The Dove’s Long “Tale” | Lessons Learned About Sliding Dovetails

Finally Episode 2! As I mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been working on a puja table for a friend of mine. I have not filmed much of the process since I’ve already been working on it for a while and while he’s been very patient, I do want to get it to him as soon as possible. The legs are joined to the top of the table with sliding dovetails that are 12 1/2″ long and visible from both sides. I did find there was some interest when I posted a picture online of the first sliding dovetail, so I decided to capture some video of the second one. I did run into some technical difficulties with the filming, so as I explain in the video, I apologize for any quality and issues with the content being a bit disjointed. But I do hope that folks will still find some value to the content. I don’t claim to use the most orthodox method here, but it worked for me, and as I’ve seen with much woodworking content, there is more than one way to get a task done.

The Four Piece “Vise”

It’s been pretty quiet on the Wood Lab blog lately (sorry), but not so quiet in the shop itself. I’ve been working on a Puja (meditation) table for a friend of mine the last few months. Part of this project involves sliding dovetails for the side leg pieces to be joined into the table top. I have a clamping straightedge that I used as a guide to route out the dovetails on the underneath side of the table top, where I then realized after the fact, the clamping parts left some marks on the side of the table top. These marks were enough that I would have been forever trying to remove if I were to sand them…

A good note to insert at this point: I don’t have a good woodworking bench, nor a decent woodworking vise. This was one of those “shortcomings” that I was determined to not let thwart me.

The solution? The “Four Piece Vise” (That’s what I call it anyway): Two wood screw type clams, and two bar style clamps…

Basically clamp your work piece in the wood screw clamps, then clamp those to your bench top. Now that I had the table top secure, what to use to remove those marks since I don’t (yet) own a #4 or #4 1/2 smoother?

If you don’t have what you’d ideally like, try to use what you do have… in this case, my Lie-Nielsen block plane served well.

With a little wax on the sole, and skewing the blade just a bit to handle some interesting grain, I was able to clean up that edge without much trouble.