Fitting the Dovetails


Thanks for stopping by today, a fine and snowy Thanksgiving in the rocky mountains of Colorado.

Over the past two days I’ve continued working on my closet cabinet, starting with cutting the pins on the bottom of the cabinet carcass.


Before the fitting for the dovetails I pared by hand to the line on the mitered edges. Although I managed to pull off this task with accuracy it certainly wouldn’t hurt to make up a 45 degree paring block that would act as a miter jack and guide the chisel.


Here is the first set of dovetails coming together, no problems yet.


The second set had to be put together with taps of a hammer. I’m wondering if I should lighten the fit a bit, because I know it may be too tight when the glue swells the joints slightly. I’m nervous about the assembly of these dovetails because both sets will have to go together at the same time to be clamped properly, I’ll be moving at light speed for glue up, which leaves too much opportunity to start hitting shit with a heavy hammer when the glue locks half way. Have you been there before?


Ugh…too much turkey. What is it with people going to more than one thanksgiving? Forgive me, I had to have a lie down by the fire. Thankfully I have a nice glass of whiskey to fortify my health after sitting before the cornucopia.

Anyway, if you’re not asleep yet from too much food I can continue telling the tale of this cabinet joinery. With the dovetails finished and satisfied with the fit I finished the stopped rabbit on the side panels that houses the cabinet back. I still have to finish the mortises, but that will happen after the tenons are scribed.


For the corresponding through rabbit on the bottom panel I pulled out my skew rabbit plane. This plane can cut cross grain rabbits, but I wish it had an actual knife to score the grain in front of the cutting edge as opposed to the wheel knife. Its a great plane though, good for batch cutting kumiko tenons. I just wish I knew about the Japanese version of this plane before buying the Veritas.


Stopped dado present much more of a challenge. The alignment of the guide rods on my electric plunge router is a joke, I won’t trust it to plunge cut without wobble, so its back to the hand tools. I ran into the problem of cutting square sided grooves with my router plane when making my fuigo. A factory fence for Veritas’ router plane is less than fifteen bucks, but it looks so insubstantial I decided to rig up a home made version.


In addition I used a stop at the end of the work to keep me blowing through the grain at the end of the dado.


Three small grooves 3/8″ for three small sliding doors.


And then finished the top with the grooves that house some of the internal carcass shelving. Its starting to look a bit more organized, maybe you can get an idea what the finished piece will look like. Unfortunately the joinery on the bottom is not finished yet either, it still needs the mortises cut on the bottom for the keyed sliding dovetail that hold the skirt boards on the bottom. The skirt boards are only there as a cosmetic addition to hide the caster wheels the unit will roll on.

IMAG1686For tonight no worries of ethics and sustainability, enjoy yourself and the people around you.

Well friends, to your health. Stay warm!

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With my best wishes,


6 thoughts on “Fitting the Dovetails”

  1. Enjoy the snow! My cousins already gloated they had enough snow for snowmen… We just got a quarter inch that promptly melted and froze into ice.

    I hope your turkey was good, my uncles was his best yet-he always does his in a homemade beautiful pizza oven, it’s awesome. My dad waits until Thanksgiving is over, then all the turkey is really cheap.

    Also, really good news-my dad’s doctor said there might be a cure for me and my little sister’s eye diseases. Some sort of virus that repairs the mutation! Gotta love science!

    I’m going have to try those mitered end dovetails, I loved them since I saw them on Ronin Daiku. Such an elegant solution!

    1. Turkey was great! I got stuffed eating Turkey at two different parties. Truly a day of indulgence.
      That’s great news that you may get a cure for your eye disease, I’m glad to be living in the present age.

      The miters are not only elegant but practical, allowing me to through rabbet the bottom board for the 1/4 t&g back, saved a little time. Have you also seen the birdsmouth notch used where the horizontal panels meet vertical panels? Allows for through chamfering all of the panel edges. I was very tempted to use it, but didn’t want to try too many new joinery elements in one piece.

      Too cold for my truck to start today and I forgot to plug in my block heater, looks like a computer day by the fire.

  2. 49 F this evening, no snow in sight, visitors and visiting today, just finished reading “The Eastern Question, Again” by Ted Danforth, a Vermonter I met at Hallie’s radiation treatments, which are over now. Not much progress on the forge plans; a space has been made for the old lathe I’m seeing as a yasuri tsukai mono (feather file making thing).

    Nice dovetails! Have you considered Hide glue? The set time can be extended with Urea. Cleanup is with hot water cloth, and it takes stain to some degree. Good Stuff.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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