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Hand Cut Dovetail Workshop Report


We were up early, we had a nice drive in the country, and found out all there was to know about hand cut dovetails, what’s not to like? It was a beautiful day for a drive and luckily it was not too hot to be in the workshop. We all met at Jeff Kenny’s workshop in Harvey. Jeff had moved most of his equipment out of the way, so that the twelve members that had signed up to attend the workshop all had space to set themselves up.

Photo of Gloria working on the dovetails

Jeff started off by talking us through the basic principles of cutting dovetail joints by hand without all the mystic involved in detailed setting out and the rules of what the correct angle should be. Everyone quickly found the sample boards and were soon practising the techniques that they had been shown.

Following an enjoyable lunch, they all quickly sorted out the timber they wanted for their finished box and got straight down to cutting the best possible hand cut dovetails. 

Thanks to our sponsor, Total Tools Bunbury, as there were marking knives given to each of the participants, and spot prizes throughout the afternoon, and Jeff had organised for Keith Briggs, furniture maker and teacher, to come along to help with judging the competition for the most improved joints.

Wayne cutting his tails under Jeff's watchful eyes

Our congratulations go to Gloria Ritchie and Richard Ivey for winning the competition.

Having cleared away by 4pm, we then finished on a high note with icy-poles and sitting down to watch Keith give us all a demonstration of the benefits of using the Leigh Dovetail jig (which, the association has available for any member to have on loan).

The workshop eventually closed at 6pm and a those that were still there, wandered over to Brugan’s brewery for more discussion and dinner before eventually heading home.

Photo of all the workshop attendees

Everyone had a most enjoyable day and learned something new, and I am sure they would join me in saying a big thank you to Jeff and Margaret for making us all very welcome in their home, to Total Tools Bunbury for their sponsorship of this event, and to Keith Briggs for joining us and offering his expertise together with an entertaining demonstration.

Our thanks also those members of the committee who came down to offer additional support.