Everyone wants to have the last word. It’s gotten so you can’t even tell your neighbor that his wife is fat without having an endless back and forth about it. Yes she is… no she isn’t… She’s as big as your house!… Why I oughta… It’s a principal as old as time.
This principal has also been applied to woodworking. There are several books with titles like “The Last Word on Sharpening”, “The Last Word on Workbenches”, “The Last Word on Band Saw Amputations”… I may have made that last one up, but only to prove a point: Everyone considers his take on a subject to be definitive, end of story.
Now apply this principal to a hopeless obsessive compulsive like me, and you’re in for some sleepless nights. Recently I began to think that I didn’t get the last word, though I had every intention to. Yes, you guessed it… I’m talking about the recent dovetail episodes on Blue Collar Woodworking. I set out to produce the be all and end all expose’ of the world of tails and pins, an unvarnished look at the life and death game we woodworkers play. But it turned out to be far too much for one episode. Then it turned out to be too much for two episodes. I think an entire season of the show would burst at the seams if I tried to fit every dovetail tip and technique into one place.
Consider this relatively simple joint. While it’s simple in design, it’s anything but simple to cut. There are dozens of ways to do it by hand, countless ways to do it by machine, and more jigs than I can count have been devised to make it easier. To have “the last word on dovetails” one would have to include all of that information so the audience would be able to choose what method makes the most sense to him. That would be impossible. I mean, dovetails are fun. But who wants to watch a 30 hour show about them? Nobody.
So I think it’s time to stop trying to get the last word. No more books claiming to be the definative, only one you’ll ever need, don’t even dare to look elsewhere on the subject. Sound good? Great! I now consider this matter to be settled!
(By the way, my neighbor’s wife isn’t fat. She’s at least 60 years old and spends most warm days sunbathing in a bikini right outside my window. Try and get THAT mental image erased!)
In case you missed the dovetail shows, the first one was about cutting them with a homemade “machine” and the second was full of tips to cut them by hand. I posted them below…
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