That’s why I’m not called a fastener, or a stapler. Or a nail gun ninja for that matter. My ultimate goal revolves around fast accurate work with sharp edges, be they powered or pushed by hand.
So I set to work making some sliding dovetail rod tenons to join a cabinet skirt to its carcass bottom. The clamp gives the scale, these are pretty small. The dovetail is 1:6 and the tenon 3/8″ thick. They’re small enough that it’s not worth getting a saw out to cut the tenon shoulders. Its fun chisel work, to form dovetails. Give it a try!
I made the rod tenons out of White Oak, a denser wood than the White Ash the skirt is made from. Using a sliding dovetail rod tenon allows for the dovetail to be installed and plugged, and then the rails to be set on to the tenons and pegged. However, I want the room in the mortise for the expansion and contration of the panel work, so I’ll not be plugging the mortise.
I started the mortise and sliding dovetail by drilling as much of the waste as possible.
And then chisel work to pare the end grain to the line, followed by a router plane to clean to depth, where I gave myself five thousandths clearance over the 3/8″ height of the dovetail. The walls of the dovetails I chopped with an undercut as close as I dared by eye.
And then to be followed by a paring block with the correct 1:6 ratio. This is the first time I’ve used a paring block to form the dovetail cheeks and I loved it. Both faster and more accurate, two of the dovetail keys fit well with no further paring.
Basically, everything has to fit perfectly if I expect all of them to slide properly when the skirt is assembled. Layout using story sticks to transfer marks between parts was critical, no measuring from a scale, and using a marking knife. All of the rod tenons were previously fitted to their mortises in the skirt, and thus were unique and needed to be individually numbered to keep everything organized.
After fitting the sliding dovetails I went ahead and drilled, mortised, and pegged the joint, again with Oak.
And then glued the skirt boards together, checking repeatedly for squareness. This is how I left it for the night. I’ll get back into the shop today and have a moment of truth checking the fit, I’m excited! Did I mention the sole purpose of the skirt board is to hide the caster wheels on the bottom of the cabinet carcass? Its an extra day of work to make the attachment this way, but I’ve learned a tremendous amount about this connection which I hope to use on pieces in the future.
I hope everyone is staying warm by the fire, getting ready to celebrate some holiday cheer. Can you believe the new year is so close at hand? As a blogger I have an easily searchable index of what I’ve accomplished over the past year, and even so it feels like the past year has just swept by. I think of what I want to accomplish in the next year and there are so many things that are unknown, but that is part of the joy in life. So I wish you, dear reader, many exciting possibilities in the time to come as well.