Essentials of Fine Woodworking
Building a dovetailed tool or utility box.
- JANET COLLINS —August 11–17
Note: This is a six-day course ending Saturday afternoon. Previous woodworking experience is required.
There are as many approaches to designing and making boating projects as there are woodworkers. In this six-day course with woodworker/furniture maker Janet Collins, students will learn the intricacies of fine joinerwork in a project that will combine elegance with utility.
Each student will build a dovetailed box approximately 18″ x 10″ x 12″ in cherry, mahogany, or walnut depending on availability of material and personal preference. Building the box will include learning to layout and accurately produce hand cut dovetails, mitered base frames, wood batten hinges, as well as a discussion of appropriate handles or chest hardware available on the market.
Janet will first introduce students to the components of designing and laying out the chest. She’ll then move on to wood selection, coping with wood movement, types of joints, and the correct procedures for gluing up material—solid wood for the box, lid, base frame and hinge battens. Hand tool selection, how best to use them, and, most importantly, how to keep them sharp follows.
Day two will find students practicing the step-by-step process for cutting dovetails by hand and crafting the sides of the chest. Practice is the most essential component to mastering craftsmanship. In this course you’ll learn from your mistakes and successes, and, above all, learn from your hands.
The base frame for the box will then be mitered, followed by the creation of wood batten hinges. Hardware will be installed bringing the woodworking portion of the chest to a close. Janet will cover wooden hardware fabrication along with finishing, although time may not allow for any applications of oils, varnishes, or paint during the course.
It will be a very informative week with a very talented craftswoman that everyone, even longtime woodworkers, will find enjoyable. And at week’s end, each student will take home a beautiful, handcrafted treasure chest that will last a lifetime.