Popular Woodworking 2003-10 № 136, страница 58

Popular Woodworking 2003-10 № 136, страница 58


Learn some of our editors' favorite ways to get seamless, rock-solid joints.




You've cut all your pieces and are putting everything together when you first notice it - a gap. A dark void where there should be none.

Don't panic - it happens to the best of us. For whatever reason, there are instances when your joints just don't fit perfectly and you have to decide what to do: Do you scrap all the time, energy, money and hard work you've put into the project and start over, or do you just let there be a little gap and move on?

Well, we're giving you a third option. We put our heads together and have come up with a list of the best tricks to help you tighten your joints. These tips should help you eliminate those unsightly, embarrassing gaps and point your joints in the right direction.

Compression Makes Dovetails Tight

Hand-cut dovetails are some of the most challenging joints to fit perfectly. Many woodworkers will spend hundreds of dollars on router jigs or woodworking classes to get an airtight fit.

If you decide to hand-cut your dovetails, there are a few ways to make sure you get it right.

Because wood is - on a cellular level - similar to a bunch of soda straws glued together, you can compress it a little bit. Usually,

compression is a bad thing, such as when you drop a hammer on your work and it dents. But a little bit of compression is good when dovetailing.

Here's how it works: Cut the first half of your joint as you usu

ally would - I usually cut the tails first. Then use that first half to knife in the second half of the joint - in this case, the pins.

Next, when you saw your pin lines, don't saw right up against the knife line you marked, as most books tell you. Instead, saw slightly wide. How wide? The whisker of a gnat would be a good place to start. Here's how I do it: After I knife in my joint lines, I run a pencil over each knife line. Then I start my saw cut to leave the entire pencil line.

Like all things pertaining to dovetails, this takes practice. Cut some sample joints to get a feel for it and use a magnifying glass to gauge your progress. |

Once you cut your pins, use a ^ knife to ease the inside edges of „ your tails, which will be inside £

Wood compresses, and you can use that to make your dovetails tighter. Cutting your pins just slightly wide will force them to compress the tails.


Popular Woodworking October 2003

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