I’ve noted before that I am terrible at hand-cutting dovetails, and so avoid it whenever possible. Not this weekend, though.

While I do handwork whenever necessary, I tend to go for machines when I work. Nowhere is that more true than for dovetails. I’ve admitted in the past that I am terrible at cutting dovetails by hand, truly awful, and so I generally rely on a router to cut them. I’ve also noted in the past, however, that cutting dovetails by hand is a skill that I’m going to develop “one of these days.”

Well, those days are coming up this weekend. At the moment I have no project of any kind on my to-do list, and expect it to stay that way for about the next week. So I’ve decided that with a bit of extra time on my hands I’m just going to practice cutting some dovetails.

My plan isn’t to just cut a bunch in some stock for the literal practice, but to make a small dovetailed box. No goal for the box itself, but it seems to me that the practice will be more meaningful if I actually make something while practicing. Even if it turns out terrible (a possibility), I can still put the box to use in the shop. Not only will it serve two functions – practice and storage – but it will also stand as a reminder that I’m finally tackling an area where my skills are weak. I’m thinking that it can only encourage me to practice further.

Wish me luck.



  • ralph boumenot says:

    Got a pic to share?

  • A.J. Hamler says:

    Not yet.

  • Mike C. Smith says:

    Hello A.J.
    When it comes to dovetails, I thought, how hard can it be. I have watched dozens and dozens of YouTube persons showing us how easy it is to do, so it just can’t be that hard. However, in my case, I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. One of these days I expect to be able to do this and I keep cut up practice boards just so that I can practice this. I’m a firm believer in practice, practice, practice and I’ll finally be able to do nice hand-cut dovetails. I’m sure you will get this to the point where you will be giving us lessons. Good Luck

  • Mark Belanger says:

    Great call. Nothing is more satisfying than completing dovetails.

    Get sharp!

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