Monday, October 5, 2009

Dovetails Part Deux

It seams I have stumbled upon a secret of woodworking. Sharp tools are key to fine woodwork. I know I have heard that you need sharp tools from all the masters but somehow I discounted the advise. Well Last weekend I bought some tools from Home Depot to help me in my quest to learn dovetails. I picked up a set of Marpels wood chisels and a 15 tpi flush pull saw. Clearly not top of the line tools but I am on a rather tight budget these days. The saw came fairly sharp but I decided I should try and sharpen the chisels before I use them. I already had a honing guide and a 3000 grit diamond stone so I did a little internet research on sharping and gave it a go. I must say it was actually easier than I thought to put an acceptable edge on the tools.

Since my first dovetail attempt I read a bunch more on the technique and realized my biggest mistake was not leaving the lines when I sawed. This time I did a much better job. But I was kinda surprised on how much better my new chisels were able to pare away the wood. In fact I started to realize the job of making dovetails is not so much of a sawing task as it is accurate chisel work. I actually made this attempt way too tight as I was way too conservative on the saw cuts. But if you have to error that is that is the way because you can always pare out with your chisels. Anyway I think my tail board came out pretty darn good. My pin board needed some rework and I over did the bottoms a tad. But overall I am pretty happy and it looks like I will be able to make Caitie's blanket chest with handmade dovetails. Btw Caitie did the sanding on this sample after I gave her a quick basic sanding lesson. A quick rub of tung oil brought out the end grains to see the dovetails.

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