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Dovetailing practice

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    Posted: 06 Sep 2012 at 7:03am
This is about dovetailing, but it could be adapted to cover almost any other aspect of hand skills.
After over a year without cutting dovetails I was seriously embarrassed to find how my technique had slipped - and needed to recover it quickly with commissions for dovetailed boxes piling up. I found I was Ok in most aspects of the task - the tails were cut square across, sawcuts stopped on the shoulder line, etc. - but a number of the sockets had perfectly parallel gaps down one or other side of the tails. That told me what the problem was - the saw technique itself was good, but I was misjudging the position of the cut in relation the scribed knife line. Time for some concentrated practice. I cut just one tail on the end of some scrap - no problem there - and repeatedly scribed that same tail so that I could focus almost exclusively on the splitting of the knife line. The first attempt was passable but a tad loose, but by the time I'd done a dozen more I was getting consistently snug results. If only I'd done this before I wasted time making a box that had to be thrown away!
That's the way to approach any flawed technique. I'd adopted the same approach I was taught when training as a musician: isolate the weak area and concentrate on repetitive practice of it. It works in most skill areas.
Check out my stuff at www.handcraftedboxes.co.uk
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote charlton8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2012 at 9:43am
Hi Michael,
Thanks for the tip will have to have ago at that and see if I can improve my somewhat sloppy dovetails.
Best Regards Ted


Edited by charlton8 - 06 Sep 2012 at 9:45am
We do not have failures just highly processed fire wood!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Handcrafter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2012 at 4:35pm
Hi, Ted,
Good luck with it. The way I eventually learnt dovetailing was by breaking it down into separate skills: starting the saw perfectly square to the face, tracking down the line, stopping on the line, etc. - doing each one repetitively until I was just always gettign it right, before trying to put them all together.
The one part of the job you can't easily do that with is the sockets because you need to assemble the joint to know whether it's good - that's why I used this approach to get my eye back in. I'm seriously thinking of getting a metal tail made up to avoid the compression from repeated assemblies, so that I can take an hour or so doing this on a regular basis. It's very satisfying when a gap-free joint comes together.
Good luck again with the practice
Check out my stuff at www.handcraftedboxes.co.uk
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Handcrafter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2012 at 4:52pm
Making a few of these is a good way of consolidating technique - nothing else to do but make dovetails joints.

Check out my stuff at www.handcraftedboxes.co.uk
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote charlton8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2012 at 8:29pm
Thanks Michael,
I suppose my biggest problem is that I am a hobby woodworker with no formal training except for school more than 50 years ago.  Not all the projects I do require dovetails so I just do not get the practice. Your plan seems good I will see if I can have ago prior to my next project requiring dovetails. The clocks look a good idea.
Best Regards Ted
 
 
PS I have just tryed to get on your webb site but all I get is a blank page?


Edited by charlton8 - 06 Sep 2012 at 8:32pm
We do not have failures just highly processed fire wood!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Sep 2012 at 10:12am
Originally posted by charlton8 charlton8 wrote:

I have just tryed to get on your webb site but all I get is a blank page?


Works for me - boxes by the dozen



LOTS OF BOXES




Edited by Alex H - 07 Sep 2012 at 10:16am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote charlton8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2012 at 9:23am
I got  another computer last week not new but new to me and it is a bit more uptodate and now I can see all them wonderfull boxes.
Regards Ted
We do not have failures just highly processed fire wood!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveTheWoodGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2018 at 9:20pm
I'm only recently getting back into it myself. I'm trying to make a habit of cutting one in some scrap every time I'm in the workshop. Practice makes perfect!
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