Asher Swartz Capstone

For my capstone, I explored wood joinery. I started with and focused on dovetail joints by hand. I had to do of research at first to figure how to actually make dovetails. I found plenty of sources, I just had to find the right ones. Eventually I found a set of tutorials that were suitable. Then I had to actually try to make the dovetails. While they aren't necessarily extremely difficult, as my mentor told me they're very easy to mess up. I did four dovetails by hand, and one with another method. My first, which I knew from the start weren't going to turn out well, didn't turn out well. For my second set, I used a different hand saw which helped. For the third, I used the bandsaw to see if it improved my work. It did, but not by enough to warrant the hassle. For my fourth I sharpened and improved my tools, which did help. For my fifth, my mentor set me up with and helped me use a dovetail jig to make a rudimentary box. 
My final product is my array of finished dovetails. They are a skill that takes years to master, and I showed my progression with each piece. Each was an improvement on the last. For each one, I took what I learned and augmented it with a new technique. Joinery, especially hand joinery, is a complex and difficult skill, and I only began to scratch the surface with my work.

1. Bridgewater, Alan, and Gill Bridgewater. Making wood handles, hinges & knobs: the perfect touch for cabinetmaking. Sterling, 1998.

This book, which was recommended and lent to me by my mentor, is probably one of the less useful ones for my specific capstone, but still interesting nonetheless. As I’m not planning on making something with drawers, I most likely won’t have a chance to use the handle making techniques listed in this book. My design isn’t final, however, and depending on the difficulty I may very well decide to add decorative pieces. Also, carving these handles by hand involves a lot of chisel work, which I need to practice. I may create some of the simpler examples to this end.

2. Dahl, Timothy. “How to Cut Gorgeous Dovetail Joints to Up Your Woodworking Game.”, Popular Mechanics, 2 Feb. 2016, Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.

This source gives me a few resources. It doesn’t contain much information on its own, but it does link to a few other videos. It’s where I found the Paul Sellers tutorial. It also includes two other videos about how to make dovetails using a table saw and router jig. These aren’t methods I’m particularly interested, but they’re good to have nonetheless. Popular Mechanics is an important magazine, that many people read and trust. They don’t usually focus on woodworking, but the videos they link to are sound and from some websites that I use as sources, which I discovered independently.

3. Greef, Jeff. Marvelous wooden boxes you can make. Betterway, 1996.

This book is also from my mentor, meaning it has been read, reviewed, and approved by another woodworker. The author is a professional woodworker that has published articles in Fine Woodworking, among other places. This book doesn’t focus as much on the type of project I will use for my final, but showcases and details projects that would be good to practice fine joinery on. There are a good few chapters on type of dovetailed boxes, as well as other types. It might not be as helpful as some of the other books for my final project, but a major goal and core value of my capstone is improving my finer skills, which making a small, detailed box could help me do.

4. Haydon, G. “How to Dovetail.”, Instructables, 2 Apr. 2013, Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.

Instructables is a source Mr. Kamal swears by. It mostly consists of at home maker uploading their tutorials and how-tos. And yet, many users are very good at doing what they do, and all types of interesting projects end up there. This source is in depth and detailed, and was a little tricky for me to understand at first. Their process is more complicated than the one I used. But it provides good information and an alternate way to do things. It also provides good explanations of how and why to do things, and details measurements to use for other sizes and types of wood, which will come in handy later.

5. Kirby, Ian J., and John Kelsey. Making joints: techniques, tips and problem-Solving tricks. Rodale Press, 1996.

This book, from my mentor, goes into lots of detail amount many types of joints which I will use in my final project. It was the first thing I looked at as it is very good for beginners. It details pretty much anything you would need to know in the process of making joints starting with buying the wood. I used it for my dovetails, but also for mortise/tenon joints and for some project ideas. It’s my all around most useful, generally applicable, resource that I will keep on hand and refer back to as I craft my various projects.

6. Rodel, Kevin. “Coffee Table Puts Joinery on Display.”, FineWoodworking, 1 July 2005, Accessed 23 Jan. 2018.

Fine Woodworking is a fairly highly regarded magazine that deals with more complex techniques, as the name implies. This article is a detailed description and walkthrough of the making of one particular type of coffee table. It features diagrams and design schematics and instructions and explanations for all of these. The design is meant to show off joinery, so it is a good concept for me to look at. It mainly uses mortise/tenon joints, which I haven’t focused as heavily on. In general, the design and process will make good reference material for my project, and I may use certain elements, but my final design will most likely not be based on this source.

7. Rodriguez, Mario. “All About Dovetail Joints.”, Fine Woodworking, 12 Sept. 2005, Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.

Another source from Fine Woodworking, this article in particular was very informative about some of the history and theory behind dovetails, as well as common types and what each type is best used for. They give some good numbers and ratios to use. They try to include pictures, but none of the links work which limits the effectiveness of this source. This is good for thinking about dovetails, and not much else, as it doesn’t provide much more information. It may have been more useful if I hadn’t also read better, more specific source, but as it stands I didn’t gain much.  

8. Savage, Adam. “Learning How To Make Dovetail Joints with Adam Savage - YouTube.”, Tested, Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.

This source shows someone else’s process learning to make dovetails which is useful in a few ways. Seeing other people learning and making mistakes can warn you of things to do and not to do that watching a master can not. This source is Adam Savage learning how to make dovetails, starting from a similar place as me, sort of. He obviously has a lot more experience, but the type of carpentry I have done is similar to the type he usually does. Adam Savage is an accomplished maker, and has a lot of expertise in many ways forms of making. Seeing someone of his pedigree learn is especially helpful.

9. Sellers, Paul. “How to Make a Dovetail Joint - The Three Joints - | Paul Sellers - YouTube.”, Paul Sellers, 17 Feb. 2015, Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.

This was my main reference in actually creating the dovetails. This source consists of Paul Sellers, a well known master woodworker, going through his process of making dovetail joints by hand. I found references to this on a few other sources, like Popular Mechanics. I watched it once through at the beginning to check if I would be able to do what he does, and he used tools that I had easy access to and a process I could follow. I referred to this video many times while making my first few dovetails because he details his process slowly and clearly. I also used other videos of his as a guide for chisel sharpening.

10. Tables and desks. Time-Life Books, 1994.

A book from my mentor, this one deals with the making of tables and desks. Seeing as how I’m making a table, this provides a lot of information. It talks about important things other sources overlook like wood size changing with moisture, something I was warned to look into. It gives some tables featuring common dimensions of types of projects which I can refer to depending on my design, and diagrams them too. It also shows common joints to use for each application. It goes on through every step of making a table or desk. This will be very helpful when designing my final project.