Fair Woodworking

April 9, 2017

Consider pins first with a withering eye

You are not getting any younger. Unlike myself who is ageless and perfect, you are getting older with every word you are reading. And so, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time with same old arguments in pins vs tails.

Actually that’s not true.

Although whenever I’m looking to make a dovetail look or fit really good, I’ll pretty quickly go to tails first. But in the case of the historically accurate dovetail, good enough was good enough for 99% or possibly even 100% of the time. I think perfect dovetails, as much as I love them, are a modern misinterpretation of a historically un-exotic joint.

Recently while discussing the low Roman work bench the thought came up that on such a low bench, it’s nearly impossible to transfer from tails to pins because it’s so low and doesn’t have a vise.

So there you go.

Strike number one for tails-first. You need just the right type of bench to transfer. Conversely you could transfer from pins to tails while sitting on the sidewalk nearly as easily as any of your most functional workbenches. Now that I think about it, I can hardly think of a step in tails first that doesn’t call out for a better tool or a slick new idea to make the next step easier. You need a vise, and some thing to rest the tail board on while you transfer so the other end doesn’t wobble in the air. You need shallow rebate, you need a thin marking knife, you need dividers. And that all seems odd seeing as they are promoted by being easier than pins first because you don’t have to perfectly cut to the lines on the tails.

As true as this is, I gotta stop you for a sec…

Are we not woodworkers? Are we not to at least some degree Handtool Woodworkers? Have we not belittled power tool only types with how we don’t need to know the angles of cuts because we just strike a line and cut to it? Is not the line of the dovetail striken, striked, struck… for our sawing pleasure?

Yes, with all the gizmos, tails first is easier for beginners, but you should only be a beginner in the beginning. Once you get some experience, sawing to a line shouldn’t be that difficult. We really need to get past this very weak argument.

Ever try to saw to a knife line in bad lighting? That’s right. You need a work light to get that sweet raking light. But you only need the raking light for the knife line. In most woods a pencil line is easier to see, especially as you get older and your vision starts to fade. But a pencil won’t fit between the tails when we do those smart looking narrow London pattern dovetails. Not a problem if you’re pins first.

It’s just a thought.  I’m probably wrong. But what if the predecessors of our hard core pins first advocates didn’t really care what method was easier for the apprentices to learn. What if what they really cared about was that their method be possible no matter where the next job took them. Good bench, no bench. Good raking morning light, or a grey cloudy day. Young clear eyes of an apprentice or the weak old eyes of the master.

As I’ve gotten older, and I resisted accepting that I may need reading glasses. Switching to pins may be worth considering for my withering eyes.

Ahh… Who am I kidding? I got two work lights. I can see anything!!!

And this bench! What can’t it do?

And that reminds me!

Why the Hell would I be transferring pins OR tails on the sidewalk?

Honestly? I don’t know if I ever will strictly choose one or the other.

January 26, 2017

5 Dovetail Techniques and Tools You Don’t Really Need. 

As the Undisputed Dovetail World Champion, I feel that I have a duty to give back of myself to the dovetail world. It’s the least I can do to with the position I now hold.

Ha, ha. Ya right.  Just as soon as I’ve finished getting my nails done.

Really I’m just thinking back to when I first dreamed of the day I’d be a real woodworker that knew the “Dark Art” of dovetails. It’s funny now how mystical they seemed at the time. One of the reasons they seemed unobtainable was that it seemed to require so many tools. I’d attended the demonstrations, watched the videos, and I’d sat through the sales pitches. I did the math on what my first set of dovetails would cost in tools, and at over $800.00, I’d still be without a workbench, a marking knife or even a mallet.

It took a few years to be able to afford all the tools in the “beginner” set, but along the way I managed to find an affordable mallet (no longer available), and a marking knife. $500 later I had a usable workbench as well.

All told, it must have been about 5 years from the day I discovered the idea of dovetails to the day I cut them, and that’s just silly.

It didn’t need to be that complicated.

