Gary once described cutting dovetails by hand as a meditation, and I find this to be true.
It's a personal undertaking within the craft - everyone has their own way of doing even as they follow in the same techniques and steps, and there are many different methods to work. The experience is always a little different depending on the wood, the size, the number, the day, the mood... but always requires patience and focus.
This week our students began their practice of this ancient way of joining wood.
Alberto has been cutting dovetails in Garry Oak - British Columbia's only native oak species and a super beautiful wood. Now in his Upward Spiral, he is working on a reproduction of JK's pipe cabinet. This week he put his carcass together. Nice work Alberto!
On Thursday I showed the students how I do it, a little differently from Robert. This demo brought my own attention to how my way has evolved with experience, a nice insight. My familiarity with my tools has grown and my connection to them is natural joy... the satisfaction of a sweet fit still a great pleasure!
The students continued their toolmaking journeys with a set of tools specific to dovetailing. Each one made a small wooden bevel gauge for laying out dovetails, a small brass hammer, diagonal sticks, a paring chisel, and a single bevel knife. They learned to anneal hardened steel so that it can be repurposed and shaped easily, then to harden and temper it to hold an edge.
Thank you all for a wonderful week of dovetails.