Shop Talk Live - Fine Woodworking

Dovetailing episodes from Chris Gochnour's Enfiled Cupboard Video Workshop:

Ep 4a: Case Dovetails – Tails


Ep 4b: Case Dovetails – Pins

Ep 4c: Handcut Rabbets and Dovetail Fitting


Video: Chris Becksvoort–The Dovetail Master

Question 1:
From Jerrud: I'm making a dresser that is 72" long, 18" deep and 24" high not including legs. For a dresser this size–or any deep piece that is dovetailed–is seasonal wood movement a concern? Plain sawn lumber is cheaper than rift or quartersawn.

Question 2:
From Christian: I’m lucky enough to be expecting my first child, a baby boy, and I’ve always liked the idea of giving him a Lie Nielsen No 1 as a christening present. Recently, someone has suggested it a novelty tool and will be useless to him when he grows up. What alternative premium tools would you suggest as a christening gift?

Question 3:
From Mike: I’m building up my skills slowly by adding one new skill to each project I take on where I can.  I want to try my hand at dovetails one of these days as that new skill. I have two questions:

  1. There are a ton of ways I see people doing them. Is there a method you recommend people start with? You recommend people learn to sharpen by picking one method, and sticking with it until you're good at it. Would the same apply to dovetail methods, or should you try a bunch of ways and then go with what you find out you like doing?
  2. Should I start with practice joints on scrap wood or incorporate them when I'm actually making a project so there's more at stake and I have to take it more seriously?


Half-Blind Dovetails Cut by Hand

#250–Nov/Dec 2015 Issue

The craftsman’s calling card

Don’t Fear the Hand-Cut Dovetail (Part 1)

#238–Jan/Feb 2014 Issue

For the first time, a modern master reveals every step of his system

How to Cut and Fit Perfect Dovetail Pins (Part 2)

#239–Mar/Apr 2014 Issue

Scribe the tails accurately and the rest is simple handwork

Hand-Cut Dovetails, Accurate and Fast

#171–July/Aug 2004 Issue

A tip from a tails-first guy

My Favorite Dovetail Tricks

#171–July/Aug 2004 Issue

Five ways to increase accuracy and reduce the time it takes to execute this hand-cut joint

Segment: All-Time Favorite Technique

  • Barry: Using blue tape as a shim
  • Ben: When you're done cutting an odd angle, cut it one more time on a piece of scrap so you can recall the angle
  • Mike: Full-size mockups

Question 4:
From Yves: I have just made my first checkerboard (walnut and maple) inlay strip which is intended for a cherry end table top. When sanding, the strip cracked along its length and I discovered that I had done a poor job of the clamping. The cracked section, which is about  4-5 inches long on one side of the checkerboard strip appears to have “lifted” during clamping and there is now an air space under the crack. Any suggestions that might help to save this? I thought perhaps trying to inject some glue under the crack to fill in the space using a needle???

Question 5:  
From David: I’ve recently had the opportunity to revamp my shop and am planning to build a Matt Kenney’s monster workbench. I’ve bought the plans, and watched the videos, but I don’t see how the top is fastened to the stand? Is there something I’m missing? Is it supposed to just sit on top?

Question 6:
From Dave: I love books but dislike most book covers - they're generally too visually noisy! I feel like my living space is full of loud colorful ad copy, or like I'm in a chain bookstore. Do you have any recommendations for ways to keep books in the home that would allow you to conceal the visual clutter? Really, I'm just asking for permission to make a bookcase hidden-door that spins around.

4 Ways to Make Panels Pop

Doors are dominant on most cabinet designs, so dressing up door panels is an easy way to make furniture stand out.



Barry - Get a camelback for hiking

Ben - Yeti 18-oz. Rambler Bottle with  MagDock Cap

Mike - DFM A2 Steel Dowel Plate by DFM Tool Works

Direct download: shop-talk-live-episode-192.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53am EDT

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Question 1:

From Joseph:
I bought a new house in 2017 and instead of moving a lot of tools, I sold most of them and started over with new ones. There are 2 things I haven't yet invested in  - a router table and a dado stack. I'm primarily a hand tool guy, but I like to use power tools for dados/grooves and rabbets. Currently I am using my tablesaw with a FTG blade to nibble away at them, but I've reached my breaking point and want something a bit faster. I've used both a dado stack and a router table in the past. Both have some pluses and minuses for me; set up time being a major minus, but equally annoying for each. I'm also open to other alternatives that don't include joinery planes. Been there, bought the planes, sold the planes. I'm a lefty, and using planes right handed isn't fun for me.

Question 2:

From Nick:
I have a question regarding a long distance relationship with a beautiful jointer. I am member of a "local" woodworking guild which has nice shop that is outfitted with a 16" jointer, a few nice planers. Unfortunately, I live a little over 2 hours away and at my home shop I currently only have a DW735 planer and no jointer. I would like to use all this nice equipment to do everything required to get straight, flat and square stock to take home and finish my projects. My concern is that by the time I throw it in the back of the truck and drive 2 hours home I would defeat the purpose. Does wood move that quickly when you're driving 80... ahem.. 70 mph? Can I get home and put in my climate controlled basement shop before I've warped everything out of flat/square? How would weather effect this (i.e. cold dry winter/hot humid summer weather?).

Segment: All-Time Favorite Technique
Mike: Peter Galbert using a heat gun to straighten out riven stock Bob: Flush cutting on the tablesaw

Ben: Drawing an extra line when sawing on the left side of your layout line

Question 3:  

From Jim:
I am planning to build a sewing table for my wife. The plans call for using cherry plywood for several major panels of the case. While the stability of plywood is certainly an advantage, it is expensive and I like the idea of using glued up panels made from 4/4 stock. What would you do and why?


Ben - Sharpen your marking gauge, because you know it's dull
Mike -  Get a Soda Stream

Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.  

Direct download: shop-talk-live-episode-191.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT