The Saga Continues

The dovetail cutting marches on, this time with poplar and red oak.  Strap in, it’s about to get crazy.

Well, maybe not crazy.

I went to the orange store last night to grab a couple of different species of wood.  The orange box has a plethora from which to choose.  Pine, white (the “fish sandwich” of the group), poplar, and red oak; who can chose only one?  I grabbed a three foot piece of poplar and an off cut of red oak, just to try a hardwood.  I was getting a little tired of southern yellow pine.

Now for the pictures.


I believe this is my first time working with poplar.  I’m trying to get this whole dovetail joint down so I can build the Dutch Tool Chest and poplar looks to be the material I will use.  I did find some nice wide Eastern white pine but it’s up in the New England area.  From what I’ve read it is supposed to be great wood though the board foot price and shipping is blowing my DTC budget.  I have one more place to call and if that falls through poplar wins.

Onward.  I cut each piece in half and laid out three tails in the poplar.  I’m still a huge fan of using dividers to lay everything out.  This was my third and fourth time and already I’ve gotten fairly fast.

Things got off to a rough start as you can see below on the leftmost tail on the left side.  I should not have been too surprised as it was the first cut of the night in a wood that I’ve not previously used.  I guess I could have fixed it with my chisel but being able to look back and see the mistake is part of the learning process.  But I’m not lazy, that’s definitely not it.

Veritas dovetail saw and a Miller’s Falls coping saw.
I think my sawing is slowly getting better.  The third tail is probably the best and the second does not look too bad if you ignore the pencil line I missed on the left side.

After this I l cleaned it up with my chisels and marked the pins.  Sawed those out, chiseled, and went for a test fit.

The first view.

Hey, that’s actually looking okay.  Sort of.  Then I flipped the piece over.

What the @&*# happened here?

Sweet monkey loving, that looks like a meth addict’s mouth.  Apparently I passed out and kept on sawing, coping, and chiseling and then woke back up for the test fit.  I knew the left pin would be a little goofy but look at the right pin.  I could park my car there.

So I didn’t really stick to the line.  At least the base line looks good on this side, that’s something.  To remove the half pins on the tail board I did what I think is referred to a first class saw cut.  That seems to be working okay after a few times.

Next up was the oak.  I laid out two pins, sawed, and coped the waste.  Either the saw blade in my coping saw is about to go or the red oak is super strong.  Maybe both.


Sawing in hardwood is a much different experience.  I overshot the baseline twice and missed the pencil mark on the right side of the left tail.  I stopped there because my chisels needed to be sharpened to prepare for the much harder red oak.

Overall, I still think this is positive movement.  I feel like I’m getting a better feel for my Veritas dovetail saw and the Narex chisels.  One thing I have noticed is that my posture is a little off for some of the cuts.  My bench vise is close to our garage fridge and that is forcing my body more to the left of the clamp than it probably should.

The Moxon vise may happen sooner now as a result of the fridge not wanting to move.  I looked around to price the pieces myself and the kit from Tools for Working Wood looks to be cheaper.  Have to think about this and see what happens.

Until next time, have a good one.

Eat a peach,


6 thoughts on “The Saga Continues

  1. Hey, some of those photos look a bit familiar! What kind of blade are you using in your coping saw? They haven’t made me a fan of the coping saw yet, but the Pegas blades are a lot nicer to work with.

    The Moxon is A LOT easier to cut dovetails on, IMO. I’ve got enough room behind my face vise, but I’m still hunched over, and the work – being off to one side of the vise rather than the center – isn’t as secure so I’m worrying about that. Just cutting dovetails, it may be possible to temporarily do something Moxon-ish in the meantime with a couple holdfasts, enough clamps and a couple boards. Though once you get the hardware the vise is very simple to make.


    1. Funnily enough I’m using the blade that came with my coping saw. I’ve known about the TFWW blades I simply have not ordered them.

      A makeshift Moxon was something I was considering as well. Always something to buy.


    1. That’s about it. I’m trying to do at least a set a day. This joint is holding me up from getting a bunch of projects done. Only a few days in & I feel like I have learned a lot. You should do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Keep going! Seriously, this is the only way to improve at dovetailing, and it is great that you are already starting to notice improvements in your technique. I did a similar exercise last year, and it really does help. Keep up the good work 🙂


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