Hand-cut dovetails that fit almost perfectly, right off the saw. Minor paring required on one half pin… One corner completed in 12 minutes.
If this is what everyone talks about, I understand now. In my previous session with hand-cut dovetails I used thinner stock; this is near the thickness I will be using in the Krenov-inspired cabinet, which I will continue at some point in the future. For now, practice to make the best hand-cut dovetailed drawers is a major objective.
Now, lest this last statement leads to some misunderstanding, I must explain: I have never intended to give up my Leigh D4 dovetail jig – it has never been in the cards. As our granddaughter #4 might say, “No way, José”. The D4 is the workhorse when making drawers, dovetailed boxes, and anything else that requires dovetail joinery.
With that clear, I also must explain that I consider small drawers a special item. This is because most dovetail jigs just cannot make the very small dovetails and skinny pins required for the drawers I will need for the Krenov cabinet (Edit to add: The Leigh D4 *can* make needle pins; but I still must learn how to hand-cut the tails properly, to fit the skinny pins). Thus, hand-cut becomes a must.
Back to Aha!
This is where I am. It took me 12 minutes to cut the following – about 2 minutes of paring one of the half-pins, with everything else as it came from the saw:
I left the tails and pins a little proud; then I used the 4-1/2 smoothing plane to bring them all level with the corresponding boards:
Someone suggested I would find it much easier to achieve good results using thinner boards. And they were right!
What is next?
Why, 3-minute, tails-first dovetails, of course. Rob Cosman, watch out!
I have practiced the hand-cut dovetails with quarter-sawn sycamore. Since I will be using cherry and maple for the actual drawers, I will switch at some point to practice some with these woods. The amount wasted is not much, as I remove the practice cuts on the table saw, thus saving an enormous amount of wood.
I believe the practice with the harder woods will be worthwhile, to give me a sense of where to make the cut, relative to the layout lines. This practice is a must, as cherry and maple won’t “give” as much as the sycamore when assembling the joints.
- Hand-cut dovetails – all four corners now cut
- Hand-cut dovetails – my first results
- Cut… stone the saw… cut…
- Practice should make perfect: Hand-cut dovetails
- New knife from The Czeck Edge