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So this Dovetailing business?...

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Jacob

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Dovetailing has definitely become a top-ten hobby.
I suppose it's the one joint you need to be able to do if you want to promote yourself from competent joiner to beginner cabinet maker, not least because in something as basic as a chest of drawers there may be hundreds of the blighters.
 
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Jameshow

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I suppose it's the one joint you need to be able to do if you want to promote yourself from competent joiner to beginner cabinet maker, not least because in something as basic as a chest of drawers there may be hundreds of the blighters.
Thanks where do I pick up my certificate?🤣🤣

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thetyreman

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I love the secret mitred dovetail especially mitred, it's a very elegant joint, but a bit messed up how they are all hidden, I've only ever seen japanese craftsmen using it in cabinet making.
 

CStanford

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I suppose it's the one joint you need to be able to do if you want to promote yourself from competent joiner to beginner cabinet maker, not least because in something as basic as a chest of drawers there may be hundreds of the blighters.
I suppose it's the one joint you need to be able to do if you want to promote yourself from competent joiner to beginner cabinet maker, not least because in something as basic as a chest of drawers there may be hundreds of the blighters.

Certainly a necessary evil. All the more reason not to have them gratuitously showing everywhere one looks. It's all gotten a little old, just like the contrasting wood craze. Both, though, apparently have at least nine lives.
 
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JobandKnock

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An interesting blog. Hasn't got as far as the "Systainer" yet...
If they ever do dovetailed ones in wood, sign me up! What do you have against having a way to carry two or 3 tools in one hand at a time? A bit of price work up on the 15th floor would soon sort you out :ROFLMAO:;)
 

Jacob

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If they ever do dovetailed ones in wood, sign me up! What do you have against having a way to carry two or 3 tools in one hand at a time? A bit of price work up on the 15th floor would soon sort you out :ROFLMAO:;)
Actually I was sorted out with the classic suitcase style joiners box, dovetailed in wood, which is excellent size/shape for carrying stuff around buildings and through doors, up stairs etc. Designed for the job. One in each hand if necessary. Also on the job you can open the front opening drop down lid with everything in the box accessible and the lid there as a tray for all the bits and bobs.
There's loads of them still around, different trades had different sizes and details, first project on a C&G course etc.
Made to fit the tools e.g. overall length of a hand saw (clipped to the lid), width of a plane and an oil stone side by side etc.
I might start calling it "the thingtainer". :ROFLMAO:
PS come to think - it was our first venture into dovetails, having previously spent what felt like months doing half lap joint with bits of 2x1"
 
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JobandKnock

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Actually I was sorted out with the classic suitcase style joiners box.....
Which is completely and utterly useless for most trades these days. The job has changed a bit since the 1980s with the move towards power tools and higher productivity. In fact advances in cordless tool technology over the last 10 to 15 years have changed things faster than in the previous 40 or more years. That's why even those of us who made these "classic" tool have abandoned them in favour of open top totes, pull along boxes, and yes Systainers and their ilk. They are much more practical

That doesn't mean to say I don't appreciate the work that goes into a dovetailed joint

There's loads of them still around, different trades had different sizes and details, first project on a C&G course etc.
I doubt that I've seen anyone walk on site with one of those in more than 30 years other than the occasional French polishers (who tend to have a fairly minimal kit). It's because they no longer work for the majority of trades. I certainly abandoned mine long ago - too small, too inflexible in what it could carry, too small for power tools

Made to fit the tools e.g. overall length of a hand saw (clipped to the lid), width of a plane and an oil stone side by side etc.
No mention there of cordless tools, caulking guns, foam guns, nail guns, pinners, trim routers, etc. I see. The old ways are the best? The old ways are often unproductive and not a lot of use when you are dealing with modern materials like cement fibre board or sheet materials. Great for some things, but not so many things. Even when sistering joists, doing beam end replacements or replacing damaged king posts tools like angle drills and powered saws are more productive than hand tools. It's called progress ;)
 

D_W

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Dovetailing has definitely become a top-ten hobby.

If people were given a choice between being able to create truly inspired designs OR being able to cut flawless dovetails I think 65%+ would choose the latter.

I tend to run hot, cold, and in-between on James Krenov's work depending on my mood, but I have taken note that some of his most famous pieces had side-to-top joinery of simple dowels. He didn't want dovetails to interrupt the look and dowels were more than strong enough for the application. There is most definitely a message in there. He was certainly not challenged by the cutting of dovetails. He just didn't shoehorn them in wherever he could have.

I don't care much for krenov's furniture, either, but if he ties it together with dowels instead of dovetails, I can't see how it makes much difference. Maybe he's just bored with making dovetails.

The biggest problem for amateur woodworkers (at least that I can think of) is the fact that design is discussed when....never? I find warren a bit too married to "doing it" the way it was describe 200 years ago in every respect, but one of the things he said that was relatively worthwhile was the difference between early career introduction 200 years ago and now - that design would be hammered into someone's head as they're learning immediately - it wouldn't be something put off until later.

