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Woodcraft of Austin

The great thing about running a national woodworking school is that Bob Van Dyke has seen the techniques of every different instructor who has taught at his Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking – and there have been a lot of them over the past 16 years!

In woodworking- like in most things- there is no one “right” way to accomplish a task- there are numerous different ways to do the same thing and that is what this demo is all about.

Van Dyke will not be telling you what he thinks is the “best” way- that is for you to decide- What he will show you are different techniques picked up from a number of different furniture makers- many of them regular Fine Woodworking Magazine contributors, and a few he has come up with himself.

Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages, but the important thing is that they all work well.

Starting off, Van Dyke will highlight the everyday stumbling blocks that he sees students coming up against all the time and, more importantly, how to get around them. Essential skills like using a cutting gauge correctly, paring to (and not beyond!) a line, cutting straight lines with a handsaw, using a sharp chisel and even simple layout techniques are crucial to successful dovetails!

This demo is much more than just cutting dovetails by hand. “Machine assisted” dovetails give you the hand-cut look- i.e. complete flexibility in layout, but they remove many of the variables that contribute to inaccurate or sloppy dovetails.

Combining machine techniques with hand tools can also greatly increase your speed when faced with cutting a number of dovetail joints. Techniques using the table saw, a trim router, bandsaw, and scroll saw will contribute to your arsenal of dovetail techniques and more importantly will contribute to your understanding of what is important to your success in cutting this essential joint.

Router dovetail jigs like the Porter Cable or Leigh jig will NOT be a part of this demo- Bob has no idea how to use those tools…


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