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Thread: Half Pins / Half Tails

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    North Alabama
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    Half Pins / Half Tails

    Happy New Year, Neanderthals,

    Off and on since last spring I've been self-teaching the cutting of dovetails by hand. I make a box of some kind each time so that even if my work is ugly, I'll have something utilitarian as a result.

    Yesterday after laying out and sawing between the tails of the first corner of a small chest, I realized I had laid them out with half tails at the ends. That isn't unheard of, I discovered after doing a little searching for examples, but the overwhelming convention is for half pins to be at the ends.

    So, those of you who are more knowledgeable than I, tell me the pros and cons that swing the preference toward laying out half pins on the ends.
    Chuck Taylor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    The old pueblo in el norte.
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    1,222
    I've seen pieces done both ways, from different time periods . I think it's style, just like tail angles.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
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    3,203
    I agree with Mike. Both work, just a matter of aesthetics.

    To more important things, good luck against Georgia. Although I root for Michigan, I had little hope they could compete with a team rated #1 most of the season. Alabama/Georgia will be a great game to watch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Missouri
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    My experience is it usually involves some other joinery such as mitered ends, rabbet on a cabinet back. It may leave a small weak pin in those cases.
    Jim

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Longview WA
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    As with through dovetails, some folks find marking the tail board from the pin board easier and some find marking the pin board from the tail board easier.

    One funny thing for me was when doing dovetail practice with 1X4 fir my joinery was laid out tails first. One time pins first was given a try. It was the best fitting joint of the day.

    My sawing tends to be a little off when cutting tails. They tend to need a little correction. So for me it works best to cut the tails first, clean them up so they are square to the face of the work and then mark & cut the pins.

    As always, YMMV!!!.png

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    North Alabama
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    Thanks for the replies, all. Also, over in Scott Winners' thread on dovetailing and glued up panels, Derek Cohen posted a reply including a photo of one of his projects. While Derek seemed to be referring to pins and tails opposite the way I understand them, his photo showed a joint that's laid out similar to mine...and if that's okay with Derek, then it must be okay.

    Thanks, Phil. Michigan had a terrific regular season. Best of luck for 2022.
    Chuck Taylor

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    8,399
    Sorry Charles, when you saw this



    you actually have this .



    This is a mitred through dovetail



    What you appear to be referring to is cutting a through dovetail, but as if pins first (although it remains tails first) where most would do so tails first.

    Here is a video by John Bullar demonstrating this ..

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ8fSSKn0Ls

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 01-01-2022 at 9:05 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    North Alabama
    Posts
    541
    I do see your example more clearly now, Derek. Thank you.

    You're correct: I'm cutting through dovetails, and I'm doing them as John Bullar does in that video--only with less skill or speed.
    Chuck Taylor

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