Yes, the hand cut dovetail joint is still alive and well. Oh sure — in today’s world of power tools and gadgets, many woodworkers and production shops use jigs combined with routers, bandsaws, tablesaws, or purpose-built dovetailing machines to enable quick and repeatable results. But there remain very good reasons to cut dovetails by hand and many advocates who continue to practice this traditional skill.
No matter what your experience level (whether you’ve tried making dovetails by hand in the past or you are interested in learning something new) there are secrets to getting easier and better results. In this complete two part tutorial, I introduce to you Cabinetmaker Craig Vandall Stevens’s systematic approach. In this “Part One” video, Craig masterfully reveals his logical and precise steps to cutting elegant dovetail pins, quickly and efficiently. You’ll learn how to layout the pins using a marking gauge and bevel jig; saw cut to the lines; and cleanly chop out the waste with a chisel — all with minimal risk and trouble. Master the handmade dovetail. (9.5 Minute Woodworking Video – Part 1 of 2)
For part two in this dovetailing series go to: How to Hand Cut Precision Dovetails: The Tails (Part 2 of 2)
Marking gauges are used to create layout lines for hand cut dovetails, mortise & tenon joinery, and other types of high-quality furniture and cabinet joints. There are many types of marking gauges, but the principles of their use are similar. The goal: create precise and repeatable cuts or scoring marks on wood surfaces that can then be used as reference lines for chisel, hand saw, and/or hand plane cuts. In this concise video overview, cabinetmaker Craig Vandall Stevens will show you how to get optimal layout lines on your next project. (2.5 Minute Woodworking Video)
A shop-made Japanese style marking gauge is used in this video, but the methods and principles shown can be applied to western style tools as well.
This video is the second half of a two part series on dovetail joinery. In Part One, How To Hand Cut Precision Dovetails: (The Pins) furniture maker Craig Vandall Stevens demontrates his preferred method for cutting this joint, first by cutting the “pins”. In this final segment Craig completes the dovetailing process by cutting the “tails” to fit the already prepared pins. (9 Minute Woodworking Video – Part 2 of 2)