Workshop Tip: Hollow-chisel mortiser cuts time and trouble on half-blind dovetails
Remove most of the waste at the back of each socket before turning to the chisel for cleanup.
For me the most difficult stage of half-blind dovetails is removing the wood between the pins, especially when working with tough hardwoods. After scribing the baseline and making the partial sawcuts that define the sides of the pins, I use my hollow-chisel mortiser to remove most of the waste at the back of each socket, leaving a clean shoulder at the baseline. Set the depth as needed, and select a chisel size (usually 1/2 in.) that will stay just inside the sawcuts.
With most of the waste gone and the baseline established, paring and chopping out the remaining wood is fast and easy, and I get a nice, tight fit every time.
—RICHARD GALIK, San Antonio, Texas
Illustrations by Dan Thornton
From Fine Woodworking issue #284