I finally decided to take the plunge and try my first attempt at cutting dovetails. I sharpened my chisels, layed out my lines with an exacto knife and then proceeded to cut about the worst dovetails I bet anyone's ever cut in the history of mankind. In fact I bet a neanderthal with a copper axe probably did better by a couple orders of magnitude!! Now my own autopsy findings suggested a few possible causes.....1)soft cedar wood that broke out rather than chiseled out smoothly(picked cedar because it was for a box to stay outdoors) and 2) somehow I strayed off the line when I was cutting the shoulders for the pins/tails so my fit suffered. My correction would be to improve the lighting where I'm working and stop and check the backside line more frequently instead of just following the line on the facing side. If anyone else has any pearls of wisdom they've learned I'd welcome the chance to learn from you......Boyd
I used a nice Japanese saw for the vertical cuts but then tried to chisel out the waste since that's how the guy did it in a demonstration I watched at the ww'ing show when it was in town. When I started to get frustrated I used the bandsaw to get out most of the waste and then tried to finish it with the chisel. Boyd
'Bout the only "pearls of wisdom" that I can offer up is to use a marking knife instead of an X-Acto knife. The stiffer blade on a marking knife goes a long way in accurate lay out. I'll also suggest that you insure that your paring chisels are razor sharp and make smaller paring cuts; even on a softwood like "Cedar" shavings should result from those cuts regardless if they're made on the end grain or long grain...and of course, practice...FWIW.