Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Dovetail Course next week.

I'm teaching a 3 day dovetailing course at West Dean College next week and I've been preparing the stock  ( the course is for the new intake of diploma students on the year long course) .
The box components (minus the lid) are shown above, planed and dimensioned with a groove cut for the base.

Here are all the sets ready to be taped up and packed away.

The first project we will make is a dovetail alignment board, a very useful aid. These all needed preparing as well, the coloured tapes mean nothing more than I'm running desperately short of masking tape!
With all the preparation needed, I certainly don't do these courses for the money!

Here is my set up for routing the grooves for the box base. The walnut pin boards can be routed straight though as the groove falls in the waste, however the maple tail boards need stopped cuts. I have a false fence attached to my Veritas router table and I open this up with the T slots to provide the stops at both ends.
The router you can see peeping out is a large Triton which although being reasonably priced has proved to be very good.

Here are the finished grooves using a 4mm cutter to a depth of 3.5mm.

This is the base having the tongue cut using a Becksvoort designed rebate bit with a 22 1/2 degree angle which gives a much nicer finish than a square edge. This has seen a lot of use over the last 10 years or so,46168,46178
It would be easier to simply plane a 4mm base for my boxes but this 10mm stock (Indian rosewood) helps add some weight to balance the pivoting lid. Note the sprung arm which keeps the stock flat on the table for an even width tongue without getting your hands too near the cutter.

A picture of what the students will be making, if everything goes to plan!

This is my latest version of the handle design which I really like. A section of the lid extends through the front of the box with a gently protruding curve and a tapering chamfer on the top edge. It takes time to get a nice tight fit but worth it.


  1. David,

    Great project for the class. How many people will you be teaching? I hope that, despite the prep work, the class is worth teaching for you.


    1. Hi Chris, There are nine in the class, I made a couple of spares just in case. I really enjoy teaching so it's worthwhile from that point of view, but it won't make me rich!
      All the best, David.

    2. Wish I was over there to take the class :(

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