Hand Tools Archive

Tails or pins first? Nurture or nature?

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Not looking for personal advice. Is there a cultural factor?

Background: Our club has some good woodworkers so I was far from first on the list to ask to demonstrate through dovetails, but apparently I was the first to agree. For background I would like to say something about the pin vs tail first choice. Indeed I don't get out much for I have only encountered three people that did pins first- Klause(video), Kirby (book) , and Alan Batty who worked building drawers in an English furniture factory, who when asked, acted as though there wasn't any alternative, Maybe there isn't for their tiny pins. So, from my limited data this choice appears to be derived from European trained vs home grown in the US, for I have never met anyone else that did pins first.

Is there anything to this limited observation that tails first is more a US trained choice?

Are there advantages of pins first, other than the obvious difficulty of marking the tiny pins characteristic of English drawers?

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