I can't see why it should be delayed - it literally changes what you make, what tools you use, how ho make things and what materials you use.

There'd be a whole lot less guitar top wood chests with purpleheart trim if people had some sense of lines and proportions.

Personally, I like cutting dovetails - it's relaxing as long as the stock being used isn't outright junk, but I enjoy hiding them, too.

Even leo fender's relatively inexpensive fender designs didn't violate basic design standards (neither did gibson's guitar, and when I did the legwork to read about their design, sure enough, they had professional design attention and weren't just throw together). People don't seem to care at this point that the necks are screwed on fenders (and there's nothing that I can think of where that's a problem, either - they're easily repairable and sound great).

Ted McCarty made the point that when they made a carved top set neck guitar (the les paul) with a permanent fitted joint, it was to give the market (important words he used) a "higher perceived quality" than fender's guitars.
 

Jacob

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Which is completely and utterly useless for most trades these days. The job has changed a bit since the 1980s with the move towards power tools and higher productivity. In fact advances in cordless tool technology over the last 10 to 15 years have changed things faster than in the previous 40 or more years. That's why even those of us who made these "classic" tool have abandoned them in favour of open top totes, pull along boxes, and yes Systainers and their ilk. They are much more practical

That doesn't mean to say I don't appreciate the work that goes into a dovetailed joint


I doubt that I've seen anyone walk on site with one of those in more than 30 years other than the occasional French polishers (who tend to have a fairly minimal kit). It's because they no longer work for the majority of trades. I certainly abandoned mine long ago - too small, too inflexible in what it could carry, too small for power tools


No mention there of cordless tools, caulking guns, foam guns, nail guns, pinners, trim routers, etc. I see. The old ways are the best? The old ways are often unproductive and not a lot of use when you are dealing with modern materials like cement fibre board or sheet materials. Great for some things, but not so many things. Even when sistering joists, doing beam end replacements or replacing damaged king posts tools like angle drills and powered saws are more productive than hand tools. It's called progress ;)
Yes OK!
Actually the only thing about "systainers" that irks me is the name and the hint of daft gadgetry.
What's wrong with "box" or "festool box"? And a suitably designed wooden box ("thingtainer"? :rolleyes: ) would probably do just as well and be cheaper.
 

Jameshow

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Yes OK!
Actually the only thing about "systainers" that irks me is the name and the hint of daft gadgetry.
What's wrong with "box" or "festool box"? And a suitably designed wooden box ("thingtainer"? :rolleyes: ) would probably do just as well and be cheaper.
Fashion, Jacob fashion a notion you and I struggle to grasp!!🤣🤣🤣
 

JobandKnock

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They aren't the only ones, Jacob. Bosch went to using the "L-Boxx" (a commercially available alternative), deWalt created their "Tough System" (compatible with some Stanley products) whilst Milwaukee have their "Pack-Out" system. It isn't fashion - it's just an easier way to lug round the increasing amount of stuff we seem to need - or a modern version of the journeyman's chest if you like (only modular). Or do you think that the standard shipping container is a fashion item, @Jameshow ?
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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I don't care much for krenov's furniture, either, but if he ties it together with dowels instead of dovetails, I can't see how it makes much difference. Maybe he's just bored with making dovetails.

The biggest problem for amateur woodworkers (at least that I can think of) is the fact that design is discussed when....never? I find warren a bit too married to "doing it" the way it was describe 200 years ago in every respect, but one of the things he said that was relatively worthwhile was the difference between early career introduction 200 years ago and now - that design would be hammered into someone's head as they're learning immediately - it wouldn't be something put off until later.


.....

There is a time for dovetails, and a time for not. When Krenov used dowels on cases, it was a deliberate decision to avoid adding a distraction to the flow of the figure.

You do not have to identify with his designs. There are pieces which I love, and pieces that leave me indifferent. I do enjoy the quiet and calm that surrounds his furniture. He reached the soul of many of us, and inspired a love of the wood, encouraged our passion to be expressed in our own designs and visions.

In this he was very, very different from the Paul Sellers and Rob Cosmans of this world, who teach what to do rather than how to see.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

D_W

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I'm not sure how dovetails would cause interruption in flow of figure - they can be hidden.

My point is they can be hidden and in the case that they're hidden or not used in favor of dowels and a piece looks the same and doesn't come apart, I don't see a difference.

The reason I don't know more about krenov is specifically due to not ever seeing a piece of furniture that I consider attractive - how he makes the designs is kind of unimportant in my book unless they fall apart (but even then, that's his business. The reality is few of us will build anything that falls apart).
 

Cooper

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They look excellent.
I'm going to throw my hat in the ring by saying that a gauge or square was not used for cutting dovetails by joiners in the past.
I have to say I haven't used a template since we had tinplate ones in first year at technical school. I've always marked the top of the tails and shoulder line and set the work at an angle so the cut is square and vertical. This is straight forward when you mark pins from tails but I can't quite get my head around relying on cutting square if you start by making the pins first as I understand some do. But I suppose once a technique is automatic its hard to imagine an alternative?
 
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