Paul Sellers | Dovetail Technique – Part 2

Paul Sellers | Dovetail Technique – Part 2

December 15, 2019 71 By Luis Garrison


we’re going to lay out the pins now so
I’m going to bring this piece over here I want to make a bit of a platform drop
here just to give me something to support the work at that end that worked
great so I’ve got to align the shoulders on this side and I’m looking not really
at the overhang of these pins I’m looking on the inside corner and you
know sometimes that gets to be a low light situation like it is right now okay make sure you lined up make sure that
inside corner can barely see any light going down through that inside corner
right down in there so important you don’t know be too much overhanging here
because then when you put it together you got the shoulder in between the pins
is going to be too tight so a little tap with the hammer here and there will
micro adjust you don’t want any gaps and I’m going with a knife this time usually
if I was working on pine or a softwood I would go with a pencil I’m going right
into the corner and I’m going to focus on one side of the cut yet on each of
the tails here taking care not to use the knife to cut the dovetail and define
anything other than the exact wall that I want reaching in the corner keeping it
tight against the wall of the dovetail carefully that first one going I’m with two
cuts here I’m going with the first one is just to establish the knife wall the
second one I go more heavily with last one on this direction then more heavily
on the last make sure it doesn’t move if you move it half a millimeter it’s going
to be a half a millimeter gap or too tight one or the other last one nice crisp lines we have that
issue again now then remember this is the top and bottom of the cabinet so
this is going where up in the sky the underside is going underneath so I’m
going to go with this now you may have to reconsider this but I’m going all the
way across here and I that’s all I need I don’t need any more than that and this
is the inside corner so this is not going to be seen because it’s an inside
face those are my cut lines so now I just have to square these lines down
onto this face I want it visible so I’m going to go with a dark pan and I’m
going to use my I can’t really see well there sorry so let me see if I can do it
this way so you can see that works oh I’m doing this this is the
outside face here yeah that’s the only struggle with knife
lines in all was so clearly visible when you get past 65 that’s all right you
know these wall these pencil lines are a guide for a vertical cut so you you
could actually be two millimeters off your line and just cut parallel to it
which is what we all codgers do no it’s not true, is it and the last one just check yourself make sure you have a little feature here that looks like
it’s parallel to this line but it’s just a little crack in the wood so I’ve got
everything I need I have to turn around this time and cut from this side and I
drop my knife no, not my knife, my saw right on that cut line no margin forever
error right on the line I’ve got that established so now I’m going to drop down the pencil line here down to my depth of cut there and
now I’m just going to focus on here just let your arm rest your
upper body aligned with the saw kerf you don’t even have to go down to the line
I’ve got my body at this angle so I’m going with the next one deliberately in
drop my hand keep drop drop drop into follow your vertical line looks good I think I’ve got a high
demand audience if I make a mistake I’m going slightly off there so I’m coming
back up in the curve just to use the side of my teeth to correct the course
don’t go too far without correction like that it’s good for your children that
too don’t go too far without correction this is so dark on this side here I can
barely see anything I’m remembering this is the underside of my cupboard or the
top of my cupboard does it matter of course it does I’m a craftsman I’m
looking for this I want the level I’ll feel happy with when I’m done trying not to
forget which side of the line to cut on cutting always on the waste side a little bit of buildup of friction there bit
of oil in a can with a rag you got yourself lubrication you’re back on
track lot of my critics are telling me so here we go next one all my critics are
telling me that everything is vibrating see this is vibrating here this is too
far away from the vise but I’m going to work across and then move to that side thumb on the side of the saw go for it I think I’m going to move over the last
suitor Dube I’m too far extended from the vise you don’t overextend yourself
unless it’s necessary this one’s important you don’t want this
one well all of them are important but you don’t want this too far in because
this is so thin here that you can soon split this outside lip off. happy with
that and now we got some more chopping to chop the recesses out and this is the
same as we did with the dovetails so we can work completely from one side make
sure you chop the right bits out everybody so these are tails that are
going to come out what I’m going to do yeah I might just strengthen the walls that I cut with the knife wall there a
little bit those are so spot-on look at that yeah whoo look at that
again this just shows the accuracy of everything dead-on same again
I love accuracy don’t you there we are we’re going to do the same
again pick your chisel pick your weapons make sure you pick the right one to chop
out so here I’m going bevel down this time there I’m just using gravity to my
advantage see this don’t you love it me too. like
that flick flick all the way along you’ve got your knife wall established
deepened and everything so you can start a little bit away from your line one mil
two mil and now I’m going right in to that line we do that to each individ ual
pocket just tease out the bits so you’re going to have to angle over aren’t you
here because you got the dovetail rake on each side like that crisp walls you want all the time so
here start a little bit away and then right in so I’m a millimeter away first
one two mil and right in on the knife wall out on the outside reaches angling
it over move out a little bit oh I love being a craftsman i can’t imagine what it
must be like to cut a dovetail with a router that has got to be the most
boring thing a man ever did but sometimes it’s necessary I’m sure come
on Paul can you see how we’re using the natural property of the word the
physics that get involved when we’re chopping like this we’re working with
the bevel of the chisel working with the natural property of all wood or wood has
this grain that responds when you work with the grain you can’t defy it really
you have to work with the grain otherwise you may as well buy MDF nasty
word that isn’t it okay see if you start away from that
wall just that one mill when you do that last shot there like that one
it just doesn’t move the knife wall missed though yeah no I didn’t yeah I
did I miss that knife wall just a little bit so it’s going to show us a gap on
