When I started in woodworking, I frequently read that the Dovetail Joint was the mark of a skilled woodworker; that it was a difficult joint to make and doing so announced to ‘those in the know” that the maker was a real craftsman (or is that craftsperson?).
Then I discovered that you could make Dovetail Joints on jigs; not just make them, but make them perfectly. So I purchased my first Dovetail Jig shown here. Now whilst this helped me make perfect dovetail joint every time, I somehow felt that I had cheated. When people complemented me on these beautiful joints, I guiltily replied that I didn’t really make them that they were done on a jig.
So at some point I stared reading all of the material that I could get my hands on about making Dovetail Joints by hand. As I did, I began to realize that, in fact, the ‘cookie-cutter’ dovetail joint was not the target. Somehow, the joints needed to look hand made without looking poorly made. They had to compete with the perfection that a jig produces, but at the same time, with the tell-tale look of hand craftsmanship. The latter seems to be accomplished by the maker producing more of a random look and perhaps by leaving some of the layout lines showing. So thus began my journey. The pictures below show my progress. But to me, the interesting discovery was that once I knew I could make them by hand fairly easily, I then reverted to making them on a jig. I wonder what this says about me?
The one below is the first one with which I was happy and is the one in my office as a reminder of my personal woodworking Everest.
Here is the first box that I made with completely hand made dovetail joints.
But now, most of my dovetail joints for boxes are made with a jig.
-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://www.hillsbiblechurch.org/