A Quick Tip for Half-blind Dovetails

gaugesIt’s Sunday, and I’m at work to process lumber so that I can get started on a project that involves 44 half-blind dovetails for the October issue of the magazine. And it’s possible that on Saturday night I had one-too many adult libations (or I perhaps just didn’t sleep long enough…or both); I’m feeling a little foggy today.

Even on the best of days, I have to think before I start marking out half-blind dovetails. Through dovetails are (now) easy for me – but add a second marking gauge into the mix and I have to pay attention to what’s what. (On this project, there’s an additional need to remain wholly cognizant: On the front edge of the carcase, the tails are on the side board. at the back edge, though, the tails are on the backboard. Plus there are interior fittings that have to be made and installed before I can glue up the carcase.)

Now I love my Tite-Mark cutting gauge. I love it so much that I have three or four (I can never remember the exact number because I work out of two shops and carry tools back and forth). But today, I reached for one Tite-Mark and one 4″ gauge (that I’d forgotten I had – I’m fairly certain it’s a prototype of Jeff Hamilton’s excellent gauge, that I, er, inadvertently inherited from a former co-worker…who I hope is not reading this). With two wholly different gauges – the longer Tite-Mark set for the baseline of the pins, and the shorter one set for the baseline of the tails (see what I did there?) – I’m a little less likely to get confused. On that part, anyway.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. Do you want to learn how to cut “advanced” dovetails including compound, full-blinds and eye-catching “Bermuda” dovetails? Chuck Bender teaches you how on “Dovetail Mastery.”

5 thoughts on “A Quick Tip for Half-blind Dovetails

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      You won’t be sorry! As far as the scoring blade, I haven’t any experience with it; I’ve used only the standard marking blade. Bob, who also has and recommends the Tite-Mark, hasn’t used it either. So for regular marking use, we think the standard A2 blade suffices (note that it’s good to have a couple extra blades on hand though – the thin edge can break off easily should you knock it against a hard surface). If you’ll also be using it as a cutter, though (for veneer or thin leather, perhaps), we can see how that scoring blade would be a good add-on.

  1. jsilverman

    I love my Hamilton marking gauge…the small one in your photo looks a lot like mine, only smaller. So, you are a lucky woman to have “borrowed” that one! (keep it well hidden when your former co-worker visits your shop)

COMMENT