Tuesday, April 10, 2012

[Schoolbox 2] Dovetails and Saws

Not a whole lot to say, but a fair bit was taken care of today. There are some pretty exciting things afoot in the background, and these are taking more of my time recently. They will all be explained shortly, I hope, and will be of great benefit both to myself and readers of this blog who are interested in hand tools and the types of things I write about!

As far as the schoolbox goes, today I was able to eke out a little shop time and I marked all of the boards for cutting the dovetails. With the 1st box, I did each joint seperately, from start to finish. In this case, I have marked out all 4 edges on the tailboards. The pinboards (the short sides) depend upon the tails being complete, so they have to wait. However, my thinking was that by doing all of the marking at once, then all of the cutting at once, and later, all of the chopping at once, that I would stay in some sort of zone a bit longer. This is a nod towards production thinking, and it is an edge I would like to flirt with. I never want speed or mass production ideals to interfere with my quality, but there are times (such as doing a similar operation 4 times) where ganging up the tasks does make sense.

I wanted to shake off any rust, so started with a little cutting exercise, just 5 each of the 4 variations of cuts involved with dovetails: saw plumb with left and right skews, and then saw tilted left and right while remaining plumb.

My focus was on 2 things: not crossing the pencil line, and on remaining level on each face of the board. I did ok; its ok when cutting the first half of a joint to be a bit away from the pencil line, so long as you are away on the waste side, but the baseline is sacred and this is an issue I would like to take care of. I was pleased with the results of the practice so I went ahead and cut tails on the real boards.

I marked out the real deal:

the cuts went well though I did not take photos. I cleared the waste with a coping saw, on all four edges of the tailboards. Chopping did not occur in this session, so there will be a lot of chisel work next time. In anticipation, I did sharpen all of the bench chisels (and the 3 bench planes, too).

I also thought it was worth mentioning, since I praised it last time, how precise the crosscut panel saw continues to be. In this case, I was trying to stay away from the pencil line, and even 1/8th of an inch is fine when I am trying to be conservative. Nonetheless, I was able to get right next to the line:

That leaves very little shooting to do! 2 or 3 strokes...  very nice results for a hand saw (not a backsaw!).  This was just done on a sawbench (I did not feel like stacking them again), and I have to say I am quite pleased. This kind of thing may be old hat for skilled old-timers, but I have been so impressed with my carcase saw that I have been shy about using hand saws for precision cuts. I love seeing how precise the handsaws can be - and thanks again to Matt from thesawblog.com for crafting this tool for me!

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