Handcut

I did manage a short excursion out to the shed today – with the intention to try handcutting a dovetail.

Yes, I did manage, no, it isn’t worth showing the result!  (I was rushed, so finessing the fit just wasn’t on the cards).  Irrespective, it looks no worse than many of the dovetails on current imported furniture, so now I just have to get the standard up (need lots of practice time).

As much as there are all sorts of sawblade guides etc on the market, I found the actual cuts and chiseling to be the easy part.  What was difficult (and had a massive impact on the quality of fit) was getting the markup / layout neat. If I had gotten that aspect sorted, the whole evolution would have gone a lot smoother.

An interesting exercise, and I will do quite a bit more to see if I can’t achieve a reasonable (and consistent) quality.

However, using a router with something like the Gifkins jig sure is a lot simpler, and neater (at least for a non-expert)

Cutting the Dovetails

Cutting the Dovetails

Using the quite beautiful Veritas Dovetail saw from Carbatec.  It feels really nice in hand – not your average saw, yet not an unreasonable price either.  If you are half tempted, see if the guys will open a box up for you (or rather don’t, because if you are tempted, you will then be sold!)

Chiselling out the waste

Chiselling out the waste

It was only a simple dovetail joint – 2 pins, just to test the concept. That’s the Walko workbench underneath it

The final "proof of concept"

The final "proof of concept"

No, it isn’t a pretty joint, or even particularly well done.  I knew the pins were oversized (better over than under to my mind), because you can always shave them down a fraction, however I’d run out of time and despite knowing the consequences of doing so, took the mallet to it to join them and got the inevitable splits form.  Oh well, I needed some more fuel for the potbelly!

Hand Tools

I was over at Ideal Tools on Sunday, being filmed for a Hand Tools DVD for use in Secondary Schools and Tafes. Not quite sure why I ended up in front of the camera – wrong place at the wrong time I suppose!  I came away with one thing definitely resolved – I am much more comfortable in front of the camera than I am with a hand tool.  Now there is a scary thought!

It was certainly interesting experiencing a full film crew, when normally it is me, myself and I doing all the roles.

There was a ‘director’ (not sure the real title), 2 cameramen (who also do the post production editing), a soundman (there was even a boom mic!) and one runnin’ around arranging lights, setting the clap board etc.

I didn’t have any problem with the filming side of things – guess Shed.TV has been preparing me a bit for the experience.  I sure don’t like talking about things I’m not very confident in though – felt like a bit of a tool.

So the experience has convinced me that it is time for (non electron-murdering) hand tools and me to become more familiar.

Those who have done it say it’s not that big a deal, so it is time I bit the bullet, found some time, and hand cut my first dovetail. It is obviously something I have been edging up on (secretly, in case I noticed).

I have a dovetail marking gauge from Australian Wood Review

AWR Dovetail Master

AWR Dovetail Master

A joinery knife from Chris Vesper

Vesper Tools Joinery Knife

Vesper Tools Joinery Knife

A set of Hamlet chisels from Carbatec

Hamlet Chisels

Hamlet Chisels

And as of tonight, the Veritas Dovetail Saw from Carbatec

Veritas Dovetail Saw

Veritas Dovetail Saw

I guess I am pretty much out of excuses!

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