Hand Cut Dovetails

Saturday, April 8, 2023
Presented by: Ken Bayer
831 Broadway Avenue
McKees Rocks, PA 15136
Virtual Meeting Available

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Date: April 8, 2023

8:30 AM: Coffee and Donuts

09:00 AM: Club Business

09:05 AM: Presentation


PLEASE NOTE: THIS MEETING STARTS AT 9:00 AM (Doors open at ~8:15, coffee and donuts will be ready at 8:30)

Sure, you own a premium cotton, two button-flap chest-pocket flannel shirt, but does that alone make you a woodworker? I say no. There are three basic skills that you have to master. Number one, you should be able to make a picture frame and have all four corners close with a minimum of wood putty; number two, you should be able to find and retrieve an arbor nut that you dropped in the sawdust that has accumulated in the base of your table saw; and number three, you should be proficient in cutting well-fitting hand-cut dovetail joints.  This handsome joint is strong, durable and will be admired for generations.  (I’ve never seen one of the Keno twins on the Antiques Roadshow pull out a drawer on a 200-year-old Philadelphia highboy and exclaim, “Look how those rabbets have held up all these years.”)  Yes, hand-cut dovetail joints are the mark of a true craftsman.

To that end, in April, the club will offer a hands-on class in cutting through-dovetail joints. There are many different methods of crafting these joints, but in April, Ken Bayer will demonstrate and teach his method.  Ken will recruit several members to assist him in helping/overseeing members as they try their hand at cutting this classic joint, and the WPW will provide the materials for all members who wish to give it a try.  We’re fortunate that Back Channel has enough bench space for plenty of people to work simultaneously, but it would be helpful (but NOT required) if you could bring to the class as many of the following items as possible.

Tools For Dovetail Class: Dovetail saw; Coping saw; Chisels (1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″) and a mallet; Marking knife and/or utility knife; Small square; Dovetail layout gauge, or a sliding bevel gauge; Marking gauge; Pencil; Small scale; Blue painter’s tape

Let’s not get silly here; if you don’t have blue painter’s tape, don’t go out and buy a roll, as we’ll be sure that there’s at least one roll, which is all we really need! The same thing goes for many of the other items — many people will have extras or can share their tools. Many of these tools are probably already in your kit, but please don’t let the absence of any tool stop you from participating. The most important items are the dovetail saw and chisels, and there will be extras of those as well. If you’re not sure if your saw is correct for cutting dovetails, please bring it to one of the meetings before April and let Ken assess it.  For those members who have more than one of any of the listed tools and would be willing to share them with fellow club members, you’re welcome to bring them to the meeting. Come and join the fun; flannel shirts are optional.

About the Presenter

Ken Bayer