Frank Klausz’s Final Word on Dovetails

Stop measuring and simply learn how to saw straight.
By Frank Klausz
Pages: 46-51

From the October 2005 issue #150
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The dovetail is an ancient joint widely used in cathedrals, barns and Egyptian furniture. It is the right joint for many items including fine furniture, carcases, drawers and jewelry boxes. They are all dovetailed together.

I was only 27 years old when I came to this country in 1968 from my native Hungary. Although I had a piece of paper that said “master cabinetmaker,” I was still very eager to learn more about my trade.

Where I came from I was happy if I could carry a white-haired master’s tool chest to the job site because I knew I would learn a thing or two that day working with him. Now I am that white-haired master with 45 years of experience in the trade.

In the early 1970s I went to a lot of seminars. Some were on dovetailing with well-known teachers in the woodworking world. Some cut the tails first; others cut the pins first. They used tools that I didn’t own, such as a dovetail marker. They measured the size of the pins and tails, which is completely different from my method. The more I studied, the more confused I became. I decided to find the best way to cut tight dovetails quickly.

From the October 2005 issue #150
Buy this issue now