Practice Makes Perfect

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Don posted 10-03-2007 09:11 AM 8144 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I saw OutPutter's stool and viewed the dovetail joints, it caused me to reminisce about the first time I was successful making hand cut dovetails. I spent a few hours practicing using Pine and Tassie Oak. I must say, it’s much easier to hand cut a dovetail when using hardwood that it is using softwood.

Here’s a photographic record of that day four years ago.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

9 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5325 days

#1 posted 10-03-2007 01:07 PM

I think you stated in a comment once that you should just sit and practice, practice, practice.. making tons of dovetails, just make them over and over again until it becomes “easy”.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5127 days

#2 posted 10-03-2007 01:55 PM

Morning Don,
That is probably a trip down memory lane for many of us. I know that I don’t use hand cuts often enough to keep my hand in. The machines have made it too easy to get decent looking results. There was a time in my life when practice was very important to me becasue my life depended on it. A wise trainer told me this; ” Practice will not make perfect, only PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect.” In other words you must pratice correctly to perfect a skill. Good blog.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Fingersleft's profile


71 posts in 5061 days

#3 posted 10-03-2007 02:26 PM

Hi Don,

Thanks for the great photos. Due to the fact that there is no audio, we didn’t get the chance to hear some of the cussing.

Like many of us, I also spent some time learning how to cut dovetails by hand. And finally, after a number of strange mistakes, and then some less strange mistakes, I finally got a set of tails and pins that looked like they had something to do with each other. I’m sure some of my early pencil lines moved by themselves. Also, during some of my early attempts, the pins seemed to change sizes (sometimes dramatically) after I cut them.

The learning experience convinced me of the value of dovetail/router jigs. All of a sudden, they didn’t seem quite as expensive. Yet every now and then, even using the jig, I’m sure the router bit somehow changes sizes all by itself in the middle of the procedure.

Hmmm ?! Must have a gremlin or two in my shop.

-- Bob

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5144 days

#4 posted 10-03-2007 02:26 PM

Hi Don;

Been there!

Tom’s comments about “perfect practice makes perfect”, is one I haven’t heard before, but I’ve witnessed it many times.

When I’ve made suggestion to older fella’s often the comment will be something like,” listen sonny, I’ ve been doing this for thirty years”.

My response is usually along the lines of : “don’t you think it’s time to start doing it right”? That’s if I like the guy.!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5201 days

#5 posted 10-03-2007 04:05 PM

Nice Don. I spent hours and hours struggling with handcut through dovetails using some crappy finger jointed pine. I just about gave up until I tried with some walnut and maple scraps. The biggest obstacle that I thought I had to overcome was the shoulder cuts…I wrecked more test cuts cutting a crappy shoulder. Then, well, I got better.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 5476 days

#6 posted 10-03-2007 06:12 PM

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Don! That last one was definitely a keeper!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Obi's profile


2214 posts in 5402 days

#7 posted 10-03-2007 10:51 PM

I Love Lee’s comment about “don’t you think it’s time to start doing it right?” And the dovetails are very nice.

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5565 days

#8 posted 10-04-2007 02:53 AM

I’ve not tried one, but I was at a wood show and Frank Klaus was demonstration how to cut them. My son David was helping him.

When he was don then Frank autographed it for him. He promptly got home and colored it all with green magic markers.

So much for memories.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5479 days

#9 posted 10-04-2007 04:21 AM

Just like home made cookies…even the bad ones are good.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics