Craftsman Style Bookends: Episode 1

Laying out and cutting the dovetails makes a sensible starting point to the project. Paul shows how to cut them in and out of the vice, being careful not to tear out and to get crisp pin recesses. The pins can then be laid out in the other piece, then cut and the dovetails fitted.

You can view this video with Premium Membership.

⇒ Sign up here


Already have an account?

Login to view this episode

26 comments on “Craftsman Style Bookends: Episode 1

    • Hello Michael (and others),
      Sorry for the noise in the background. The site where we are based houses a number of woodworking businesses. Removing the noise in editing produced unwanted problems, but we are taking short and longer term steps to decrease and eliminate background noise.
      Thank you for your patience,
      Woodworking Masterclasses Team

    • The sander noise in the background is mildy distracting and annoying, but every time I hear it, it reminds me why I choose to use primarily hand tools. Much more enjoyable process and I’m sure everyone here would agree. Also I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed Paul’s bent chisel. But as he often says “it probably bothers you more than me” haha

  1. When driving the dovetails home there is, like Paul said, a possibility of splitting the wood. It happens to me on occasion and not only with dovetails but also with m&t. What can you do when this happens? And i mean splitting without breaking pieces off. My own answer would be to open it up a little and poure some super glue in it. Is that the right way to solve the mistake? Replacing a part is not always convenient to say the least.

    • this has happened to me in the past .i wouldn’t try open it up for super glue you can do more damage . with dovetails i would leave it ,especially if it still in tact.i have done so and the you can’t tell there is even a split .as for mortice and tenon i’am not so sure you don’t say if it is tenon or mortice but what i do know is if you are chopping a mortise into the pith area of your wood it can easily split a this is a high fracture area

    • I’ve done that myself as most everyone has. Personally, I have put a little preasure on it to open the split and forces wood glue into it and then clamped. I have also closed a split by clamping across when final assembly is done. When you force the peaces together it will inevitably force glue down into the split. Put a clamp across and leave it over night. It works for me!

  2. Thanks Paul. Could you please elaborate a bit more on the decision process you use to determine how many dovetails, how wide they are, and the spacing spacing between them? Also, you seem to prefer 1:7. I also see 1:6 and sometimes 1:4 talked about. Are there any pros and cons as to which you should use?

    • Hi Joseph.
      I belive 1:7 to be a compromise. Historical recommendation were either 1:6 or 1:8. Both with valid arguments. I think Paul mentions this in his YouTube video about the dovetail template. A slight change of pitch requires the same approach and technique. I think it is a matter of trying to appreciate the operation and aesthetic results.

    • I think it is a matter of preference and strength. Too wide of tails and it looks odd, too small creates a lot of extra work. I try to make the pins small enough that no one can mistake them for machine-cut :), but not so small that they might break during fitting or use. I use wider pins for softwood. Also, I use a divider to space them out rather than measure. Many woodworkers use this method; Rob Cosman has a demo online somewhere.

      • Hej Phil,
        With all known apologies for being blatantly brutally blunt: no, it does not make sense with less that one knows what those factors are and how they influence the choice of chopping method. Providing the information, together with the experience on how to overcome any obstacles, within a project using more difficult wood (cf Toolbox project) should make for a good class, I believe.
        Cheers /soj

If you are having problems with viewing or downloading the video, or you have any other technical problem, please don’t use the comments, instead contact us here.

Leave a Reply