How to Cleanup Dovetail Joints

In this part of the project, we unearth all of the hard work we have put in so far and see what the dovetails actually look like. In addition to this being a very fulfilling part of the project, it's also an opportunity to hide any small gaps in the joints using a special technique. No. It's not dust and glue.

This lessons objectives:

  • How to avoid breakout
  • How to use breakout to your advantage
  • How to flatten the sides of the box
  • How to flatten the base of the box

We will cover topics such as endgrain breakout and how to avoid it. But also potentially use it to your advantage by breaking it out to fill small gaps in the dovetails. This is a much better way of hiding small imperfections as opposed to glue and dust as you get a perfect colour match in the gap, it's less messy, and quicker! We also cover how to flatten the bottom of the box with a plane so that it doesn't rock corner to corner.

By the end of this lesson, you will have a beautiful clean box, your dovetail joints will look spectacular, and you'll be ready to move onto the next stage.

Supporting Material

Click the images below to see supporting material helping you with this part of the project.

How To Sharpen a Plane Blade

You really do not want to be getting tearout at this stage of the project, so using a sharp blade at this stage is incredibly important! If you need a reminder on how to sharpen a plane blade, including producing a cambered edge, this lesson will help!

How To Setup a Plane

There's no point in having a sharp blade when your plane is setup to produce thick veneers! It's important to take off small amounts at this stage to both prevent tearout and be precise with our material removal. This lesson shows you how to do that.

How To Use a Plane

This is another one of those topics that people feel there isn't much to learn. However once you break down the process of chiselling into subjects such as viewing angles, power transfer and chisel geometry, you open up a whole new can of worms. This is well worth viewing.

Have you got the plans yet?

Package includes working drawings, a cutting list, and a 3d SketchUp model!

The Student Series

Want to see another beginner make this project before you? It's a great way to scope out any mistakes before you make one yourself!

How to remove tearout when planing – 3:25

How to flatten sides to remove tearout – 5:52

Overview – 9:28

Chopping Board Series – 11:47

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