School Header - How to Cut the Pins

How to Cut the Pins

In this lesson, I will show you how to accurately cut and fit the pins for the dovetails. You had some leeway when it came to cutting the tails as the main focus was getting the endgrain square. With this part, you have to focus on both matching the pitch of the dovetail and cutting perfectly plumb too.

Lesson Objectives

In this lesson, I show you how to cut right up against the line to ensure minimal cleanup after the material has been removed. We will also be covering chiselling to the baseline and cleaning up the bottom of the socket. This video mainly focuses on the specific techniques within this part of the build, however in the next video I will show you how to troubleshoot and fix problems when assembling these joints.

A Swann-Morton SM-01 scalpel blade is an amazing tool for cleaning the corners of the dovetail joint as it is extremely sharp and rigid. I find it indispensable when removing the fluffy bits left over after sawing and chiselling. These blades can be purchased directly from Swann-Morton with a retractable handle.

Alternatively, you can buy the blades individually and fit them into one of my custom marking knife handles which are available from my store. These are available in over 15 different woods and 4 different ferrule materials meaning they can be customised to suit your taste.

Don’t forget that you can also use a Katz-Moses Dovetail Guide to cut the pins of the dovetails in addition to the tails!

A Purpleheart Knife with Brass Ferrule
Previous Lesson

How to Transfer the Tails

Next Lesson

How to Adjust a Dovetail Joint

Supporting Material

Click the images below to see supporting material helping you with this part of the project.

Want to know what my favourite tools are for hand cut joinery? This video will talk you through everything that I could not live without in my workshop.

Unable to cut a straight line? Can’t make square cuts? Can’t get the saw started in the first place?! This lesson will help!

Seriously? How to use a chisel correctly? Do I really need to watch this? The short answer is yes. Yes you do.

Have you got the plans yet?

Package includes working drawings, a cutting list, and a 3d SketchUp model!

The Student Series

Want to see another beginner make this project before you? It’s a great way to scope out any mistakes before you make one yourself!

What to do when the saw cut hasn’t reached the baseline – 3:43

Video overview – 5:14

Which face to look at when sawing sockets – 7:44

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