the inside of my cupboard right where the draw is going to be where nobody
will see it but it matters it does matter yeah there
we go come on nearly there this is the outside face Oh be more
careful a little bit you just flick those they will go down to the depth of
your knife wall I could go to a wider chisel I got a 5/8 chisel here I could
go to a 3/4 just that 1/8 makes a big difference distributes the pressure
differently also gives me a fresh clean chisel just off my knife wall maybe it doesn’t
matter but it does so I’m going to tighten up on my chisel here because I’m
close to breaking out and I don’t want to just go straight into the benchtop
do i no sir right in your knife wall so this is where its breakthrough time make sure you’re passing those fibers
crisply and cleanly nearly there these Marples chisels have gone up about
ten times what they were five years ago because people see me using them just
going up and up they are nice chisels here we go you sense things and you know
you’ve got to make a slight alteration like I just did then I think we are so
close to putting these two things together got to be careful on these outside
sections here where this is very thin it’s quarter of an inch you don’t have
much meat but so just take your time eat your way into it a little bit at a time
nice crisp cuts confident lines and here it is this is the one so tighten up with
your chisel fingertips now and there the bottom work from both sides just like
that there you have your pieces the tell-tale pieces of how you worked how
sharp your chisels width were are right in these pieces see the shine on here
perfect pristine surfaces can you see that beautiful that’s what this is much
a symbol of how you are with your work as almost anything so here I’ve got a
smaller chisel choked up just to ease in to make sure I’m crisping up on those
internal corners you’ve been so patient I hope you’re watching this all the way
through because now the reward is what’s these inside faces if you do slip pass
like I just did I’m going to move over a little bit because too much leverage on
that side too much extension from the vise just chisel into these surfaces
just in case you’ve got a slight rise in that midsection between the two outside
faces that will hold your dovetail off and then we’re going to try these joints
now there’s one thing if you remember that Paul always does right on the
inside here and now I have to remember which face did I have this is my outside
face so I want to go down a little bit in the vise here this goes on here and
this is actually this has gone in an eighth of an inch already here so what
I’m going to do though is back this off and just do already I mean remember that
little trick I told you that I use just inside here not on the outside corner
inside here ease this edge all the way down
not very much not touching the outside corner just easing into the corners
every time on these and then we’re going to put these joints together can you see
this this is so such a simple step and it makes such a difference
people wood workers all over the world are going to adopt that and it’s going
to be preserved in the lives of woodworkers indefinitely so now here’s
what we do now we chinch this tight I’m going to use the hard side of my hammer
here listen see that’s moving that one’s
tight that one’s tight that one’s tight that one’s tight these are too tight
here these just adjust a hair too tight in here so I’m going to back out and I’m
going to look inside this joint here I’m going to take my chisel and I’m going to
go right on the inside because it already went in to here and I’m just
easing down this wall because I think that they’re just slightly off whoo that
was a bit much that one but I don’t want to be too wide on these same on this
side because I can see the bruising that’s what you can’t particularly see
but I’m definitely not touching the outside face see there’s no bruising on
that one I got to worry this one I’ve got bruising just don’t take too much
off make them loose again just clean out the corners and I think this time I
could probably say yeah this was the one that was definitely too tight there and
that last one this one wasn’t really too tight here I don’t think try again a little
bit of help at that end I don’t know let’s try this you hear that that is so
tight there but the big question is is it the pin
that’s tight between the dovetail or the dovetail it’s tight between the two pins
I’m about I’m over halfway in so I don’t see any cracks occurring just tightness
that I’ve got is what I’ve got I’m going to just try a little bit more yeah that
went these are too tight I feel confident that I have assessed
that properly so getting this apart now is quite hard so I’m going to bring this
in here just see if I can use a little leverage right under here yeah that
worked did it yeah I think it did so I’m too tight. i’m gonna look again inside for bruising let me see if you
can see can you see how shiny these are I don’t think you can I can these are a
little bit shiny in here so I’m going to use those to guide me really some very
tricky thing this because you could be too wide on the overall width there’s a
lot of reasons for this but you just have to go in and just ease there’s a
little bit of bruising there for sure not bruising really just compress fibres I’m taking it off here even though these
actually went quite comfortably down but this could be the culprit because it
could be the overall width you can’t but just work with it work with it work with
it don’t use brute force just a
big hammer all right scientific approach right that’s that now I’m going to look inside
my other aspects on the side of the tales I think you don’t really
want to use wax in here because then your glue won’t work but wax would probably
you’ve got a lot of friction here when you come to glue up you’ve got to really
be careful and we have a trick for that that you may or may not have seen so now
I feel pretty good about my tails all looks pretty good now what you can do if
you generally have tight fit you can take a surface shaving off these faces
here and we may need to do that we’ll see in a minute because there’s such a nice fit we’re
still a little bit tight so instead of going as far as I did last time what I’m
going to do because they are such a good fit will this fit in my vise this way it
will I’m going to take a shaving off this face try here off here because
that’s going to shorten this I’m trying to be consistent here we’ll try that and
if that doesn’t work we’ll take a little bit more take a little bit more pretty close try and go evenly I’ve got no split in here I think my
overreach is too much for that side but that’s my joint I think has come
together just fine a little bit here if anything this one is a little bit
loose but that’s going to be fine so that is my dovetail joint together
quite happy with it yeah there this one is not quite yet
seated here it’s you’re standing proud a little bit