They buy them, doesn't mean they use them! I don't think there are
actually that many cut in total, by any means.
People buy too many tools.
People buy the wrong tools, the tools they're _sold_, not the tools they
Dovetails are "scary". You can't cut them without an expensive jig
(sic). You can't cut them without a router, which of course implies a
Hand cut dovetails "take too long". They're also "too hard".
Alex, I hear ya. I am a firm believer that hand cut dovetails are the mark
of a true craftsman. However, I do have a jig that is used solely for
production work. After learning to cut them by hand, I consider it a sin
(almost as bad as staining cherry) to use the jig for a couple of drawers.
Hand cutting takes a little patience and small learning curve, but for a
couple of drawers I now can hand cut DT's maybe faster than the time it
takes me to set up a router and jig. Furthermore, if the hand cut dovetail
has some small imperfections (ones you have to look closely to see) I think
it gives the piece some "personality" as opposed to a dovetail that looks
like a drone working a machine made it. I take much more pride in my work
because my dovetails are hand cut. In fact, when I look at a piece of fine
furniture anymore, seeing machine cut dovetails kinda ruins things for me.
Just my $.02 --dave
I agree with you both.
My intent here was not to start a religious war. It was to better
understand why some folks spend so much money on something I think I
would find of marginal value. And this discussion has pointed out an
interest in productivity that I had mistakenly assumed was important
only to those working for remuneration rather than fun.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
Andy's post touched a nerve, but not in a bad way. LOML & I were
discussing tool use (and storage needs) this evening, and she, delicately I
thought, brought up a rather expensive tool purchase I (we) made several
years ago. It's a tool that I bought, with stars in my eyes, dreaming of
all the wonderful things I would build.
She said she wondered at the time, if it was a good choice, but was
supportive, because of my enthusiasm, and because of the creative
possibilities I saw. And I asked why she hadn't objected, because I, since
then, have regretted spending that amount of money on such a tool.
She said something of great insight: "I would not have limited your hope
for anything. We could and have afforded the money." And I have become a
much better, and better equipped, artisan. By no means perfect.
Marketers know quite well that we reach for the stars, in small steps.
She said something else, too. She said to give the Shopsmith to one of our
sons, but not to sell it, or give it away elsewhere.
It is, for now, a reminder of lessons I'm learning.
There is another reminder in my office: A Titleist 990 1-iron. A reminder
that you cannot buy a game, and that Lee Trevino was right.
Shopsmith ? Take up making post and rail chairs. Nothing like a
Shopsmith for doing the awkward boring, and it's enough of a lathe to
turn them too.
My biggest white elephant is the Incra fence on my router table. Can't
cut a dovetail on a wide board, too slow at dovetailing compared to a
finger jig for production work, and too floppy to replace my home-made
MDF box as a general fence.
On the equipment I've acquired over the last 5 years, I've had very few
And my wife has been very supportive. Every function of the Shopsmith,
except for the disk sander, has been replaced with reasonable to
professional quality equipment, as my skills and projects required.
Seldom has she had a complaint. And we've been fortunate enough to have
And for the driveby: I'd been grousing about the limitations of the
Shopsmith as a lathe, last winter. She asked what a 'good one' would
cost, and I threw a OneWay number in the air in frustration, saying that
we couldn't afford one of those. But a Jet 1442 became available at an
excellent price, and quietly found a place in a corner of the shop. The
quality of what I turn improved by an order of magnitude. She came in
the shop Saturday, and recognized the new machine. "What did you have
to pay for that?" She was quite relieved that I'd spent only $800
without discussing things with her, rather than $4000 plus.
There are more than a few bowls-to-be, waiting in the wood pile, but
today's project is a bathroom vanity & drawers. And tonight, I need to
design a closet system.
BTW, Swing, I really enjoyed your taking the time to post the progress
pics on your latest kitchen. Thanks!
This got me to thinking.. hypothetically, what if there were a machine
that would do dovetails such that there were slight variations in the
tail angle in addition to the variable spacing already possible, maybe
such that you could even set how much variation you wanted. Would
this give them a "soul", as it was put earlier? I know it wouldn't be
the same feeling having been the one making it, but how would anyone
looking at it when it was done know the difference?
I'm doing a blanket chest right now and I wanted to dovetail the
corners, and my skill level doing them really isn't up to it but I
went for it. Nowhere near perfect, but they're mine. I wonder 10
years down the road when I look at it whether I'll still be proud of
em or go "Gah, how'd I ever let *that* out of the shop"
it's the destination
it's the journey
never leave home
Stuff I make
The quiet sound
of a pull saw
at 2 AM
by a sharp
of a joint
as a finish
of the piece
I turn off
I made that?!
You mean like a bandsaw? Well-tuned, right blade, works fine, according to
folks with impeccable pro/artist credentials... Enough variation to suit
you, I would think.
The notion of 'soul' really relates to the connection between
artist/craftsperson and the work. How that connection occurs, and what
form it takes, is personal. A screaming router does tend to interfere with
the karma. ;-)
It doesn't mean I won't use the right tool for the job at hand. Or take it
as an excuse to buy something I think I want.
I don't quite understand the question. You seem to be asking why I
would buy a jig rather than use a saw I probably already have to cut
the dovetails by hand.
If I cut the dovetails by hand how do I justify buying the jig to
since your e-mail address doesn't look quite
kosher I guess I'll have to ask you here.
I'l like to include your "1/2" stock taped to
the end of a part to be dovetailed (pins
specifically) on a bandsaw" trick with
my dovetail web page stuff. Before I do
that I'd like your permission to do so
AND send you an illustration (gif file)
that I think illustrates the idea to confirm
that what I think you described and what
I got are the same thing.
Sam Maloof uses this idea when he's
horizontally boring dowel holes in
his chair seat parts. As is often the
case, there's usually a simple method
and a complicated method of solving
most problems. In general, simpler
Bandsaw tables are built to allow
tilting - but only in one directection.
Why don't the bandsaw manufactures
provide both plus and minus tilting
Anyway - thanks for the simple
my e-mail address is the real one.
Just curious--did you try it, per instructions in sig line? That
should work, but I haven't tested it. If you tried, it doesn't work.
Well, my attorney said that if I would pay $3,000 up front, he would
do a patent search on "1/2-inch stick and double sided tape" to see if
I could make my fortune off of this. But what the heck, I guess I will
release it to the public domain. <g>
Send what you've got, and I'll email you some photos.
Look at the geometry. Center of pivot is on the outside edge of the
wheel. There is room for the left side of the table to tilt up, since
their needs to be space between the upper wheel and the table. But you
want the table close to the bottom wheel, bottom guides, etc., so no
room for left side to tilt down.
That's part of the fun of woodworking for me.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
Come to think of it, the last time I did hand cut dove tails, I
cheated. I made two sleds for my table saw. They were angled at 7
degrees, one for the right side, and one for the left side of the pins.
Now all I need is a saw blade with the teeth angles at 7 degrees to cut
the tails. I actually saw one that someone had made in Fine
Larry Jaques wrote:
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