Passed my dovetail test, so I’m saying hello

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Forum topic by Steve Diogo posted 01-16-2014 08:09 AM 1619 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steve Diogo

89 posts in 2103 days

01-16-2014 08:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: handtools dovetails beginners

Hi all. Just a quick note to introduce myself as a new member. I just started working wood about six months ago and quickly developed a strong interest (i.e. obsession) in traditional techniques and handtools, which I never expected. I’ve spent the past few months making nothing but scrap and shavings, as I have been focusing on learning to cut straight lines, measure correctly, plane, make a few key ebay tool purchases and sharpen my tools. I’m learning mostly by watching videos by Paul Sellers, Rob Cossman and the Wood Whisperer and practicing, practicing, practicing.

Last week, after trying and failing daily (literally) I finally executed a successful handcut dovetail. I am celebrating by buying a new Veritas dovetail saw (my first new tool purchase), starting on a Christopher Schwarz Dutch tool chest and officially joining the forum here at LJ.

Don’t have much experience to offer, so I’ll mostly be reading and maybe asking questions. But I also think it’s helpful for beginners to talk to other beginners. I can watch the masters work and sometimes get inspired but also frustrated. Sometimes it’s nice to just know someone with a little more experience and practice figured out something I’m working on… and maybe I can offer that to other newcomers too.

All the best!



22 replies so far

View b2rtch's profile


4892 posts in 3559 days

#1 posted 01-16-2014 10:53 AM

Congratulations on your dovetail.
I am a big fan of Paul Sellers also. In my opinion he is the best teacher around.
I never yet cut a dovetail in my life!
I am 64 years old and I do not feel bad about it.
Be very welcome on Lumberjocks.
You will find an encyclopedia of knowledge and a bunch of nice guys loving woodworking and tools, power and hand tools.
Tools (hand and power) is what I like , more than to use them.
Again, be very welcome.

-- Bert

View Ross's profile


142 posts in 2483 days

#2 posted 01-16-2014 11:34 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks Steve. Nice dovetail joint. Also, good choice for a dovetail saw. Nicely balanced saw with a very comfortable handle. I think you will really like it. Tip: put a bit of candle wax on the sides of the saw for a smoother cut.

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

View CJIII's profile


157 posts in 2115 days

#3 posted 01-16-2014 11:40 AM

Looks good, Welcome to LumberJocks!

-- Woodworking with Limited Tools

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2585 days

#4 posted 01-16-2014 12:02 PM

Welcome Steve!
I’ve only been obsessed for 2 + years. Never cut a dovetail but have made enough mistakes in my journey to hopefully be helpful to some.

You’ve landed in a great place.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2585 days

#5 posted 01-16-2014 12:05 PM

If you’re thinking about getting into handplanes, there are some LJs who sell refurbed ones here that I’d highly recommend. Getting a used one that’s well tuned and sharpened gives you a good benchmark from which to start.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View shopdog's profile


579 posts in 3996 days

#6 posted 01-16-2014 12:14 PM

Hi Steve,

Another welcome to LJ. It’s a great place to learn, and hangout.
Good start with the dovetails.
I have to admit, after 30+ years of making sawdust, I never made a dovetail joint…maybe it’s time to try.

-- Steve--

View bondogaposis's profile


5542 posts in 2861 days

#7 posted 01-16-2014 01:42 PM

Welcome to LJ, nice DT, there is wealth of information here w/ a lot of helpful people.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View JayT's profile


6295 posts in 2721 days

#8 posted 01-16-2014 02:23 PM

Hey Steve, welcome to LJ. Dovetail is looking good. I’ve just recently started on learning to hand cut them, as well.

If you are getting into hand tools, there are several threads that may be of interest. These have been ongoing for a while, so some are pretty long, but don’t feel you have to read them from the beginning. Just start checking them out periodically and then jump in to some of the discussion.

Hand Planes This is one of the epic threads, lots of info and great help, but quite a bit of insanity, too. We like to welcome new folks to the asylum.

Hand Saws

Tool Chests, Boxes & other storage/organization


Measuring & Marking Tools

Edit: Forgot the Chisels

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View 489tad's profile


3651 posts in 3522 days

#9 posted 01-16-2014 02:34 PM

Welcome and the joints looks good.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Dave T's profile

Dave T

196 posts in 4130 days

#10 posted 01-16-2014 02:42 PM

Hi Steve. Welcome. I’ve been woodworking for almost 10 years and still consider myself a beginner :)

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3869 days

#11 posted 01-16-2014 04:27 PM

Welcome!! One suggestion I would make is to check and see if there’s a woodworking club near you. I learned a LOT from the guys at my club. Plus, you can visit their shops and try different tools before you buy.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30441 posts in 2848 days

#12 posted 01-16-2014 04:30 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View SuperCubber's profile


1080 posts in 2795 days

#13 posted 01-17-2014 04:33 PM

Welcome, Steve! Glad to have you!

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View MrFid's profile


896 posts in 2415 days

#14 posted 01-17-2014 04:54 PM

Nice looking joint, and welcome! This site is awesome, you’ll love it. Also, good choice on dovetail saw. The Veritas is super comfortable, and cuts nicely. Did you get the fine tooth, or the regular (14 tpi or 20 tpi, I think those are the numbers). I have, use, and enjoy the 14 tpi (regular) saw.
My next challenge will be hand cut half-blind dovetails.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

553 posts in 3508 days

#15 posted 01-17-2014 06:00 PM

Hey Steve,

Welcome to the slippery slope of hand tool collecting and using. The great thing about hand tools is that you can easily sneak them by the wife and into the shop with little notice. ‘What is in that box dear?’ Oh, not much, just a saw from Lee Valley.’ Try that with a SawStop ..

Enjoy the trip to the bottom. Soon you too will be obsessed with rusty tools and will have visions of sugar plum tools dancing in your in your head.


Ps nice dovetails

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