Educating America's Craftspeople

Woodworker's Guide to Dovetails by Ernie Conover $24.95

How to make this essential joint by hand or machine.

I have long thought that the bickering between hand cutting and the machine cutting was silly, for I use both methods as the situation dictates. Sure, I love to hand cut and I use this method for my finest furniture. However, a good dovetail jig brings speed efficiency and economy when I am pushed for time. We are blessed today with a host of good jigs that produces first-rate joinery.

Woodworker's Guide to Dovetails gives about equal coverage to hand cutting and machine cutting of this classic joint. I have always taught woodworking from a historical standpoint. Therefore, an immediate field trip was a journey to New Haven, CT for a visit to the Yale University Furniture Study. There I focused my camera on the dovetails of historically significant furniture. The curators were most helpful and I captured some great images detailing the structural and stylistic evolution of the dovetail in America since 1650. The best of these photos grace the History Section.

My publisher, Fox Chapel did a superb job of the layout and design on Woodworkers Guide to Dovetails. The book is a series of photoessays with clear photographs and good description of all phases of hand cutting. It covers through, half-blind and full-blind joints with special emphasis on solid wood drawer construction.