Oak Bay, NB, CA
Cheating may be a crude term and I would concede that in contemporary woodworking, a jig is yet another tool. Yet the questions that you preface your post with suggest you have lost the vision of why we need skill and craftsmanship to make things! Do you honestly believe that the readers of FWW don't care and should have the right to a view on the quality and integrity of how something was made?
I might be as provocative as you Matt by suggesting your post is hubris, you were indeed hurt by that pejorative term! Whilst you might be a journeyman in your own right, that unsupported challenge was a crude insult. Do I think you are a cheat, No! But I think a more critical response that recognises the aims and objectives of any modern journeyman, should confront their own personal integrity when learning new skills. Oh and there is more to making, than just concerning oneself with beauty! Unless you are just yanking our chain?
I would guess that we are all guilty from time to time by concentrating on machines, tools and techniques. Yet the very material that we work with is so often misunderstood and taken for granted. I have a passion for wood and would welcome Hendrik's latest offering as an educational resource and inspiration. Thank you for the opportunity to cherish this prize.
I am uncomfortable with your sweeping assertion "Dovetail drawers are overrated" and consequently I think you are promoting a false argument. The many responses that fail to address your main question would appear to support my assertion.
The Dovetail is technically a superior method of joinery and to many, it has a pleasing aesthetic. Fine WoodWorking has carried many articles which respect both the technical craftsmanship and the creative use of the Dovetail. Such luminaries as Christian Becksvoort, Gary Rogowski and Carl Swensson spring to mind as being particularly lucid and pragmatic in their writings and opinions regarding the Dovetail.
I thought that Hendrik Varju's article in FWW208 was thoughtful and posed some well balanced opinions on the merits of Dovetails and Pinned Rabbets. Using the Pinned Rabbet in his project was wholly appropriate, it technically satisfied the stresses and strains of that piece of furniture and was an extremely attractive solution.
My own view is that the Dovetail is not overated but for the less skilled woodworker it can be intimidating, especially if it is to be cut by hand. In a personal project that required a "Fine Craft" outcome I would rise to the challenge and hand cut the joints. If I was making a series of built-in cabinets, whatever the application and the job required Dovetail joints then I would pragmatically resort to power tools and a jig.
I try hard to balance form and function in my woodworking projects. I am never afraid to try something new and that is why I subscribe to FWW, it provides a great inspiration and all those articles have become a wonderful resource to draw upon. Keep up the good work!
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