  1. You do need a workbench, and if you don’t have one, I’d highly recommend downloading The Naked Woodworker video. Had I just had access to this one resource when I first started, I’d be years ahead of where I am now as a woodworker.
  2. You will need a vise, or holdfasts like are shown in Mike’s video above.
  3. You need a Dovetail saw. Duhhh…. You can’t go wrong in product or price with the Veritas Dovetail Saw
  4. You need a Chisel. Ya, just one chisel, if you have a set already, please don’t throw the rest away, but if you don’t, just get one 1/2″ chisel. That’s all you really need to get started. Again, you can’t really go wrong with Narex if money is tight.
  5. I like using a Fret saw to remove the waste. Rob Cosman sells a pretty good one on his web site,  although I’d personally pass on the Hockey tape…
  6. You need a square. Would you believe you can lay out your dovetails with just a square? Ya! I’ll show you how later, but even the angles can be laid out fairly accurately with just the tip of your finger and your average square.
  7. You need a pencil. I like using a mechanical pencil because the mark it leaves is uniform. It never dulls, so it fits everywhere the same, line after line, after line.
  8. You need a mallet. NOT a carvers mallet, and NOT a hammer. I like a larger mallet, or even better, a mini sledge.

Oh and one last thing…. You NEED flat and square material. As a beginner, this should be the most challenging thing to get your hands on, but the flatter and the squarrrr’errr your material, the better off you will be.

That’s it. That’s all you really should need to get started, but there are other tools you will see out there, all of them I use regularly, that you don’t really need to have to get started.


  1. Dividers – Dividers are great, but they add steps to your layout. If money is tight, you can get by for now without them.
  2. Rebate plane – First introduced to me as the “140 Trick” it’s used to make a shallow rabbet on the back of your tails. This aids in holding them against the pin board so it doesn’t slip while transferring the layout. It’s a really good trick when done properly, but Rebate planes are tricky to set up, and learning to use them well can be a hard learned skill. Again, it’s a great trick, but if done incorrectly will make learning dovetails all the more difficult.
  3. Marking knife – I found using the marking knife the most difficult skill to master with dovetails. It’s a real trick to mark all your lines accurately without accidentally moving the tail board out of alignment, and really that is a big reason people use the 140 trick. If you just want to cut some dovetails, the transfer is way, WAY easier with a pencil. You can learn how to use a marking knife later if you want.
  4. Dovetail marker – Remember how I said you can layout your dovetails with just a square? I’d much prefer to use and Dovetail marker as it is way easier, but if you don’t have one yet, don’t let it stop you.
  5. Marking gauge – You use a marking gauge to create the base line for your dovetails and also your pins. I have a few of them and they are great, but lately, for through dovetails, I’ve just been using my chisel.

Again, they are all great tools to have, they are all very, very useful, but you don’t really need them to learn how to cut your first dovetail.

If you would like to see how you can cut a reasonable dovetail with just 8 simple tools, I made yet another dovetail video.


January 4, 2015

A long road by design

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes when I’m board, I go to the Handworks web page and pretend to pick the nose of the guy in the logo with my mouse pointer…

Give it a try, it’s fun.


So last night it re-occurred to me how soon Handworks is going to be a reality.

This happened while I was plotting the 24 hour, 2500km long road trip, plus finding the most likely 24 hour gas station, and pee-pee stops that we will no doubt need to take advantage of.

Ya that’s right. For all you American sissys out there that are whimpering about how it’s too far away, #RealWoodworkers just get it done.

Unless you live in Hawaii, Alaska, Key West Florida, California, and some parts of Washington, or Oregon, you probably have a shorter drive than I do. Shoot, Mexico City is only 6 hours further.

Or you could fly…

Anyways, while checking to see what time we had to arrive in town in order to attend Roy Underhills opening presentation, it finally really hit me how many awesome vendors will be there. What a great chance to meet so many interesting people, and what’s more, perhaps fondle a few tools in the process! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few of the vendors already, and really look forward to watching them squirm as I enthusiastically prod them into “pretend” remembering me from many years back.

Then there are others that I have never met, but for years have cyber stalked, cyber harassed , cyber bullied, or cyber mocked. If you see a guy dressed in plaid sporting a fresh black eye, you will know that one of them has figured out who I am.

Finally there are the vendors that would fit into category three. These are ones that I may, or may not have heard of, but certainly have not collected enough information from blog pictures to make a shoe box diorama of their work shop. No, these ones I have yet to add to my woodworking shrine, and at this point, I am not yet at risk of violating restraining orders during the show. In fact, I don’t even know what these people look like.

