Workbench and Dovetails

As regulars will know, I don’t have a workbench in my workshop – a shocking admission, a shocking omission.

(I do now have a Walko Workbench though, which if nothing else is convincing me even more that a workbench is a must-have workshop tool, whether it is the portable Walko, or a fullblown bench.)

I have a couple of motivations for trying my hand (so to speak) at handcut dovetails.  One is simply because I like having as well rounded a skillset as I can, and having a level of skill with handtools to complement my comfort with powered tools will only make me a better woodworker.  It also means that when it comes to using “the best tool for the job”, I’m not going to be limited to only choosing “the best tool for the job so long as it has a cable attached and a powerpoint nearby”

Another motivation actually gets back to my opening sentence.  I have always been particularly partial to workbenches that are a reflection of the craft of the woodworker, and the thing that really sets a workbench apart in my eyes is this attention to detail:

Dovetailed Tail Vice

Dovetailed Tail Vice

And you cannot hope to achieve a dovetail of that size using a router!

Al Navas from has been doing dovetails a lot longer than I have, and has been offering me some advice. One thing he has been promoting which caught my imagination is his practice ‘bucket’, and the concept of a dovetail a day – before doing any other work, he practices another one.  I wish I was able to do woodworking every day (or even every week), but the concept is still valid.

Al's Dovetail Practice Bucket

Al's Dovetail Practice Bucket

Of course when cutting a dovetail, once you have the angle right for one, wouldn’t it be nice to have all the cuts done simultaneously. And once again Veritas comes to the party:

Veritas Dovetail Gangsaw

Veritas Dovetail Gangsaw

Now sadly (or not), this was actually from their April Fool collection, but the problem with Veritas and their attempts at an April Fools joke, they take the concept and engineering so far that you end up looking at the tool thinking “it might have been intended as a joke, but……uh…..why not?”

3 Responses

  1. I say Keep Going, Stuart, and before you know it, you will have this under your full control!


  2. If you havent seen them, check out rob cosmans dvd’s. They are awesome.

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