Hand Tools Archive

Half Blind question *PIC*

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
no not those kind of half blinds........

I am making a utilitarian desk for the kitchen (AKA killing time waiting for daughter to make up her mind about the details of a coffee table) . The top rail is dovetailed into the legs with the usual half blind. Not bothering my usual routering the waste approach, I sawed and chiseled traditionally. My usual way to wasting out a half blind leaves me paring the wall waste behind the saw kerfs with the piece vertical, an operation I find trivial in this orientation.

With the more conventional approach this waste is chopped with the leg flat on the bench, not vertical in the vice. I saw at once what had escaped me before, the need to deepen the saw cuts that define the socket, either by over sawing as I see in antiques or by some variant of what Derek has showed by "chiseling". The walls are not near so nice to pare looking down on the socket.

The fact that this coarse grained ash didn't split and pare reliably made matters worse. No wonder ash is absent in Sack's compilation of "good, better and best" American Period Furniture. on to the question....

As practiced in the Headly shop rails supporting drawers are installed with half blind half dovetails. Their many favorable attributes has led me to assemble anything with drawer supporting rails this way. The process is to saw the vertical side of the socket exactly where it needs to be, saw the slope a bit proud and with the aid of a 14 degree guide block pare the slope side to just accommodate the dovetail of the rail. Fine adjustments are made by planing the flat side of the half tail if needed.

It all goes quickly after a couple of practice rounds. The socket wall paring problem encountered in conventional half blinds is replicated here. But Derek's "chisel" technique of deepening the saw kerfs won't work here because the chiseling would be cross grain. Overextending the saw kerfs is less an option on the narrow leg, than on a wider and hidden drawer divider.

Anybody got ideas for making these "stopped" saw kerfs easily. I have been using a Japanese pull saw with the end cut off so the teeth go to the end. With short pull strokes I can get some depth at the stopped end but I still have to extend the saw kerfs to the bottom of the socket by chiseling.

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