Hand Cut Dovetails
with Jim Tolpin and Faculty

Basics of Woodworking Series Level: Level I


Hand cut dovetails are considered the mark of a craftsman. In this two day class we'll introduce you to the techniques and sequences of steps to cut dovetails by hand using a hand saw and chisels.

Why is this a beginner class? Dovetails teach you the basics of layout and markup, using a handsaw and using a chisel to pare and chop. Dovetails, also, are easier to cut and fit than mortice and tenon joinery. There are more cheats and they're more forgiving. Plus if you go home and practise them you can improve rapidly.

Class Description

In this class you'll learn:

  • What is a dovetail
  • How to layout out dovetails
  • How to saw to a line
  • How to sharpen and maintain a chisel
  • How to pare and chop to a line with a chisel
  • Make through and half blind dovetails
  • The art of fitting dovetails


For this class you don't need to bring  tools - we have tools at each workbench that you can use. 

However learning sharpening is best done working on your own chisel - please bring a 1/2" chisel. Irwin (formerly Marples) blue handled chisels are very reasonable - about $13 from Woodcraft but also available locally at Edensaw.

If you do want to practice with your own saw we recommend the Lee Valley / Veritas Standard Dovetail Saw - 14 tpi  which, for around $65, is great value. 

More about this class



Class Information and Registration

Class starts at 9:00am on the first day.

Please read our What to Expect page for general information about the School.

Please also read out registration policy.

Class size: 10
Cost: $260
Materials Charge: $15




2014 Classes:

When you click on the Register link, you will be able to register for the class, or, if the class is full, sign up for the wait list.

October 18 - 19, 1014 Hand Cut Dovetails Register

If you'd like to ask questions - please feel free to contact  us - (360) 344-4455 or by email.

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Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades Copyright © 2007-2014. All rights reserved.

200 Battery Way | Fort Worden | Port Townsend, WA 98368 | (360) 344-4455 | email

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking and Preservation Trades is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit. Any donations made to the School are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.