When dovetailing drawers or boxes it is necessary to square up the ends of all the stock and gauge them, as shown at . This illustration shows how to gauge the lines on a drawer side; the dovetailed joint in this case, however, does not run through the drawer front and leave the work unsightly, as the joint at would do. The method used is shown at , and it is commonly known as lap-dovetailing. Most workers cut the dovetail pins on the drawer fronts and the drawer backs first, after which they mark the drawer sides with the marking awl. The dovetailing of the drawer back is shown at . This is the type known as "through dovetailing," the method being similar in regard to tool operations as the single joint shown at .
Fig. 308.—Sawing the Dovetails.
Fig. 309.—Lap-dovetailing Drawer Front to Drawer Side.
Fig. 310.—Through Dovetailing.
Fig. 311.—Chipping Waste of Lap Dovetail.
When the pins on the drawer front have been sawn, the waste material is cut away, as at . First stab down with the vertical chisel, which must make the cut about 1⁄32 in. in front of the gauge line . This commencing of the cut slightly in front of the gauge line is a very important feature. The chisel may be likened to a wedge, and if the chisel edge be placed exactly upon the gauge line and force be applied to the handle, it will force the timber away equally on each side of the gauge line, and the finished depth of the hole will therefore be too deep for the thickness of the drawer side; in other words, it will press itself over the gauge line on both sides.
By taking the first vertical cut on the waste side of the gauge line, and then removing a small piece with the chisel held obliquely, as at , the wood is removed and less resistance is offered to the chisel when the next vertical cut is made. This overshooting the gauge line is a common fault with the beginner, who is puzzled at the result because he is certain he had his chisel exactly on the gauge line when he commenced his vertical cut. It is especially noticeable in soft-grained woods.
To cut away the waste of a lap-dovetail , the vertical and oblique cuts are repeated until the final trimming up is required, and now is the time to finish both the vertical and the horizontal cuts exactly on the gauge lines.
Some workers prefer to cut the drawer sides first, and if this method is preferred (and it has its advantages for cheap work) several drawer sides are cut at once by placing four or six behind one another in the vice and sawing them all at one operation.
The drawer front is placed in the vice, and the drawer side held upon it, whilst the saw blade is placed in the saw kerf and drawn smartly forward. This will give the required marks at the exact position desired. It must be remembered, however, to saw just inside these dovetail-pin lines, otherwise the finished joint will be too slack, owing to the removal of the sawdust, which is practically equal to the thickness of the saw blade.
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