Dovetailed Dustpan – Popular Woodworking Magazine. Forget plastic or metal pots – a wooden one looks prettier and works better.
S.Sometime during the last 25 years of wandering around workshops, museums and antique shops, I noticed a wooden scoop. The meeting made me slap my forehead: why do I have a plastic pan when I could build a wooden one out of scraps?
After studying the blades on the market and making a prototype, I opted for this design. It’s lightweight, easy to build, stands up on its own, and the pan clicks on an axis that runs between the two sides.
It’s also a great way for a beginner nester to practice the joint. Whether your joints are perfect or perforated, they will end up in the dustbin.
The two sides are joined at the back with passing dovetails. An axis passes between the two sides. The headstock handle is tenoned and wedged into the shaft.
The assembled sides and back are then coated with 1?8“- thick rigid panel. The bottom of the pan is beveled on the front edge so that the fine dust can be collected. A half gusset on the underside of the pan ensures that the front edge of the pan touches the floor.
Dovetail cutting list in dovetail
Item No.Dimensions (inches) MaterialComments
2 sides 1?2 x 3 1?2 x 12 Walnut
1 Back 1?2 x 3 1?2 x 12 Walnut
1 Top 1?8 x 6 1?4 x 12 Rigid panel
1 below 1?8 x 12 x 12 1?4Rigid panel
1 Axis 1 1?2 x 1 1?2 x 12 1?4 hardwood 5?8” tenon, both ends
1 handle 1 1?4 x 1 1?4 x 33 1?2 Hard wood 15?8” tenon, one end
1 dowel 5?8 diameter11
Sides and axis
After you have cut the broth to size, arrange and cut the shell and bevel shape on the sides of the pan, using the construction drawings as a guide. Drill the 1 “diameter hole through both sides that will accept the plank. It is best to drill the 1” hole through both pieces at the same time to make sure they line up.
The axis is a scrap that I cut to an octagon (I like the facets). Then I turned 1 ″ x diameter 5?8“- long tenons on both ends. These tenons will rotate in the holes of the side pieces.
If you don’t have a lathe, a simple solution is to make the axis 11 “long and drill 1” diameter holes in each end of the axis. Then glue the 1 “diameter dowels into those holes – instant tenons.
Now drill a 1 inch diameter hole through the midpoint of the shaft to accept the tenon on the handle.
My handle is a sycamore fragment that I cut into an octagonal profile with a jack plane (followed by a smooth plane), then I turned a 1 ″ diameter x 15?8”Tenon on one side and a decorative sphere on the other. If you don’t have a lathe, you can purchase a replacement broomstick. These usually have a tenon which is 15?16“In diameter or 11?8“. So you’ll need to drill a different sized hole through the midpoint of the plank if you choose the store-bought handle.
Now assemble the plank and handle. I sawed a cut across the length of the tenon. Then I glued and stuck the tenon in the axis. When the glue dried, I cut the wedge and cleaned the joint.
There are thousands of dovetail trimming tutorials out there. So I won’t waste precious ink and paper explaining the fundamentals that you can find in almost any book. But I’d like to point out what I consider to be critical aspects of the joint, so read the captions in “The Fineer Points of Dovetails” below.
After the joints have been cut, chamfer the inside corners of the rail to facilitate assembly of the joint. Paint the skin glue on the mating surfaces of your joint. Put the plank in place between the side pieces and join the dovetails. If necessary, lock the joint.
Don’t worry too much about squaring yet. If the pan looks square, let the glue dry.
The finer points of the dovetails
Coat the Pan
After the glue dries, level the sides and back to smooth the seams and remove any bruises. Then check the inside of the pan to see if the corners are square. If they aren’t, use a clamp to bring the pan into square before adding the top piece.
The top and bottom of the pan are tempered hardboard, a friendly engineering panel made (usually) with exploded wood fibers and boiled linseed oil. You can saw, chisel and plan it like wood (because it is wood).
The top piece of the hardboard is curved to allow the handle to rotate a little more, which makes the headstock easier to use. Cut the curve with a hacksaw and clean it with a rasp and sandpaper.
Attach the top to the pan with the leather glue and # 6 x 5?8”Button head screws.
The bottom of the pan is also made of hardboard. The front edge is beveled and protrudes in front of the sides 1?4“. The bevel allows you to capture fine dust. I planed the bevel on the front edge of the bottom. First I glued a piece of duct tape 1?4”From the front edge. Then I used a block plane to create a sharp bevel.
Attach the bottom to the sides and back with leather glue and # 6 x 5?8“Wood screws.
The final construction step is to glue half of a dowel to the underside of the bottom. The gusset ensures that the chamfer on the front of the paddle reaches the floor and does not settle on the debris. I made my half dowel by planing a 5?8“- dowel diameter with a plane. Then I glued the gusset to the bottom of the bottom, right under the back.
Finishing and final touches
If you want to hang your shovel on a peg, drill a 1?4”Hole through the handle and tie a string through the hole.
If you are going to use this palette in the shop, you probably don’t need to apply a finish to it. However, I thought the palette would look nice enough for the home if I applied an oil finish. Two coats of boiled linseed oil and wax worked.