So I start clicking on the vendor links in hopes of becoming more familiar with them and their work. One of the vendors was some dude named George Walker. As soon as I clicked on the link I knew he was one of those “design types”. You know the ones… Pictures of greek buildings, and sketches of horses and anatomically incorrect, yet athletic men?

I know, right?!!! “Bla, bla, bla, proportion. Bla, bla, bla, golden bla, bla, bla. Causes the eye to be drawn to the bla, bla, bla…”

Anyways, one of this years Christmas gifts, “By Hand & Eye” by Jim Tolpin & some other guy, was the inspiration for my 2015 New Year’s Resolution. Learn something, ANYTHING about design. So since I still have a few other books in the hopper to read before this one, I thought I would see if this guy could prime the pump so to speak for future reference.


So as I’m scrolling through the blog, I stopped at one post called Build-in portable, waterproof, hairy handy ruler. As I scanned through the post, I noticed George mentioning meeting Jim Tolpin in person. Well I’ve always been a sucker for a good name dropper (Neil Cronk) so I dive in for a more thorough read.

He talks about how he learned from Jim about using/knowing the measurements of the segments of your hand rather than having to rely on a ruler so much. That was super cool, and a real eye opener for me, but it just made me wish that Jim Tolpin was going to be at Amana.

I wonder if the other guy will be there….
So I told you that story so I could tell you this.

Have you ever heard someone say that they knew something like the back of their hand? How well do you really know the back of your hand? I’ve always wondered about that saying, and have even tried googling it. Today I even looked it up in The Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins by Nigel Rees. It’s a good reference most times, but not today.

However, in light of the previous story, I wonder if it refers to an ancient time when the every measure of the back of your hand was common knowledge?

September 11, 2013

What are the best calipers for woodworking?

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Favorite tools,Marking and Measuring — fairwoodworking @ 6:11 pm

I’ve seen a number of magazine articles on this topic, and I bought my first calipers years ago based on those articles. I’ve bought a few more since then, and all in the quest for the perfect calipers for woodworking.


My first were these Vernier Calipers from Lee Valley. They came highly recommended for precise accuracy. I mean they have a fine adjustment mechanism and everything.


But it’s super hard to read!

I needed something that didn’t make my brain do back flips.

Like blindman’s calipers.


I think I am going blind….

No wait, the batteries are just dead.

Yet again.

But seriously! The questions was about calipers for woodworking.

Measuring your shavings is not woodworking. It’s hand tool geekery.

These kind of calipers really have no place in woodworking as far as I can see. The wood either fits, or it doesn’t.

Well, unless you are an engineer. All bets are off for you guys. So go ahead and slather your self up with all your numbers and decimal points, or whatever it is you are into. Measuring every shaving, stressing over the non sub thousand shavings your scrub plane keeps making.

You know I’m just kidding about the engineers right?

Ya, I know. It’s funny because it’s true. Ha, ha, ha!

Ok, focus there young laddie!

I’m sad to say that the best woodworking calipers are made in Taiwan.


Wood moves enough that measuring it in increments of thousands is just silly. This little guy will tell you as much as you should ever need to know. Plastic Calipers come in packs of 6. That’s pretty awesome as well, because you can leave them all over your shop. Then they are close at hand for when ever you need to know how thick a screw is, or how deep is that groove. I also really like how you can read it like a regular ruler, and doesn’t need batteries.

Who knows, one day you really will wonder how thick an orange carpenters pencil is…


Now what’s up with that metric stuff?

June 10, 2013

Roubo Bookstand a trial run

Filed under: Marking and Measuring,Roubo Bookstand,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 6:50 pm

A while back I stumbled on to a set of plans to build the Roubo book stand. I looked at it, and thought that it would be interesting to do some day.

The only thing that really stuck with me on that set of plans was the instruction to practice in softwood first…

Well, after committing to film more of my work, I found myself with a block of pine in front of the camera, and I hadn’t thought to look again at the plans.

Here is your lucky chance to watch me bang off the layout on the fly.


I wonder how many things you can pick out that I did wrong?

Well for one, it seems I’m a heavy breather when I’m pondering what to do next.

I also still haven’t mastered marking out a 45 degree angle.

In the heat of the moment, I completely forgot to always reference my square off the same surface.

Finally, the layout on the side doesn’t look right…

I’ll have to fix that…

Next time.

