Questions answered #4 – 8-minute box dovetails



Can you post a close up picture of those dovetails, a good clear close up shot.


I took pics today and will show and tell tonight,later. You guys must remember I am a working craftsman making furniture for my living. I am not hanging out. I put in 8-10 hours a day in the shop making furniture and designing pieces as well as write for magazines and my books. My editor was after me this week because he needed January’s article in this week. Phew!
I start a six day workshop with 9 students tomorrow but everyone will still be sending in their emails and I try to answer every one myself.

Here are the four dovetailed corners I cut in 8minutes and 20seconds head on. I should say that I have consistently said that these are suitable for a kitchen drawer or a tool tote for the garden and not representative of fine work for furniture. My goal is to get real woodworking going from a craftsman’s point of view. I am not selling anyone anything. This is for everyone to think through and decide for themselves their own economy of work. You don’t need a router to be fast and accurate and this is the fastest of all methods known. Remember; no laying out, no jigs or guides, no cords, wrenches router bits or routers and no health and safety issues whatsoever. It’s just an alternative and with time you can compete against my times and beat them.































And here is the finished box with no router or power machine used at all. All roundovers with a regular #4 1/2 thin ironed smoothing plane only in under two minutes for the lid!

It’s just a rough box remember!





  1. I was wondering if you ever used a marking gauge instead of a pencil. Would that my “rough box” come out as nicely as yours in twice the time.

    1. Eyeballing comes with practice and so too planing square, straight and parallel. it always was a stupid thing to expect 13-year old boys to do this in school. We spent more time ruining wood than doing things that would really help us understand wood and not much has changed today. These intuitiv skills come way after developing manipulative skills and should be expected after weeks of making some things much less demanding like spoons and spatulas and cutting boards and such. Persevere and you’ll get it. Don’t expect to much of yourself and more still don’t expect too little. Enjoy in the process.


      1. Many years ago I did a training course with Telecom Austalia. I do not remember much of what we were taught but one thing stood out. When we were learning to terminate wires, the Instructor insisted that we take our time to do it correctly. I still remember his words.
        ” Take the time to do right, practise will make you faster, but if you learn to do it wrong no amount of practise will make you do it right”
        Every time I get impatient when learning a new skill I remember those words and try to slow down.

  2. One of the best things about this blog is the high resolution pictures. I right click on an image to open it in a separate tab of whatever browser I’m using. After each page finishes loading the cursor becomes a pointer with a “+” sign so you can click on the picture and zoom in on details. 

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