Building a Dovetail plane Part I

One of the things I want to learn is how to make sliding dovetail joints.  They require two hand planes: 1) cuts the male portion of the dovetail while the 2) cuts the female portion of the dovetail.  In a japanese sliding dovetail the dovetail in the wood is tapering ever so slightly near the end of the dovetail.  This allows you to tap in the piece of wood and is gets farther into the groove the sides get closer so it locks the wood into place.  Ingenious.  However, it is a very tricky joint to make if you are not using power tools.  (which I am not).

So the first step is to make a dovetail plane that cuts the male end of the joint.  I have chosen a piece of african mahogany (Sapele) for the body.

So I place my wood in the vise and begin to rip it down the middle.  I was moderately successful, but it definitely wasn’t straight.

So now I have to plane it down to level and Sapele has a very fine sawdust that can be dangerous to your lungs if you inhale too much of it.  Definitely where a mask when planing or sanding this stuff.  Oh and did ZI mention it is tough as nails.

Ok better, but still a ways to go.  Before I continue I need to figure out to how to plane the wood on top of the bench top and not in the vise.  Stay tuned.



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