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Try New Techniques for Some Humble Pie

8 years ago

I feel pretty good about my dovetail joints.  Occasionally I mess one up beyond repair, but for the most part they come out tight fitting and without gaps.  I can cut pins or tails first and really change it up depending on the situation.  For instance when making drawers I like to do tails first so I can gang the drawer sides together then cut them all at once.  For carcass work I prefer pins first probably because that is the way Chuck Bender taught me.

My Hand Tool School members are probably already getting tired of hearing me say that options makes you a better woodworker.  Forcing yourself to try something a new way and learning multiple ways to accomplish the same task arms you for any circumstance and makes you better prepared.  So it was with this mantra that I decided to try Allan Breed‘s method of dovetailing as highlighted on the second episode of the Rough Cut Show.

Allan is a master woodworker with a school up in Maine and Tommy visited him to talk about cutting dovetails.  Allan shocked Tommy and his audience when he cut his tails with the saw hanging down from his pinky and cutting vertical and down into the wood from above.  It is a technique that is hard to describe so I made a video of it that I will release later this week.

Alan Breed dovetail technique first tryIn the interest of being honest and authentic, I wanted to share with you my first attempt at this strange technique.  The video you will see is the result with 5 previous attempts and refining of the body mechanics.  The picture on the right is what happened the very first time.  I am humbled and knocked out of my dovetail comfort zone.  If you look closely you will see the settlement of Anasazi Indians living in the caves between those tails.  Looking at this now I am not sure how learning this technique will make be a better woodworker, but it sure does help to kick you in the butt and make you realize just how much you still have to learn.

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