A Moment for Woodworking

When I first started to teach myself to cut dovetails, I read and watched videos.  The people who were experienced made the cuts, which removed the outside waste, right at the lines.  This was frustrating for me, because I never seemed to get a straight line across the base of the tails.  One side or the other would be at a greater depth.  Also, I would not make my cuts absolutely perpendicular to the edge and need to do a lot of clean up.

I spent considerable time, taking a bit off one side, then the other, and eventually giving up with an uneven depth.  When I realized that the time spent cleaning up the cut across the base of the tails, could be used to chisel up to the line, it changed my methodology.  Don’t get me wrong, it is much quicker to be able to make two quick cuts, remove the waste.  When I improve at making those cuts, I won’t need to do this step, but until then, I am able to get nice results.

Today I cut another set of tails on the sides of my tiny drawer.  Before I got started, I gave Irwin a quick sharpening, and went to it.  In the photo I am removing the waste from between the two tails, and after this image was taken, I flipped the piece over and finished from the other side.  This was suggest in the comments of a previous post.  It worked really well.

Not to digress, but I did something interesting in this photo.  The chisle looked rather boring in the first shot, so I used my tiny book light and shined it on the chisel.  It creates a really nice highlight and makes the image much better.  I am not sure which is improving more, my woodworking, or my photography.  Either way, my hobby skills are getting better.

After removing the bulk of the waste, I cleaned up each tail.  In the past I obsessed about getting right up to the line, but tonight, the one tail looked really good, though I wasn’t quite on top of the line.  Sometimes it is best to stop, when one has a good result.  I could have taken a slight bit more off, but that would have given me one more opportunity to make a blunder.  So I stopped and took a photo.

Each set of tails, pins, half blinds, I cut, impove my confidence.  Almost all of my practice has been in hard maple.  I have been told that other woods are easier and perhaps I would have obtained better results more quickly, had I used pine, but I am happy with my choice to use maple.  By practicing on a more challenging wood, I will be ready for anything.  Well anything but wenge.  I have heard it is even more challenging than hard maple.  I may try a wenge drawer next, or perhaps a wenge front and  maples sides?  I don’t know, I just know that I enjoyed my day off. 

I felt a bit of fatigue today and didn’t feel like doing woodworking, but once I got going, the adreline perked me right up.  Am I addicted to woodworking?  Maybe.  But I will just tell people that I use woodworking for medicinal purposes only.  Today it certainly cured what ailed me.  I am glad I took a moment for woodworking.  It was worth it.

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