Google Analytics Alternative

Simple Method to Improve Your Woodworking

Hand cut dovetails

9 drawers, 84 dovetails

I was cleaning up my shop last night trying to move the detritus of my closet chair making personality out of the way so the traditional cabinetmaker could resurface. I had every drawer in the tool cabinet open and when I looked across the shop I got this great angle of 9 dovetailed drawers. I thought I would post this as a follow up to something I wrote a few weeks ago about focused repetitionto build your skills. I suppose if I thought about it hard enough I could count the number of drawers I have dovetailed now. It’s not an impressively large number but it is big enough that I would need to think for a while. The point being that I don’t even think about cutting dovetails anymore. Build a chest of drawers and tackle all the drawers at once and you will have that skill licked. There will always be room for improvement and you may need a warm up period before you are cranking out flawless joints each time. I always start with the bottom drawer on a chest so by the time I get to the top, more visible drawers everything is tight as a drum.

Continuous Arm Windsor Chair

Shape and refine 12 spindles from a log and your drawknife and spokeshave skills will improve dramatically

So in case it hasn’t been said enough by now, just get started. The only way to get better is to put blade to wood, then repeat. The tools are irrelevant as long as they are sharp. Before last week, my drawknife skills were sketchy at best and I would never even think of the drawknife as a finished surface tool. After spending more than 40 hours on a shavehorse with drawknife in hand, my perspective has changed dramatically. Once we get past all the tool reviews and sharpening hoopla, it really is just about putting in the time doing the woodworking to improve your skills. Funny, seems there is a simple answer after all on how to become a better woodworker.

Leave a Comment: