Messages Archive

Re: Interpreting advice from professionals

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
The first place I look for advice on how to do some woodworking operation is a shop doing it to make a living. If the shop is successful then one can reliably conclude what they do is quick and reliable. But questions remain. Are they doing exactly what I need to do and if not are the differences significant? Will my skill level and available tools enable me to do what they do? If not, is it worth learning?

Bill, I agree with learning from those who are successful. However, I have done enough dovetails to also recognise that this method is for those very confident in chopping the baselines perfectly square each time. The difference between someone who does this every day, and much of the day, is quite different from the weekend warrior, who may dovetail a few occasions each year.

I have used the technique you described (although the tail board was positioned flat on the bench). I have done it successfully much of the time. However the tails I punched out are in softish wood (for drawer sides) and the baselines are generally 3/8" to 1/4" wide.

(reference - the world's most boring dovetailing video - at 20:28 ...

My experience here says that this is a risky technique. It takes little more time to control the chop by going half way from each side, and this is not wasted time when the result is more certain.

Speed may be important for a professional shop, but it means little to me if I am going to make mistakes. My speed in working is pretty decent ... for an amateur. I am not a professional and never will be. I aim, however, to be the best amateur I can be, and this includes working as efficiently as possible. No doubt this will keep improving, but I am not going to try and recommend that one emulate a professional without first developing the intermediary skills.

In my opinion, this is better:

Regards from Perth


© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.