Messages Archive

Subject:
Re: Hastening dovetail making

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Bill, several years ago I posted a series of pictorials on the Hand Tool forum about removing waste from dovetail half blind sockets (drawer fronts only). I was building a matching pair of miltary chests, each of which had 6 drawers - so there were plenty for experientation.

Each method was timed to assess relative efficiency. The drawer fronts were Jarrah, which is a very hard wood, and also vulnerable to splitting.

The quickest method of waste removal came from using a combination of power and hand tools. I only hand saw dovetails, and often these involve very narrow "London" tails. The thought of using power tools for this job was scary, however I had been shown a method by a friend, Neil Erasmus, a professional high end furniture maker based in Perth. This was identical to the method you used. Neil preferred a small router and a 1/8" upcut spiral blade.

I was encouraged by his success, however I think like a hand tool user, and came up with an alternate method: Instead of routing into the end grain, I chose to rout into the cross grain (this example shows my tentative first effort - I could have routed closer to the ends) ...

This made it easy to split out the rest of the waste with a chisel ...

The corners of the socket had been deepened using the kerfing chisel, and clean up was quick ..

I do not use a router today - I may if I had that many drawers to do again - instead, I simply drill out the line, or close to the line, and split out the waste. It is efficient, less effort than chopping it all out. I am not racing the clock.

Regards from Perth

Derek

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.

WOODCENTRAL, P.O. BOX 493, SPRINGTOWN, PA 18081