This week I’m cutting a bunch of half-blind dovetails in oak – oak on the pin board and oak on the tail board.
This is somewhat trickier than dovetailing softer woods, or when dovetailing a soft wood, which compresses, into a hard wood, which does not. Add to that the fact that oak really likes to rive, and you have to be on high alert when chopping out your waste.
The most difficult part for me is chopping out the waste in the half-blind tail sockets. There are times when I have to chop straight down into the socket to remove waste in the corners. If I chop too vigorously, I can (and have) split the pin board.
Moxon to the rescue.
One of the nice features of any twin-screw or double-screw vise is that you have a huge clamping surface to play with. So when I need to chop out my sockets, I secure the pin board so the end of the pin board is flush to the top of the vise’s jaws, as shown in the photo above.
Knock wood, but I have never split a pin board when chopping in this manner.
There is one inconvenience: The sockets fill with waste. So I have to unclamp the pin board at the end, raise it up in the vise, reclamp it and then do my final clean-up in the corners.
This slows me down a bit, but not as much as having to reglue a pinboard that I have cleaved in twain.
— Christopher Schwarz
The plans for the Moxon vise are featured in the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, which is available in ShopWoodworking.