Toolbox Build is Underway!

Let's get dovetailing!

Our Monday woodworking club saw the start of the tool box project, which is really exciting, considering a few members have only just cut their first set of dovetails!

On a good sized dovetail project, there are a few really good tips I want to share to make sure that everyone building this toolbox gets off to a good start. I’m not going into the detailed process of exactly how to cut dovetails and matched pins but I will draw attention to some common sources of error in the marking up stage.

(1) Mark up the face/edges in the usual fashion and for the duration of the box joinery, make sure your square is referenced on the face edge when you transfer shoulder lines. I guarantee that a mistake in the transfer of shoulder lines is the most common source of error.

Use any marking system you like - so long as it works!

(2) Set your pieces out and mark each set of joints clearly. It’s a good idea to mark edges as well as faces of the joints. It is not just for the time saved in quick and easy identification, but this also helps prevent picking up the wrong piece or holding it the wrong way round, as I’m sure we’ve all done in our time as a result of absent minded enthusiasm!

Mark the edges too - It really helps!

(3) Start with the box sides, as these are going to have the dove’s tails top and bottom, to take the weight of the tools without separating. Mark the thickness of the top and bottom pieces onto the edges of both sides, held in the vice. These knife define the shoulder lines to be transferred across the wide faces.

Make light knife cuts to start with.

(4) Pick up the knife lines on the edge of each side piece and transfer them onto both wide faces. Make sure you reference the stock of the square from the same edge (hopefully marked up as a face/edge!) A good idea is to hold the board in the vice as shown with a batten as a support. This allows you to work at a comfortable height and apply sufficient sideways pressure to the square for it not to move.

Don't over tighten the vice, you'll cup the board!

(5) Mark the dovetails out in the usual fashion. I’d recommend that you mark up both side pieces at the same time, and then saw them as a clamped up pair. It’s just quicker and more efficient than doing them one at a time.

Mark out and work on both side pieces to save time.

(6) I always cut tails first and then use them as a template to mark the pins, but it makes no odds which way round you prefer to do this. Here’s Jonathans’ first joint coming together – Good work!

I like to cut tails first so that's what I teach.

Comments are working now so please chip in if you are following this tool box build.

A gentle tap seats the joint nicely.

Back soon with some glued up boxes, and then we’ll be straight on to the frame and panel work – and I’m looking forwards to that!

Our Monday woodworking club saw the start of the tool box project, which is really exciting, considering a few members have only just cut their first set of dovetails! On a good sized dovetail project, there are a few really good tips I want to share to make sure that everyone building this toolbox gets… Read more »

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