Welcome everyone! I thought now would be a good time to share some recent experiences and show off a current work in progress. I am currently taking a 10-session class with Ted Harlan (http://www.tedharlan.com/) about building a jewelry box with hand tools! For those in the Louisville area that are interested in learning about woodworking, I highly recommend it. You can look over his website and see the different classes he teaches and a gallery of student projects. The mahogany coffee table that I posted in the gallery was the end result of the beginner class I took last fall! I found the class to be a lot of fun and very engaging, and Ted is a fantastic instructor.
Wanting to follow up on the beginner class, I enrolled in the intermediate class he teaches, which is building a jewelry box with hand-cut dovetail joinery, making a mitered lid with a floating panel, and installing the hinges. At this point, we are now 3 weeks into the class. The first couple of classes were practicing with cutting & fitting dovetails…very much needed practice! The first joint I cut seemed to look ok, but the fit was not very good. After chopping those ends off, we did it again. I was confident about the layout, but the actual cutting portion was still very strange to me, and I had some weird mess-ups, but fortunately Ted realized I was struggling and chopped them again and then just laid out a bunch of tails to practice the motion with the dovetail saw, and things started to click!
To start with this build, we had the 4 pieces for each side, which we laid out side-by-side next to each other and drew and arrow across to help with maintaining the order, and marked the bottoms. From there, we started laying out the joinery, beginning with the tailboard.
Mahogany is a tricky beast. The lighting in this photo isn’t the best, but I love how the grain causes extreme visual variance from different angles. This makes proper lighting in the shop a must-have.
In this build, the side boards are slightly shorter than the front & back. This difference is struck on the sides of the front & back boards (which will be the pinboards). This different is why one end of the layout looks squared instead of the 1:8 angle across the rest of the board.
After the tailboards are laid out, we proceed to cut along the lines with the dovetail saw. The main thing to keep in mind here is that the cut across the endgrain needs to be as close to square as possible. Maintaining this will help to keep the inside of the tails square, allowing for proper fitting of the pins.
After initially cutting down, we take the dovetail saw to across the end to clear out the end. This will leave a rough finish with some waste that needs to be removed (first picture). Taking a chisel, we form a slight shoulder along our final layout line, which we then use to start paring away at that waste.