There is a certain amount of mysticism and reverence surrounding the dovetail joint. To the untrained, it’s a wonderful display of craftsmanship, to some, the sign of skill and excellence. To most makers, it represents a challenge to hone their skills, both hand and patience. To me, the cutting of dovetails serves a few purposes. It feeds my deep rooted need to make good the mediocre attempts I made in my high school days, at the age of 14, doing what my tech teacher told me, but not understanding why. The tails came together with brut force, some nails, and a bit of glue dust to fill the gaps that were so big, a truck could have been driven through them.
Fast forward 15 years and my time at wood school taught me enough to at least understand why they worked. I was initially taught the ‘pins first’ method. When I left wood school, and had my first serious commission, I needed to remind myself how to cut dovetails, and for whatever reason, I chose the ‘tails first’ method. That was in 1996, and I’ve never changed it.
This 6 day course will focus on learning to cut dovetails by hand, and incorporating them into an elegant box, similar to that in the images. In the process of learning this skill, you’ll also be introduced to my method of sharpening chisels and hand planes, marking out and correct use of dovetail and fret saws. Emphasis will of course be on the joint, but the end product will be a thing of beauty.
11th – 16th May 2020.
$1500 including materials
Master classes are frequently available to assist students to move from project–based courses to their own design and make, or to learn a new complex technique or process from one of our visiting tutors.