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Adjusting dovetail angles...

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  • Adjusting dovetail angles...

    I did a couple runs of dovetails on 2 12" wide boards but the angle of the tails on a few is a bit too shallow.
    How would you go about adjusting the angle of an already cut tail?   (i.e., making the tail wider)
    I should mention that the tails come to a point (saw kerf) and are *supposed* to be 7/8" deep and 1:8 slope, so there's not much room for tooling in there.
    I figure I either:
    - attempt to re-cut with a saw (but the saw will only be cutting on one side of the toothset, so not sure how well that will work...)
    - attempt to adjust with chisels (but I don't think I'll be able to chisel straight down due to the small space... )
    - sand paper strips (although I suspect this will round over the sides of the tails)
    - files (if I can find some small enough, at least)

    None of these seem like great alternatives, so I'm not sure which way to go.

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  • #2

    Re: Adjusting dovetail angles...

    If it was mine I wouldn't worry about the angle being a bit shallow and just learn for next time.   1:8, 1:6, 1:4 even, doesn't really matter with modern glues   Too steep on the other hand and they will be weak.   I avoid "designer" dovetails with super skinny pins, again, for strength reasons.   I want very roughly equal amounts of wood left on both sides of the joint.

    You could cut and glue little wedges back into each cut out so the saw would have support on both sides when cutting.    


    • #3

      Re: Adjusting dovetail angles...

      There's plenty of videos on Youtube showing that a standard box joint is plenty strong with modern glue to support what ever you need to do.   The dovetail is more of a showcase today than anything else...   Not saying that you shouldn't be doing it.   I am just saying that with today's glue it's not as important.

      Do what looks good to you in the end that's all that matters.  
      Dean likes this.


      • #4

        Re: Adjusting dovetail angles...

        BTW; I've only cut the tails (not the pins yet) so this isn't a structural concern, but rather a visual concern.
        Of the several tails in a row, some of them are noticeably more narrow, so was think of trying to widen them.


        • #5

          Re: Adjusting dovetail angles...

          The slightly uneven look will confirm that they are handmade, not cut with a jig,  but this is only apparent to those look, understand, and can appreciate.   I would not sweat the inconsistency,     Roy
          WoodBob and Kayak Jim like this.
          Are you solving the problem, or becoming part of it?