Dovetail Foundations

$ 400.00
Fishtail chisel

Foundations of Traditional Woodworking Series

Dates: Contact me to schedule this two day class

Tuition: $400

Materials Fee: $25

Class Overview:
This class focuses on learning to hand cut half-blind and through dovetails through a combination of demonstrations and hands-on practice. Click here to learn about the other classes in this series.


The dovetail is an essential form of joinery for the hand tool woodworker. This joint is found in almost every traditional furniture form, and has become a mark of quality in woodworking. So it is important to be able to cut dovetails precisely and efficiently if your desire is to build furniture with hand tools.

In this class you’ll learn how to cut the two most common and useful kinds of dovetail joints – the through dovetail and the half-blind dovetail. We’ll go over the tools required to make the joint, show you how to lay the joint out symmetrically, and show you how to saw and chisel the mating parts of the joint so that things go together with a minimum of fussing. We’ll also show you how to correct some of the most common mistakes, because we all make them from time to time.

While tools will be available for your use, we encourage you to bring along your own if you have them. It is certainly best to learn to sharpen a chisel with your own tool, that way, it is easier for you to repeat the process when you are back in your own work space after the class is over. So, at a minimum, please bring a ½” chisel with you to use for the sharpening portion of the class. If you have one, a smaller chisel in ¼” to ⅜” will also be useful for cutting dovetails.

While there are no required prerequisites, this class has a strong focus on sawing precisely to a line with a hand saw. Therefore, if you are a complete beginner, or are not at least somewhat confident in your ability to use a hand saw, we recommend taking the Hand Saw Foundations class before this class.

Topics Covered

  • Dovetail Anatomy
  • Tools for Making Dovetails
  • Dovetail Layout
  • Sawing Precisely
  • How to Sharpen & Use a Chisel
  • Making Through Dovetails
  • Making Half-blind Dovetails
  • Using Dovetails to Make a Box
  • Using Dovetails to Hide Grooves

Course Features

  • Lessons 0
  • Quizzes 0
  • Duration 2 Days
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 0
  • Assessments Yes
Curriculum is empty

I'm a passionate woodworking enthusiast of over 30 years, with an interest in the methods of pre-industrial joiners and cabinetmakers. I'm a furniture maker, teacher, and author, and I share my thoughts and experiences with the goal of educating and inspiring others who are pursuing the craft of traditional woodworking. In addition to writing about and teaching traditional woodworking, I also build commission pieces for customers, and speak at woodworking shows and seminars.


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$ 400.00