March 11, 2013

To divide into thirds

How does the saying go?

Given enough time, with an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters, somebody’s getting monkey poo in the face…

Or something like that?

I better start again.

Have you ever tried to divide material exactly into thirds without doing math? I try to avoid doing math without doing math, but anyways. I’m playing with Google Sketchup tonight, attempting to design some stuff. To try to get the full feel of the design, I felt that I needed to add the through mortice and tenons that I plan on using. A common rule of thumb is the two shoulders and the tenon should be of three equal thicknesses. By that I mean, if the tenon is 1″ thick the shoulders should also be 1″ for a total thickness of 3″.

Ok math over…

The dimension I was working with was a total of 5-1/4 thick to be divided into thirds. STOP! DON’T DO THE MATH! I know it’s not that hard but that’s not the point.

How would you lay that out? I’m sure there is a way to get sketchup to do it for you, but I don’t want to learn it, I just want my thirds.

I was sure that geometry was the answer, I just had to mess around with an infinite number of geometric options.

I figured circles were usually pretty smart, and they are fun to make on sketchup.

Before long I had enough circles drawn to baffle even Rory Tate

But no mater what I tried, three equal measurements were outside my grasp.

Then I moved to triangles. You have to draw your own triangles, but that gave me the opportunity to pretend I have a certain artistic flair. (I don’t have any but it’s fun to pretend anyway.)

Well a couple of times I got to the point that you would swear my creation came from the hands of Michael Angelo himself. No not the painter. The turtle.

But in the end I came up with this.

It’s ok, I wiped off the monkey poo.

divide to thirds

So what did I do?

Divide the width into quarters.

Draw diagonals from the quarters to the half.

Draw diagonals from the four outside corners.

Where the diagonals intersect (I circled them) those are the 1/3 points.

With two more diagonals between the outside corners and the quarter lines, and you can lay out fifths as well, but I’ll let you try that one on your own.

There you go math geeks!

I just made you obsolete.

Ha, ha, ha!

September 6, 2012

Veritas® Stainless-Steel Marking Gauge – Limited Edition

Filed under: Favorite tools,Marking and Measuring,Marking Gauge,Picture issues — fairwoodworking @ 11:15 pm

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***


So what I don’t get is how this has seemingly flown under the radar…

I’ll admit I’ve kept my silence until I managed to get one into my greedy little hands, but I am just one voice. This is a no brainer people!

5 years ago for their 30th anniversary, Veritas released a limited edition SS Edge Trimming plane. It is truly beautiful, but is in my opinion not the most useful tool. I am the proud owner of one, it’s sharpened and ready to use, but I find that there are other tools that for me do a much better job.

I’m not picking on it, but it’s interesting that the edge trimming plane stirred us all up into a frenzy, with heated debates and a mad rush for everyone to get theirs before they sold out.
Five years later, they release a simple yet mind blowingly indispensable tool, and the woodworking world hardly musters up the courage to shrug…

Could be the economy, I don’t know.

So lets look at the facts.

SS marking gauge is selling for $29.95 Ya that’s right just thirty bucks!!!

That’s just ten dollars more than the Pocket Marking Gauge. Yawn…

Ok, how about this.

The original Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge sells for $31.50

Ok, math time…. Mumble, mumble…. carry the two…. Mumble, mumble….. ….. !!!!

Shouldn’t the limited edition tool made with significantly more expensive materials, and tooling be more expensive than the regular tool?

What I’m saying is, this is a good buy no mater how you look at it.

Alright, so first impressions?

It feels solid. How solid? Well let’s try comparing it to what is arguably the king of marking gauges, the Tite-Mark by Glen-Drake Toolworks.

The veritas feels slightly heavier in my hand than the tite-mark. Does that matter? I don’t know if it does. The face of the body is larger on the veritas, and I would argue that it will give the hope of better registration in use. Score a very small victory for Veritas.

1 – 0 Veritas
You will also notice that the rod on the veritas is offset slightly. This affords an even greater amount of surface area for registration. I’d say that is a good thing, but I find I often like to roll the tite-mark not drag it round corners. I feel much more in control when I do this. With the veritas, the offset of the rod make it very unbalanced when you roll it. This to me is a significant issue, as I roll it over a corner it seems to want to jump forward like the wheels of a compound bow as it unloads when you release the string. In those cases the veritas may not be ideal. Over all the tite-mark maintains more consistent stability. Score one for tite-mark.

