Dovetail Days

Dovetail Days

Here at Rowden, we are always delighted to hear from other makers around the world, not least because, more often than not, their experiences are so similar to our own.

So, thanks for getting in touch, Barry. Over to you…


I am really enjoying the latest series – thank you. I just thought I would share my experience on one aspect of woodworking – commitment to keep trying and not give up. About a year ago I decided to try to master the dovetail.  I think loads of people try it a few times and give up.  Here is roughly how it went for me:
1. First attempts – rough – gaps all over the place
2. Some research – look at loads of articles and consider many methods/techniques.
3. Slow down – concentrate – be accurate – sharpen your tools – cut straight
4. That’s better – lovely joints but a bit slow.
5. Blimey it gets hard in 30mm pippy oak and 11 pins per side.
6. More practice – concentrate on where you can go fast – and when you can’t.
7. We are there – what was all the fuss about? Dovetails are easy 😉
It took about 100 pin/tail joints to get there.
In fact come to think of it – it has taken roughly the same amount of attempts to master many joints.  My experience is about 50 times to get good and then another 50 to get good  – and fast. I wonder how many people try using hand tools and give up too early.  I am pretty sure I can do many joints or preparation faster by hand than with machines.
Best regards,


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