Hand Tools

Response To:
Re: metrics ()

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Eliot, what you write exposes a common issue in woodworking. Probably one that ALL of us have experienced.

You have to be patient. Mastering a technique takes time and practice. You look at the splendid work that Bill shows here (and it is a wonderful piece, both in design and construction), become overwhelmed, and believe that this level of work is beyond your chisels. But it is not .. not if you are patient and persevere. I think that perseverance is the quality that separates those that succeed and those that do not.

Bill is 200 years old and has been cutting dovetails for 180 of those. Warren was born in 1752, and still uses his original set of chisels (although the blades have been replaced twice). I have been working with my hands all my life, rebuilding cars, surfboards and windsurfers, houses, and eventually woodworking the past 30+ years. I began dovetailing 20+ years ago.

One of the recent pieces I built was an underbench cabinet. The case is Merbau, which is very hard and has no give at all. There are multiple through dovetails each end .. plus, each corner is also mitred …

Each side went together straight off the sawing and chiseling (no adjustments) …

There is no magic here, just the accumulation of skill that developed from time and perseverance with some really bad, then mediocre, and finally decent results.

Sharp chisels/saws and working to a line are the two basic ingredients. Add in good vision, and work holding. Finally comes technique, which develops only with practice. Chisels and saws may be purchased, experience cannot.

Regards from Perth


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