Dovetailed Dustpan

Forget plastic or metal pans – a wooden one looks nicer and works better.

by Christopher Schwarz
pages 38-41

Some time during the last 25 years of prowling around workshops, museums and antique stores, I spotted a wooden dustpan. The encounter made me slap my forehead – why do I have a plastic pan when I could build a wooden one from scraps?

After studying commercial dustpans and making a prototype, I settled on this design. It’s lightweight, easy to build, stands upright on its own and the pan pivots snappily on an axle that runs between the two sides.

It’s also a great way for a beginning dovetailer to practice the joint. Whether your joints are perfect or perforated, they will end up in the dustbin.

How it’s Built
The two sides are joined to the back piece with through-dovetails. An axle passes between the two sides. The dustpan’s handle is tenoned and wedged into the axle.

The assembled sides and back are then clad with 1⁄8″-thick hardboard. The bottom of the pan is beveled on its front edge so you can pick up fine dust. A half-dowel on the underside of the pan ensures the front edge of the pan will contact the floor.

Sides & Axle
After you cut your stock to size, lay out and cut the cove and bevel shape on the sides of the pan, using the construction drawings as a guide. Drill the 1″-diameter hole through both sides that will accept the axle. It’s best to bore the 1″ hole through both pieces simultaneously to ensure they align.
The axle is a scrap that I cut to an octagon (I like facets). Then I turned 1″-diameter x 5⁄8″-long tenons on both ends. These tenons will rotate in the holes in the side pieces.

Blog:Coming Clean About Being Clean,” by Christopher Schwarz.
Blog: A Shaker song for sweeping.
Model: Download the SketchUp model for the dustpan from the Popular Woodworking 3D Warehouse.
In Our Store:The Practical Workshop,” by Christopher Schwarz and the editors of Popular Woodworking.
To Buy:Good Clean Fun,” by Nick Offerman.

From the June 2017 issue, #232