My day dovetailing

I will never understand how a man can work making joints for almost half a century and still enjoy every cut. My hands have hand cut well over 120,000 joints; large, small, massive and tiny. I have no excuse for loose fits or gaps and make them rarely. The important thing is this. When I was 14 years old I knew I was to be a woodworker. That thought and the desire became my vocational calling. I have never once regretted the decision I made. My hope is that through my present work I can continue helping others, hundreds upon hundreds, find their vocational calling, regardless of what they do to earn their living,

My work today was simple in the doing of it and I felt the usual peace as I worked the wood and tools in synchrony. The wood peeled away layer by layer under each chisel cut to separate the wanted from the unwanted. The recesses closed around the tails, gracefully receiving pressure imposed by the walls. Judicious cuts never come from the machine for they make no allowance for variance in the structure and fibre of the stuff we work. Compression is exactness that cannot be measured with scales or the rule you see. Spruce and pine, oak and mahogany all measure differently and we know the limits only by the doing. Too little pressure and looseness remains forever within the joint. Too much pressure leaves an unseemly split.

Above shows an answer you might not know of in the obsession for tail vices and bench dogging systems. Try it for many situations and adjust it for even more.

My drawers are glued up and clamped for the night. I love closing the workshop door and walking home “content”.

One Comment

  1. Huh after doing a dado across the inside of some dovetailed box frames with a little 1/4″ chisel and it being a fiddly ordeal I suddenly had that plane/router/hybrid looking gadget you’re using click in my head as something I want but don’t technically need just yet but find myself looking at my tool wall and pondering rearranging stuff to fit one in at some point now.

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