Now that I’ve decided on the Dutch Tool Chest, the pine is bought and the sides and bottom are crosscut to length, it’s time to start the joinery. This begins with the most difficult task, the dovetailed sides and bottom. The dovetails are laid out so that the tails will be on the sides and the pins on the bottom, this will lend some natural strength to the bottom of the case helping it to resist coming apart from the weight of the tools inside. This will only be my second set of hand cut dovetails so I’ll be following the instructions of Christopher Schwarz closely in the video on building the chest.
To expedite the process we’ll be gang-cutting the tails on the sides first. It begins with marking the baselines from gauging off the thickness of the bottom.
The next step, however, is a slight deviation from the usual process and involves cutting a shallow rabbet on the inside of the tail boards. The rabbet itself doesn’t add anything structurally to the joint but it will help with transferring the layout to the pin board. For this operation I get to take my new skew rabbet plane from Veritas on her maiden voyage. I dropped the nicker to help avoid tear-out, since the cut will be across the grain and set the depth stop to take a shallow cut.
Four tails are then stepped-off across the board using dividers and marked out using a 1:6 dovetail gauge. While this can also be done with a sliding bevel gauge I found the ability to mark both the face and end-grain with the marker very convenient. Additionally my current sliding bevel gauge has a terrible locking mechanism and can’t be relied upon (I’m working on an Australian remedy for this).
And this is where I hesitated, now that the tails were laid out the only thing left to do was make the cuts and remove the waste. After some goading I did just that.