8iowa wrote:I would love to become proficient in hand cut dovetails. For projects where the dovetails show, such as a large box or chest, they are absolutely beautiful. Good equipment is necessary. You will not get good, or possibly any, results with a $12.99 back saw that came from Lowes or HD. A good dovetail saw will run about $100 and up. (better results will be with the "up") You will also need a good fret saw, and a set of good scarry sharp bench chisels. Marking tools and gauges round out the list. Oh. and don't forget a good work bench with a quality shoulder vice that won't rack and let your board slip. I'd also include some good reading and perhaps a Rob Crossman DVD. Cheap? Not really, but I would never discourage someone from going this route.
I have to disagree.
A dovetail saw that is up to the task can be bought for around $22 at Woodcraft. I suspect even a Lowes Backsaw would work. Yes sharp chisels can refine the cut but so can a sharp utility knife costing a couple bucks.
As for the bench and shoulder vice, I don't think so. I have seen both Roy Underhill and Dave Marks cut dove tails with little more than a hold down.
I have cut them using only a wood clamp. What I find essential is an exacto knife or high dollar scribing knife to accurately lay out the dovetails.
I have never used a fret saw on dovetails nor do I think I have ever seen one used for that purpose.
Incidently I have seen perfect fit dovetails cut on bandsaws with the waste then chiseled or cut out.
On this one I have to agree with what Kartoffelkopf said. And I will add one caveat. There are far superior joints that are easier and much faster to make than dovetails.
Box joint that had a dowel running the length of it doesn't even have to be glued. Frankly I tend to shy away from dove tails as I see them as little more than bling. That said I have cut my share with nothing more than cheap back saw, utility knife and work table.