First Handcut Dovetails - PFW

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Blog entry by jcontract posted 03-09-2010 06:44 AM 1263 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A good friend (and fellow Lumberjock member JTASH) spent a fantastic weekend at the Philadelphia Furniture Workshop in a handcut dovetails class. Now, JTASH has had some experience to this point in assembling actual projects with handcut dovetail joints. Me? I did a bunch of practice in sawing ‘to the line’ in preparation for the class, and even tried a crude attempt at assembling a test dovetail. The results were miserable and I would not post.

Here is my conclusion after taking the class. You can read all the articles in the world, and see all of the videos. I’ve done close to that. If you really want to have success at this skill it helps wildly if you actually see someone assemble it, like a Mario Rodriguez, and receive feedback on your technique. There were tips and tricks that Mario passed on that really de-mystified the whole process.

I walked out only assembling one practice dovetail, and the beginning of a half-blind dovetail that I need to complete at home. But I now have the tools, literally and figuratively, and the confidence to have success. Mario promised a 100% imporvement in your ability to cut dovetails, and he wasn’t kidding. Thanks Mario and Alan. Looking forward to the next class.

Here are a few photos I snapped during the class. Hope you enjoy.

10 comments so far

View Vick's profile


49 posts in 2465 days

#1 posted 03-09-2010 06:59 AM

Some day I WILL learn how to do this! Nice work!

-- Good energy perpetuates good energy!

View skeeter's profile


233 posts in 2762 days

#2 posted 03-09-2010 07:01 AM

very tight. nice work

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View woodworm's profile


14164 posts in 3011 days

#3 posted 03-09-2010 07:37 AM

Neat and Clean.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#4 posted 03-09-2010 07:42 AM

Cool job

-- Custom furniture

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


17576 posts in 3096 days

#5 posted 03-09-2010 10:04 AM

Thye don’t get any better than that!! congrats

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3242 days

#6 posted 03-09-2010 01:52 PM

This is a good looking dovetail joint, and certainly a success in my book. It looks like you are ready to hand cut them on your next project.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 2763 days

#7 posted 03-09-2010 02:14 PM

I agree it seems that you end up with the best results in a class setting. Your dovetail doesn’t get any better than that. I’ll bet you are hooked now! Good luck with the half blind.

-- Marc

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12504 posts in 2577 days

#8 posted 03-09-2010 11:16 PM

great job… would love to be able to hand cut them… never really tried… perhaps on a future project…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3006 days

#9 posted 03-09-2010 11:47 PM

Actually according to Frank Klaus On his dovetailing dvd and books etc we should not be so intimidated by hand cutting dovetails. I was talking about this tonight to an old friend and we intend to get some scrap wood this summer and simply try it out .I have cut dovetails by hand and had great success but gave up too easily so I intend like you guys should to be less afraid and try it out what harm can it do but say waste a few hours here or there. Grandpa Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View jtash's profile


30 posts in 2504 days

#10 posted 03-11-2010 10:54 PM

Hey, great set of Dovetails.

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