1 – 1 Even

Both in their own way address the issue of rolling away when left on a surface that is not perfectly level, with all tools it can be heart breaking when they roll off your bench and smash against the concrete floor. Both tools get a point.

2 – 2 Even

Now let’s get a little nitpicky. The fastener for the cutting wheel. The veritas uses an Allen Key, the tite-mark a Phillips screw. I think the Allen key is much less likely to strip, but in the rare occasion that I’d need to loosen it, I will have long forgotten where I put the supplied Allen Key. Meanwhile, like a good Canadian, although I much prefer my square Robertson screws, I can always find a Phillips screwdriver to loosen the tite-mark screw. Score one very insignificant point for tite-mark.

2 – 3 Tite-mark

The other significant feature in a marking gauge is adjustment. The veritas uses a single screw that is right where it needs to be to tighten the body in place using one hand. Inside the body they have placed an O-ring that gives just the right amount of friction to keep the rod from sliding around, yet is easy to move when you want it to. The tite-mark uses two screws and an ingenious threaded middle section that allows for micro adjustment. I was surprised when I compared the two for ease of adjustment. I’d assumed that the tite-mark would be a clear winner, and almost didn’t bother with a comparison.

I’m glad I did.

With only one screw to work, and a new shape to the head handle, the veritas is very quick and easy to get in place. The O-rings perfectly dialed in friction makes the head very stable while screwing it tight. I do have to wonder about the longevity of the O-ring. Only time will tell how it will work in 5, 10, or 100 years.  The tite-mark is slightly more cumbersome to make large initial adjustments with the second screw being further down the head. The threaded action is clean and precise, and being all metal, I have no doubt that if kept clean and dry, it will work exactly the same in another 100, or even 200 years.  I don’t plan on living quite that long, so I wouldn’t stress about that one too much. I’m calling this one too close to call, as it is a very subjective thing. They are both great, so they both get a point.

3 – 4 tite-mark

Finally price.

Veritas SS Marking Gauge $29.95

Tite-Mark Marking Gauge $89.00

The fact that you can buy 3 of the Veritas for the price of one Tite-Mark makes the Veritas the clear winner of this round. One point for Veritas.

4 – 4 Even

I should mention that I started writing this thinking the Tite-Mark would win. I didn’t do the math before I started, I just added it up as I went along. A tie was not what I expected, or to be honest, wanted.

I also should say that as far as I know, nether tool maker has any idea I even exist, and I have no hope to benefit from either. Just writing for the fun of it…

Editors note.

I’ve had my SS Marking Gauge for almost a year now. I still really like it, but I should say that I have come to feel that it has one major fault.  I originally mentioned a minor concern with the rod being off center, making the tool feel unbalanced. What makes a wheel style marking gauge so great is its ability to roll.

Off centering the rod makes rolling very difficult, and effectively makes this tool more similar to an old school cutting gauge with a round cutter. Sometimes a perceived innovation degrades the usefulness of a tool, and unfortunately this is what Veritas has done here.

It’s still a great tool, but it would have been better if they had kept the rod in the center.

Where it belongs on a wheel marking gauge.


August 23, 2012

Story boards, and changing the scale of your work

Filed under: Favorite tools,Marking and Measuring,Picture issues,Skill development — fairwoodworking @ 10:47 pm

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***


Having come face to face with the uncomfortable truth that I lack the artistic wherewithal to design good looking projects, I’ve chosen to swallow my pride like a boy swallowing whole stalks of broccoli in hopes of getting desert.

It’s time try building something from a set of plans.

I’m not happy about this, but something’s got to give. Well, also I’m suffering from designers block.

So I picked a set of plans and I started laying it out, but I’ve found that the finished project will be larger than I want laying around the house.

It needs to be smaller, but changing any one dimension will dramatically change the over all look of the project.

Every dimension will need to change, and more importantly, stay consistent with the other dimensions.

Hmmm… This looks like math….


I can use my Shop made Sector!

The largest dimension on the plan is 16″, I’d like it more in the 9″ range. Just a little larger than half the original plan. Ya, that would be some kind of ugly math, and then making it work on a ruler? Forget it!

