I’ve spent some time this weekend exploring what I need to get a newly acquired dovetail jig ready to use. I want to make some boxes and think they’ll be better looking with that particular joint. Fortunately, my dad had a jig he was willing to give me, and I just need a few accessories.
As I’ve been working on getting the jig ready to go, I’ve had some time to reflect on just how much doing so means to me.
I know that not everyone knows what a dovetail joint is. I do, and I’ve got my dad to thank for that. Dovetails are what you sometimes see when you open a drawer and look at its corners. Those trapezoidal shapes are called dovetails. They’re typically machined these days, but still hold a place in our collective consciousness as a mark of hand-work quality. I spent a lot of my formative years, as well as lots of time since, in my father’s woodshop. While I don’t remember him cutting any dovetails back then, it was something I knew about.
I know that not everyone knows how to use the tools necessary to cut a dovetail joint, either by hand or with machinery. I do, and I’ve got my dad to thank for that. Tools were a part of my childhood as well as the years since. I recently got to spend time with some of my childhood friends: a twist drill that has long since been replaced with power tools, a coping saw that has seen countless blades through the years, and even a “spare parts” bin with sawdust in the bottom that comes close to matching my 52 years.
I know that not everyone knows how to make a simple wooden box, much less one with dovetailed corners. I do, and I’ve got my dad to thank for that. I’ve watched him for years, turning plywood and other lumber into furniture and home improvements. As the years went by, his skills have improved and I’ve worked to keep pace. As with age, I don’t know if I’ll ever truly catch up. We got to spend some time in the shop together last week, and I caught myself standing there watching him work. I know we’ll both someday close our shop doors for good, so I relish every moment we can make sawdust together.
I’m a maker because he’s a maker. I’ve got my dad to thank for that.