Hand tool – dovetail class

This was a class about using hand tools, to cut a dovetail joint.

This was really my first real woodworking class.   I attended Woodworking in America last year and had finally started to understand doing woodworking, using hand tools,  as it has been done for at least 200 years.

This was a hands on, dovetail class, taught by a master craftsman and teacher, Rob Cosman.  The objective of the class was to make a hand cut dovetail joint.    There were about 8 of us  in the class.  The class was two full days last weekend.   We all worked hard and really wanted to succeed.   We all made mistakes that Rob told us how to avoid.

Rob reviewed all of the aspects of hand tools.

  • Basic plane knowledge
  • Sharpening – The Cosman method.
  • Marking tools, including dividers, scribes, dovetail gauges and red ballpoint pens ( it’s a Cosman thing ).
  • Dovetail saws
  • Chisels

After showing us that he could cut a perfect dovetail in about 5 minutes that would fit “off the saw”, we all begin our own dovetail.   Two pieces of wood and our hand tools.

So many things you body has to learn.   Much of hand tool work is simply muscle training.   How to stand, how to hold the tool, how to move…

It was very gratifying to walk out of the class with a very respectable dovetail.   The larger lesson from the class was all of the parts that make of the hand tool movement in America today.




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