Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hand-Cut Dovetails - Mitered and Off-The-Saw

Ah, the last dovetail set of videos in this series!  wahoo!  Banners fly! People cheer! :)

When I started the series, I listed the 5 videos I intended to produce, but the idea of the mitered dovetails came to mind.  I did mitered dovetails in the boxes for a jewelry box series, but they were done using the Bridge City Toolworks Jointmaker Pro, so the method of doing them is a little buried in there.  I decided to simply add a (bonus!) video since I think mitered dovetails look really elegant.  The method presented takes very very little time over your regular basic dovetails; so little in fact that I'm now thinking all my basic dovetails will be mitered.  It really hit home while editing the video.

The second video here completes the 5-video "joinery series" presented on hand-cut dovetails. It shows how to do off-the-saw dovetails, which are just that: quick n dirty.  I show a couple tricks for helping them come out nice.  These are worth practicing with your dovetail saw and fretsaw as they are really useful for shop boxes and backs of drawers.

So here you go! First up, the bonus video on mitered dovetails:

And lastly, the video on off-the-saw dovetails:


Addendum: many people have asked me about the fretsaw I use. Enough, in fact, that it prompted me to make a review of the Knew Concepts fretsaw.


  • Brian said...

    i think my favorite part was the silence right after breaking the blade. i inserted the words i would usually say there.

  • rmac said...

    Okay, from the off-the-saw video it's clear that you're being a little more careful with the fret saw cuts, and I imagine that you're also trying to cut right at the base line instead of a little bit above it. Do you do also anything different when cutting the pins and tails? I'm guessing not???

    -- Russ

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Coolest thing is, Brian, my lips were off camera and I have an editing application :) 'nuff said!

    Hmm, I shouldda been more specific, Russ. The cut is right above the scribe line so the line disappears. That's the perfect cut. These came out surprisingly well so some luck was floating around in the shop, but that's the only change in the method. When you cut pins or tails first you still transfer the marks to the other board for the second cut. Those you still want just leaving the line so nothing different.

    I practiced these for awhile with scraps and always had the best luck with the way I showed: cut one side then the other. Someone with more skill could likely do it in one pass.

  • Carl Kessler said...

    Paul-Marcel, I've been watching your videos (not just this set) and I've really enjoyed them. You've inspired me to take a shot at some mitered dovetails and set me up to covet unaffordable tools from Bridge City too :-)



  • marc said...

    hey Paul you do an awsome job on these dovetail videos. just wondered what kind of fret saw you have and where ya got it also your western saw what kind is it. thanks.keep up the good work.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, Marc!

    That saw takes center stage on these videos, which is likely why it's been asked about so much. How much? Well enough that I rolled a video review of it tonight and am uploading it right now. It'll talk about the differences between a coping saw and fretsaw along with how this particular one is very nice. So look for that on the blog tomorrow.

    The Western saw is a Lee Valley 20 tpi dovetail saw. There's also a 14 tpi dovetail saw, but I found that cutting this thinner stock was much better with the finer teeth. Chris Wong, a friend of mine who trains for Lee Valley, confirmed that observation. It's a pretty inexpensive saw for the quality. If you get one, break it in by doing a bunch of cuts. It feels a little too agressive when you first get it; first 20-30 cuts tames that nicely.

  • Lou said...

    I enjoy all you videos, all very well done and to the point. I also appricate them as a photographer. Have you ever cosidered a video on the the type of photo equipment, lighting and software you use?


  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, Lou! Ha! I usually find these old ones difficult to watch because I only find things wrong with the presentation, video work, etc. The newer ones are much better (but still need work!)

    I don't have anything that tours what I have going on for cameras and equipment. You're not the first to ask, though. Previously people asked right when I changed a lot about my setup so it would have been awkward to say "here's all new stuff and nothing I have out there is representative of it". Now there are some videos so maybe I can put something together. But the question... which camera do I use to record the cameras I use? hmm...