Three basic joints– the dado, dovetail and mortise and tenon–lay the foundation for all wood joinery. Learn these three well and you will be able to build just about anything out of wood. Of course, there are many advanced variations of each joint, such as half-blind dovetails, but the techniques Frank teaches in this course are the building blocks for the more advanced joints.
Frank starts by showing you how to use a handsaw, including proper holding techniques and posture, along with several sawing practice exercises. He then moves on to laying out and cutting a dado joint. This important joint is commonly used in bookshelves, dressers and more. Then, Frank takes the mystery out of the dovetail joint by showing you how to lay out and cut a single dovetail. You will further develop this skill in the next course, “Building a Dovetail Box”, by making a box with each corner joined by a double dovetail. The final joint you will learn in this course is the mortise and tenon, which is used in doors, chairs, tables and more. Frank shows you the importance of careful layout and then walks you step by step through cutting and fitting the joint. He also will show you several methods for securing the joint. Finally, even though it’s not a joint, since the hand plane is such an important tool we’ve included a bonus track on the basics of hand plane use.
Frank progresses methodically through each joint, building one on another with detailed instructions on proper technique for the many tools. After completing this course, you’ll have a fundamental grasp on the use of the basic woodworking tools; chisels, saws, marking gauge, hand plane and marking knife. You’ll feel confidence in laying out the basic joints as well as knowing where to use each joint in any given project. The joint exercises you learn in this course are perfect to practice with in preparation for the next courses where you will incorporate the joints into an actual project.
We highly recommend you watch the course, “Sharpening Hand Tools” before taking this course. The single most important factor contributing to your success in joinery is a razor sharp tool.
How to Purchase the Course
To get started learning, just click on the “Begin Free Trial” button which will take you to the membership page. Choose the Basic membership (either annual or monthly) and select “Traditional Crafts” from the drop-down menu. After submitting your payment info on the checkout page, go to the top righthand side of the menu bar and click on the login icon and check that you are logged in with your username and password. You will have immediate access to the videos. Your card won’t be charged for 2 days so if you cancel before then, you’ll be charged nothing. You can also buy the course outright by clicking on the “Buy Course” button. With this option, you’ll have permanent access to this course but not to any other courses.
About the Instructor
Frank Strazza’s first recollection of any interest in woodworking is from the age of seven when his mother found an old hand-crank drill at an antique trading post. This piqued Frank’s interest in tools and in working with wood. At an early age he took some woodworking classes on weekday evenings and at the age of twelve, he built a cedar chest with hand cut dovetails throughout.
Frank apprenticed with Heritage Craftsman, first in Austin, Texas and then later at Homestead Heritage in central Texas. He has been working with wood for over 25 years and his work has been featured in both local and national publications, including Woodworker West, Woodwork Magazine and Fine Woodworking. Frank has won many awards for many of his pieces, including multiple first place awards both at the Texas Furniture Makers Show and at the International Design in Wood Exhibition in California. He, along with several other of our craftsmen, was even the first American woodworker in over 100 years to be commissioned by the President to make a furniture piece for the permanent collection at the White House.
Frank teaches woodworking out of his many years of experience in building furniture. He is a full time instructor at the Heritage School of Woodworking, located in central Texas. His passion for the craft shines through in his work as well as his teaching. Frank lives in central Texas with his wife, Amy and five young children. In his spare time he enjoys bicycling with his children, reading about woodworking as well as playing the cello in his community orchestra.