Dovetailing a box

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Blog entry by Alin Dobra posted 12-12-2007 06:05 AM 11293 reads 39 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch


In this blog I spend almost 40 minutes in four videos explaining how I cut dovetails. Since I give most of the explanations in the video, I will not repeat them in writing.

There are multiple ways you can use these videos:
1. See how somebody else is cutting dovetails and maybe get some idea how to improve your technique
2. Learn how to cut dovetails from scratch
3. Confirm some of the frustrations/solutions you have

Use the comments to give extra hints or talk about what works/does not work when you cut dovetails.

I will post a project with pictures of the final product (i.e.the hand-cut dovetails on the box).
(here it is: )

I hope you enjoy watching the videos,


P.S. In case you are wondering, yes, it is still summer in Florida.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

34 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4030 days

#1 posted 12-12-2007 08:27 AM

Hi Alin,

I enjoyed your videos and watching your method. We do things a bit differently and this demonstrates a very effective choice of methods for cutting dovetails for a box. Thanks for taking the time to do these!


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3889 days

#2 posted 12-12-2007 04:24 PM

Alin – thanks for doing these. I appreciate the time it takes to do these videos and have enjoyed them.


-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4154 days

#3 posted 12-12-2007 05:21 PM

Very helpful to see the process explained in such detail. Great videos. Thanks

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 3841 days

#4 posted 12-12-2007 06:54 PM

Alin, great demonstration, I really enjoyed it. Practice and patience are the key as you said. I think many would be amazed at how quickly the eye can become aware and recognize a 128th of an inch. What did you use to reshape the small chisel you use?
thank you taking the time to share this.
take care,

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 3824 days

#5 posted 12-12-2007 07:12 PM

Thanks! I haven’t had a chance to view the videos but definitely will.

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 3881 days

#6 posted 12-12-2007 07:52 PM

Thanks everybody for your comments.

Harold, I used the grinder and a lot of care to regrind the small chisel. It saved me a a lot of frustration ever since, though.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Bob N's profile

Bob N

131 posts in 3921 days

#7 posted 12-13-2007 04:09 AM


Most excellent presentations! Thanks so much for taking the time to do these and share your knowledge with those of us that are just starting out. I have made many dovetails on the router table, but my true desire is to chop them out by hand. I think your videos have give me the courage to get out in the shop and start practising. I do hope you will finish that box on video since you have gotten this far with it..

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4071 days

#8 posted 12-14-2007 09:25 AM

I have only had the chance to view Part 1 . . . but I have it put in my favorites to view the rest later.

Good work thus far though !!!!!

-- BLOG -

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 3881 days

#9 posted 12-14-2007 02:11 PM

Thanks guys.

bnoles: I’ll finish the box and post the end result.

Zuki: I hope the rest of the video will not disappoint you. I know it is a lot of information to chew up in one sitting.

I just noticed yesterday that has a multi-part video on how to cut dovetails as well:
You need a subscription though.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3868 days

#10 posted 12-14-2007 03:03 PM

Alin, I can’t wait to get home to watch these. (Can’t really do it here at work)

View Grumpy's profile


23914 posts in 3845 days

#11 posted 12-14-2007 11:08 PM

Thanks Alin. You have spent a lot of time on this. Much appreciated.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Atelierwoodworks's profile


105 posts in 4007 days

#12 posted 12-15-2007 06:29 PM

really enjoy your stuff Alin, keep it up

-- Atelierwoodworks Vaud Switzerland

View Tim Dorcas's profile

Tim Dorcas

188 posts in 3852 days

#13 posted 12-16-2007 08:32 PM

I have been trying to teach myself how to do hand cut dovetails with mixed success. You have a few tricks that I will add to my arsenal. I look forward to seeing what you do next!

-- - A Woodworking & Renovation Blog & - I make. You buy.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3868 days

#14 posted 12-21-2007 12:16 PM

Thanks Alin for making these videos. You really did a good job explaining the whole process, and the finished product was very nice.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3868 days

#15 posted 01-02-2008 10:53 PM

Alin, I finally got a chance to watch these (I have to wait until I have time at work because I am on dial-up at home).

They were very informative and I learned a lot. Thanks for taking the time to go into so much detail. I have made an attempt at hand-cut dovetails once before but didn’t have much luck. I plan on giving it another try with some of your methods.

I really like your method of using different saws to gradually widen a kerf. That’s brilliant and so simple. Also, great tip on re-grinding a specialized chisel.

-- Happy woodworking!

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