30 (or 13) Days of Dovetails

Before I started in on the Dutch Tool Chest build, I tried out the thirty days of dovetails challenge.  I got to 13 before I gave up.  The last six of those were on the DTC and lower chest, so they’re not really in the spirit of the challenge.  But I managed to go from my very first dovetail to “acceptable” quickly.  Here’s a picture of my first (ever) dovetail and the one from six days later.


The first one, on the left, is only holding together because I glued it.  The seventh one is what made me move on to building the DTC.  All told it took about 3 hours of practice to get to a point where I felt like I could build something.  So I did.

Here are the bottom dovetails on my DTC and two corners on the bottom chest.  The DTC bottom are definitely “carpenters dovetails” since the pins and tails are pretty much the same width.  Not that attractive, but I painted them so they’re hard to see.

No part of this was hard.  Some of it was annoying, like learning to not slam my chisel through the base of a tail or a pin as I was clearing out the waste and having to endlessly plane the end grain so that it was square.  The most important thing I learned during the dovetail challenge is that the baseline is everything.  Take care to cut a clean, flat baseline and the joint will look fantastic.  Cutting the pins and tails so that they close up cleanly is not actually that hard.  Getting the baseline to be consistent and tight is what I still struggle with.