Beyond Piston-Fit Drawers and Perfect Dovetails – With Saw, Plane & Chisel

Beyond Piston-Fit Drawers and Perfect Dovetails – With Saw, Plane & Chisel

 In Product Spotlight, Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs, Woodworking Books

Editor’s note: The following post is from Zachary Dillinger out of his book, With Saw, Plane & Chisel. I’ve wanted to share more of this remarkable text for some time, so we’ve arranged for Zachary to share several excerpts over the next month.

He’s also a volunteered to send a signed copy to a randomly selected winner. To enter, leave a comment on this post. The giveaway will close on Tuesday, March 13 at midnight.

Enjoy! – David Lyell


“I have written this book in a manner that reflects the techniques I used to make the furniture projects herein. I cannot pretend to have provided an exhaustive account of all aspects of the monumental scope of this historic craft. I want to make the craft accessible to everyone, to clarify the confusing and contemporize the historic so that you can begin to enjoy the craft as much as I do. I hope that you will take the information and techniques I provide here, challenge yourself to seek out and experiment with different techniques and ideas, and ultimately come up with your own preferred way of working. As with many things in life, there is no one right way to do anything in woodworking. In my opinion, there is no wrong way to do anything as long you achieve the goal you set out to achieve without compromising your intent. If you fail, try again. If you succeed completely and easily, you didn’t challenge yourself enough and you should try again.”

The bottom line is this: I’m asking you to question your own definition of the word craftsmanship and to expand your skillset. This is not a call to do poor work, something which was no more acceptable in the period than it is today. I challenge you to try for something more esoteric than simple “perfect” dovetails and “piston fit” drawers. I hope you will study the pieces of the past and see them for what they are: snapshots of a moment in time which can teach us of the men and women who lived, worked, and died in this country more than 200 years ago.”

– Zachary Dillinger


With Saw, Plane & Chisel documents the hand-tool-only construction of six pieces of classic American period furniture, spanning the major styles from the 1690s through to the mid-19th century. This will include details on how to do veneer work, inlay, painted decoration, etc. Finally, this book offers a brief look at the historical development of these styles and the European influences from which they evolved. Woodworkers will gain a strong understanding of how period furniture was made, how that influenced the development of those styles, and how to use this information to make excellent, realistic period furniture today.

Available at ShopWoodworking.com!

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Showing 19 comments
  • Jeremy

    Too late?

  • B Livicker

    Looks like a good book. Thanks!

  • iampapabear

    Looks like a very interesting read!

  • woodworkjay

    Winning, reading and using this book would help me improve my hand tool skills.

  • josephtjohnson

    Hand-tool only works for me.

  • Woody

    I’d love a copy of the book.

  • ghumphrey

    I would appreciate receiving a copy.
    Thank you.

  • mwilt

    I would like a copy.

  • JADobson

    Would love a copy. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • David

    Sign me up. Thanks!

  • harrison17

    Excited to see more excerpts, and would love a copy!

  • mrmumma

    Amazing to think of what was accomplished without power tools, that many of use struggle to make with all the modern advantages.

  • Justin Geiman

    Looking forward to more excerpts from this book.

  • Opivy101

    Looks like an interesting read.

  • Loxmyth

    Sounds like a very worthwhile volume. … Ye Gods, I need to start spending time in the shop….

  • Riven Joiner

    I will definitely find a place in my woodworking library for this one!

  • t.e.curtis

    Would love a copy.

  • jqlouie

    I would refer to myself as a recovering physician, but really I’m an Arcane Craftsman who studies and endeavors to build old style Chinese furniture.

  • kaw-liga

    I’ve been wanting to get a copy of this book.

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