For me, the hardest part of making half-blind dovetails isn’t the sawing. It’s chiseling out the waste between the pins. So when I have a crapload of half-blind dovetails to make, I use my drill press and a Forstner bit to bore out the bulk. Then I finish up with a regular bench chisel.
I’m in the midst of a sea of half-blind and full-blind dovetails for my latest campaign chest. All together, I have 16 half-blind corners, two full-blind corners and 10 through-dovetail corners to make. In my book, that’s a crapload.
I set my drill press so that it bores just shy of my baselines – I don’t trust its depth stop. (The stop has bent many times; I should replace it.) So there’s still some chopping and paring I need to do with each joint.
With any luck, I should have the lower carcase of this chest glued up this afternoon. And thanks to my drill press, I’ll have saved several hours I can devote to editing some upcoming books. That’s also removing waste, but it’s a process that my drill press can’t help with.
— Christopher Schwarz