Hand-cut dovetails

I describe Lee Valley seminars to people as “field trips for adults”. It’s a time where you get to abandon your normal daily schedule and do something awesome for a day.

Last week I participated in a seminar at Lee Valley learning how to create hand-cut dovetails. Dovetails are a popular woodworking joint known for their strength and beauty. They are often found on fine woodworking items and most commonly seen on the sides of drawers. These days dovetails are usually cut using power tools such as routers and jigs for spacing. Cutting them by hand, however, involves patience, accuracy and a bit of elbow grease.

Thanks to John Reeder and Lee Valley for putting this seminar on. I had a lot of fun and hope to make something using my newly learned skills one day.

Lee Valley sign Preparing to cut dovetailsCutting dovetailsDovetails and toolsDovetails and chiselDovetails

Towards the end of the day, some of us even got to take a stab at creating half-blind dovetails. This type of dovetail shows the joinery only on one face, and it’s most popularly used on drawers. This half-blind dovetail joint took me about an hour to chisel and complete.

Half blind dovetails