I start by laying the ruler across the sector. I’ve lined up the line on 1 inch mark and the 17 inch mark to the sectors “11” line. That’s a 16 inch span.

Then I spread the divider to 9 inches. It lines up pretty well with the markings of #6 on the sector. That will be close enough.

The rest is pretty simple. Make the full size story board. Use dividers to transfer to the sector at the # 11 position. Use dividers to transfer the corresponding distance from the #6 position to the scaled down story board.

Now if you look close. You will see that I didn’t bother to scale something. That something can be whatever I want, but we will get to that later.


July 26, 2012

Making a drawer pull. The hand tool way.

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***


It’s funny how one simple seeming project can demand the learning of so many new skills. Here is the drawer pull for a very basic piston fit drawer I’ve been making. It’s been the inspiration for a number of posts as of late, and has moved quite slowly because each new skill was a rabbit trail of skill discovery, while the real project waited patiently.

I’ve already had to learn to cut half blind dovetails, but before that I had to make my own fishtail chisel. To make this drawer pull the first thing I had to do was learn to cut a mortice and tenon joint.

With a precarious grasp on M&T joinery, it was time to give this a go…

With a lot of care and attention, I had to get all my layout lines done. The first thing that hit me was that this was one tiny little piece of wood to work with. There is very little surface space for clamping while I work, so every step must be calculated with care. The picture above shows the arc on the right hand side. I’ll cut that first. You can see the center of the arc with the x, and a line scribed with my marking gauge. That will be the shoulder of the M&T joint. To the left is another marking gauge line. That will be the end of the tenon, but I needed more length to be able to clamp the piece while cutting the arc.


No action shot’s today. This was a process of survival, and I couldn’t afford the distraction. I did take the time to snap this moment of clamping bliss…

Then it was time to cut the tenon. It was uneventful, and that was a relief!

Took a breather before cutting the shoulders. Again a little tricky to cut on a bench hook, when there is very little that you can reference against the fence.

With the tenon cut, I then had to rasp the saw marks off the edge. I chose the rasp because it was pretty much all end grain, and using a plane would have been very difficult. One last thing to do. See the pencil lines that follow the edge? May as well tempt fate, and free hand bevel the edges while I’m here.

And there you have it, a rather rustic looking drawer pull.

June 22, 2012

Dovetailed Pencil Box 2.0

EDITORS NOTE *** This post is experiencing 3rd party photo hosting “issues”, that will be addressed as time allows. ***


I like building stuff….

But I’m not great at following directions, so building something based on plans, well… I’ve never successfully done it. Ahh, who am I kidding, I can mess up macaroni and cheese.

I prefer to design my own stuff, but I’m not great at dimensions, and aesthetics.

I just like building stuff.

It’s a good thing too, because a lot of times I have to build it wrong so I can see what I want to do right the next time.

The last time I made a pencil box, I found it disproportionately tall, but we can rebuild it. We have the technology.

This time, I started out with this.

It’s another piece of discarded stair tread. Again it shows signs of being birds eye maple, but not as nice a piece as I used “here”.

With a sliding top and raised panel bottom, you need to make grooves. I originally started making them stopped grooves, but it’s slow and painful work. I finally gave up/lost interest, and changed to plowing through grooves.

That change left me with two options. Either have a gap showing on the tails, or switch to shallow tails like I did on the bottom of my “simple box”.

And here I learned a valuable lesson. When I learned to cut dovetails, I was told to cut my pins and tails a little long, and then when the joint was completed, plane them flush.

I remember once seeing a video of somebody asking Frank Klausz how much longer he cut his pins and tails. His answer was so typical. Something like, “I just cut them right”

I remember thinking, “Ya, that’s great for Frank, but I’ll never be as good as he is”, and I just wrote it off as another statement by a master that has forgotten what it is like to be a newbie.

Shallow tails are not that difficult to make, but precision when marking the base line for the pin board is critical.

When you mark the thickness of the tail, you do it from the outside face. When you mark the base line on the pin board, you reference off the end of the pins, but if they are longer than the tail board is thick, the socket between the pins will be too shallow. The solution I had to work with really sucked.

I had to guess where the baseline should be.

From now on, I’m listening to Frank’s wisdom.

He may not remember what it’s like to be a newbie, but he does know what he is talking about.

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