Chris Schwarz's Blog

Sensible Dovetails with Glen D. Huey

Senior Editor Glen D.
Huey and I cut dovetails in completely different ways. But we entirely
agree on one point: People make the joint a lot more difficult than
necessary.

There is a time for great accuracy (when making
drawers), for pure structure (when the joint will be concealed by
moulding), and for speed (steady progress is always nice). There is a
time when hand-cutting is best (when you want a high-class look), and a
time to break out the band saw and jigsaw to get you over the finish
line.

The problem is, nobody talks about the joint this way.
Either you’re a power-tool guy with a nice Leigh jig or a
knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.

On Dec. 4-5, 2010, we’re opening
our shop for 10 students (oops, I was just told there are only seven
positions open as of now) to study dovetails with a guy who has cut more
of them than most people on the planet. As a professional, Glen
dovetailed everything. As an editor, he still dovetails everything.

We’ll
be videotaping the class to produce a DVD in early 2011 on this topic
(so don’t sign up if you are in the Witness Protection Program, OK?). We
combined a DVD shoot with a class earlier this year to make the “Build a Sawbench” DVD with great success.

As
part of the class, you’ll build a dovetailed and lidded box with a nice
bracket base. And you’ll get to hone your skills on through- and
half-blind dovetails. Pastries, coffee and lunch are included in the
cost of the class – $250 plus a $45 materials fee. Plus we arrange an
optional dinner on Saturday night for everyone to go out, have a nice meal
and talk woodworking.

Glen is a great teacher. I can say that
because we all learn stuff from one another in the shop. If you have
that weekend free, I think you will find the two days will fundamentally
change the way you think about and make this joint.

For details on the class or to register, click here.

— Christopher Schwarz

3 thoughts on “Sensible Dovetails with Glen D. Huey

  1. SFPaul

    I’ve never been able to quite grasp the leaving of the layout marks on dovetails. Are they meant to show it as hand cut or are the witness lines left as a decoration?

    It appears from the photo that they’ve only been partially removed on the lower base?

    Maybe enough content in there to devote to a whole class. Whether or whether not to leave the layout marks.

  2. Matt Stauffer

    Nice looking box. I’ll have to make one of those after I do the schoolbox from the "joiner and cabinetmaker" book.

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