The Sliding Dovetail and Tenon Joint

The day started with a tool I didn’t have-a wooden mallet. The plan was to draw out and cut the sliding dovetail and tenon on the legs for the workbench and while I had the mortising chisel I was lacking a wooden mallet. 1st lesson of the day-don’t try to buy one from a hardware store-they don’t have any. 2nd lesson of the day-why not just make what you can’t buy? So I made a nice 1 1/2 lb oak mallet with a hickory handle(the one thing the hardware store did have for $2.00). I used some scrap from the bench top that had been removed to cut to length. I cut it to size, maybe oversize at 4 1/2″x3″x3″, drilled out the mortise, sanded the edges and wedged in the handle….I think I know what I’m giving out for xmas presents now.

Once that was done, I measured and marked the dovetail and tenon which each ended up being 1 1/2″ thick with 1 1/4″ space between them and about a 1/4″ cheek and shoulder on the back side. I used a small Japanese dovetail saw (Ikedame) to kerf out the top line and then make the two angled cuts and then used initially a Kataba-Z cross-cut saw to finish the cut (which was wrong) and it actually broke so pretty proud of that move. Which forced me to use a Kataba-Z rip-cut saw which worked much better & and much faster. I am learning the hard way how to use which tools for which job. But I am learning. Once all the rip cuts were made, I clamped the leg to the table using my handy bench dog and proceeded to bash out the waste in between the two tenons. It worked grand. All that was left was making the crosscuts and voila! Done. At least for today. I still have three more legs to cut tomorrow and then it’s on to the through mortises which I suspect will be a bit more challenging. I’m looking forward to it.

Oh, and one last thing. I mixed up the epoxy with the Mars Black Iron Oxide and filled in all the cracks on the top of the bench. You can see the lovely mess I made in the slideshow below.

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