How to Cut the Pins

In this lesson, I will show you how to accurately cut and fit the pins for the dovetails. You had some leeway when it came to cutting the tails as the main focus was getting the endgrain square. With this part, you have to focus on both matching the pitch of the dovetail and cutting perfectly plumb too.

This lessons objectives:

  • How to saw to a line
  • How to chisel to a baseline
  • The use of an undercut
  • Testing the fit to diagnose problems

In this lesson, I show you how to cut right up against the line to ensure minimal cleanup after the material has been removed. We will also be covering chiselling to the baseline and cleaning up the bottom of the socket. This video mainly focuses on the specific techniques within this part of the build, however in the next video I will show you how to troubleshoot and fix problems when assembling these joints.

A Swann-Morton SM-01 scalpel blade is an amazing tool for cleaning the corners of the dovetail joint as it is extremely sharp and rigid. I find it indispensable when removing the fluffy bits left over after sawing and chiselling. These blades can be purchased directly from Swann-Morton with a retractable handle.

Alternatively, you can buy the blades individually and fit them into one of my custom marking knife handles which are available from my store. These are available in over 15 different woods and 4 different ferrule materials meaning they can be customised to suit your taste.

Don't forget that you can also use a Katz-Moses Dovetail Guide to cut the pins of the dovetails in addition to the tails!

A Purpleheart Knife with Brass Ferrule

Supporting Material

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

My 5 Favourite Tools for Hand Cut Joinery

The scalpel that I use in this video is easily one of my favourite tools for hand cut joinery. If you want to see more talk more about it, watch this video.

How To Saw Correctly

If you want a reminder on the techniques needed when sawing to a line, this video will really help you.

How To Chisel Correctly

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!

What to do when the saw cut hasn't reached the baseline – 3:43

Video overview – 5:14

Which face to look at when sawing sockets – 7:44

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