After the practice dovetails it’s time for the real thing. The goal is a three drawer file cabinet. One problem I noted with the wood I used for the practice dovetails is that it wasn’t straight. How does one get straight wood? One straightens the wood right before using it.
So for this project I bought rough sawn maple to be my drawer sides. The goal was to turn this material into 1/2 inch thick wood. I used my Clifton #7 hand plane to make one face of each board flat. This step definitely involves some skill. The first time I tried I started with a one inch board and by the time it was flat I had reduced parts of the board to less than 1/2 inch thick. Oops.
But I learned and can do a somewhat slow, but reasonable job at this now. After making one side flat I ran the boards through my thickness planer to get 1/2 inch wood. Then I glued them together. Finally I was ready to trim the wood to size.
All of this preparation took longer, I think, than the actual cutting of the dovetails. These drawers will hold hanging files so I fit them with plastic rails for the files. They will someday be graced by curly maple fronts. They will also someday have a case to live in.
One thing I noticed when joining maple boards together was that this wood seemed quite variable and in some cases I didn’t match the boards well. But when one board happens to have some curl on it, there’s no way to get a good match.