-:
Concerning dovetails, after cutting a couple of hundred by hand seems to me
it is as quick to do them by hand as to do them with a machine considering
the set up time etc . I suppose only when a production dovetail operation is
ongoing does the machine really have an advantage .
In addition what is the advantage of a machine when doing non through
dovetails the rounded corners still have to be cleaned up by hand and I
would imagine secret dovetails would be well neigh impossible with a
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