I’ve taught a lot of people to cut dovetails through the years, and I’m convinced there are five different personality types of people who learn to cut dovetails. Here is my short list.
Morgo Will DESTROY the Instructor
Yup, I always build the project that the students are building for the class. As a result, some students want to race me. No matter what, they want to be done with an operation before I am. Yes, I have 15 other students to manage. Yes, I have to prepare for the next lesson in the class. But yes, you really kicked my butt on getting your baselines scribed.
I go at my own pace. I’m fast, but I won’t rush my work to beat you. Sorry.
Accuracy at All Costs
Some students will agonize over every layout mark and every cut. They will produce flawless work, but they will have one joint complete when the rest of the class is done with the entire project. It’s hard to argue with good craftsmanship. It’s also hard to argue with “done.”
It’s Perfect, Right?
Some students make lots of mistakes. Then they show them to me and want me to say: “It’s OK. That’s not a mistake. It will go together fine.”
Sometimes that is actually the case. Other times I see Godzilla’s dentistry.
It’s Terrible, Right?
Other students think their work is the plague and are almost frozen by their conviction. They will do anything to delay finishing the project. They will learn Sanskrit if that will help them pare to a joint’s baseline. (It won’t.)
Have You Ever Seen THIS Before?
Some students make incredible circus-style mistakes. After 20 years of cutting dovetails, I thought I had seen them all. I haven’t. Students are ingenious error machines.
But please, keep it coming.
Tonight after finishing up class at The Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, most of the students and I went to Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria – perhaps the best pizza I have had in 10 years. We ate until we were about to puke.
Just another Thursday night.
— Christopher Schwarz