As I mentioned in my last post, I wasn’t entirely happy with the dovetails on the auger box. I haven’t had a great deal of experience of hand cutting dovetails, but still, it felt as if I was going backwards. The complimentary comments I received on that post are much appreciated and they went some way to cheering me up, but I decided to have a crack at some more dovetails to prove to myself that I could make a decent job of them.
When I first became interested in hand tool woodworking, I quickly came across the YouTube channel of Paul Sellers, and one of the first things I watched was his video series on building a sandpaper caddy – a small wooden tray, with a divider, for holding squares of sandpaper neatly on the bench top. I had thought at the time that it was a little too fussy for me to bother with, and I never envisaged that I would need one, but being a small project involving dovetails, it was exactly what I needed to set me back on track.
The method of dovetailing in the videos is different from that which I have used on my other projects. The laying out is the same, as are the rip cuts to establish the width of the tails and pins. The difference comes in the removal of the waste. Where I would usually cut out the waste with a coping saw and then clean things up with a chisel, this method uses only the chisel. The depth line is established with a knife wall and then deepened with a couple of blows with the chisel and mallet. More waste is removed, deepening the knife wall. This is done on both sides alternately, which means that the waste is always supported by the outer edge*. When the chisel breaks through and the waste is removed there is minimal cleaning up to be done. On the face of it this would seem to be much more time consuming than the coping saw method, but when I consider how much time I spent cleaning up after using the coping saw, I don’t think the time difference is as bad as it seems. Anyway, I got much better results this time, and I am a happy bunny again.
(*if my description doesn’t make sense, please watch the videos and all will become clear)
The caddy has a divider which is glued into a stopped dado on the back and a through dado on the front. The sides are chamfered, and the base is simply glued on. Three coats of shellac and a coat of wax and it’s time to fill it with sandpaper.