Chris Schwarz's Blog

Understanding Early Joinery and Drawboring

Few modern people understand drawboring as intimately as John Alexander , the author of “Build a Chair From a Tree.” He and his students have drawbored more than 1,000 joints (with only six failures) during his classes on chairmaking.

In 1996, Alexander and Peter Follansbee, the joiner at Plimoth Plantation, published an article in a Chipstone publication about the 17th century workshop of John Savell in Braintree, Mass. This small shop turned out some important work that still survives. And Alexander and Follansbee examine it from a woodworker’s perspective, discussing 17th century stock preparation and joinery. The article is copiously illustrated with many eye-opening photos (check out the one that shows the nailed dovetails especially).

The complete text is an excellent read and is available free on Chipstone’s website.

- Christopher Schwarz

One thought on “Understanding Early Joinery and Drawboring

  1. dave brown

    Hi Christopher,

    I need to make some dowels for drawboring and I was wondering how you make yours. I’m building a bed out of maple and I’d like to use maple dowels. I could buy maple dowels, but there’s no guarantee that the grain in them would be straight. I could also use a doweling plate. I like the looks of the new veritas dowel and tenon cutters but their smallest size it 3/8”.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks!
    Dave

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