The Five-Minute Dovetail
Practice hand-cut dovetails without the pressure in this easy exercise to strengthen your hand-tool skills
Furniture maker and Fine Woodworking contributing editor Gary Rogowski, demonstrates his warm-up exercise for hand-cut dovetails. The five minute dovetail (sometimes referred to as a three-minute dovetail, depending on who’s holding the saw) doesn’t have to be perfect, according to Rogowski, but it’s a great way to help people realize how much of woodworking is learned by trial and error and by repetition. It’s also a great way to demystify a dovetail joint. No tape measures, squares, sliding bevels, or marking gauges allowed: just a pencil to lay out your tails and half pins, a dovetail saw to cut the joint, a coping saw to remove the waste and a chisel and mallet for chopping.