Posts Tagged ‘blue spruce toolworks’


In:In the Shop

Comments Off on Dovetail Joinery: Part 5- Tail Transfer and Pin Creation

If you have been following along in parts one through four, you should have your tail board finished and your pin board dimensioned.  The next step is to transfer the tail locations to the pin board by using the tail board as a template.  This is why you don’t need to precisely follow the angle you laid out when sawing your tails, any slight deviation from the pencil line will be transferred to the pin board and copied exactly.  Missing your slope is purely cosmetic and the joint can still go together seamlessly.  To transfer the tails, align the pin board so it’s even with the side of a bench plane or block of wood as pictured below, then clamp it in the vise.  Slide the plane/wood back and use the tail board to bridge the gap.  Now the shallow rabbet that was created in part 1 becomes extremely useful.  Slide the tail board up to the pin board until the small shoulder from the rabbet hits the pin board.  You should immediately feel the rabbet’s shoulder align the board.  This accurately solves two of the three alignment problems you can encounter in this step: 1) skewing or rotating the tail board relative to the pin board and 2) sliding the tail board too far forward or not far enough.  All you need to do now is slide the tail board side to side until the edges are aligned.  A block of wood can help.

Clamp the pin board so its top edge is flush with a plane or block of wood. Slide the plane/wood back and use the tail board to bridge the gap.  The rabbet from Part 1 aligns the tail board.  Scrap wood or another flat object helps align the edges.

Now use your off hand to press in the middle of the tail board, locking it in place.  Use your dominant hand to hold a marking knife and scribe the tail locations into the pin board.  I’m using the thin kerf knife from Blue Spruce Toolworks as it can fit between any tails I cut.  For larger work I typically use a larger knife.  Press the knife firmly against the tail with the flat face touching the tail.  If the beveled face of the knife is against the tail the knife line will be offset and your pins will be far too thick.  Draw the knife along the tail with light pressure, but repeat this a few times until a clear line is visible.  Again, be sure to keep firm pressure on the side of the tail so the knife doesn’t stray.

Transferring the tails to the pin board.

Once the tails are transferred, mark the waste (the tails obviously, we want to keep the wood that will go between the tails which are called the pins) and using a marking gauge, scribe the baseline as was done in Part 1, but this time only mark the faces.  The edges will not be cut off so there is no need to carry the baseline all the way around the board.  Be sure to reset the gauge to the thickness of the tail board as it is typically not the same as the thickness of the pin board.  Having a dedicated gauge for each measurement is helpful when several joints need to be cut.

Measure the thickness of the tail board and scribe the baseline of the pin board.

Now clamp the board in the vise for sawing, being sure to align it vertically first.  If it’s clamped at a slight angle you will have a hard time hitting your vertical lines right off the saw.

Align the pin board vertically

Now use a square or dovetail guide to mark vertical lines, these will help guide your saw.  I like to draw them in the “good wood” portion of the board so they aren’t sawn off.  Then when the joint is cut I can see how parallel my cut was to the vertical line.  This will give me an indication of any clean up work I’ll need to do with a chisel.

Ready for sawing

Now to saw the pins.  The same sawing techniques apply that were discussed in part 3, but you aren’t sawing square across the board this time, you are trying to split the knife line.  This means with saw cutting on the waste side of the line, the edge of the kerf should land right on the center of the knife line.  The cut must then go straight down, parallel to the vertical lines that were just drawn.

Splitting the knife line. It’s a little hard to see, but the back of the board shows the saw kerf beginning to form, the front of the board is what remains from the knife line. Notice how the edge of the kerf runs through the center of the knife line.

A perfect cut. Splitting the knife line, vertical, and stopped just at the baseline.

With the sides cut, saw out the waste with a fret or coping saw, then chisel the baseline exactly as was discussed in part 4.  Be sure to check that the baseline is square and without humps that could prevent the tail board from seating fully when assembled.

Waste removed

For the next (and likely final) part of this series we’ll be fitting the pins to the tails, gluing the joint, and cleaning it up.  Until then, happy joinerying.



In:On the Road

Comments Off on Handworks 2013

I recently returned from the Handworks event in Amana, Iowa, held on 5/24 & 5/25.  It was an awesome trip featuring only hand tool vendors and only the best of the best.  The chance to meet so many talented tool makers and try out so many premium tools in one sitting was unparalleled.  Hopefully this becomes an annual event and maybe even moves around the country year to year to give more people a chance to attend.

The event was held in a large barn in the Amana colonies.

Benchcrafted leg vise

Moulding planes from Old Street Tools

Infill planes by Daed Toolworks

Various Lie-Nielsen tools

Veritas took the opportunity to get feedback on their shooting plane prototype. The body of this tool was rapid prototyped, not cast metal.

Jeff Miller was also there to talk a little shop

On Saturday, a brief presentation was put on by Don Williams and Chris Schwarz covering an upcoming H. O. Studley book.