Dovetails started out as a practical solution to keep drawers from coming apart as people tugged and pushed them in and out. Today, they still serve that purpose. But, in an era when there are also mechanical drawer slides and machine-assisted ways to join wood at right angles, hand-cut dovetails are celebrated as a code for fine craftsmanship.
Learning how to make these joints is a sure way to build your woodworking skills, because the process involves the fundamental steps common to all hand-cut joinery. In this class, you will learn how to design, lay out and mark dovetails, and how to cut them accurately and efficiently using hand saws and chisels. You'll also learn the tricks to getting them to fit perfectly.
There won't be enough time in this class to complete a project, but you will go home with one or two completed corners, which you can use to refresh your memory later about which parts to cut and which to leave. It's surprisingly easy to get that mixed up if you haven't cut dovetails for a while, so having a reference piece can save you a lot of grief.
- Ages 14+ are welcome.
- Open to beginners, but prior hand-tool experience is recommended. Related skills — such as how to sharpen tools — won't be covered in this class.
Please click here for BARN's current COVID-19 health & safety protocols.
You must wear safety glasses and closed-toe shoes. We recommend bringing your own safety glasses.
BARN is committed to accessibility. Tuition Assistance is available - click here to fill out the simple application before registering for a class. For those who might need physical assistance, please learn about BARN's Companion Program here.
Instructor: Paul Kury. Paul studied woodworking at Lonnie Bird’s School of Fine Woodworking in Dandridge, Tennessee, and has been an active woodworker for more than 40 years. His preference is 18th century furniture. Paul also volunteers as a woodworking safety monitor at BARN.