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 that award-winning woodworker Frank Strazza 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.
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Additional Resources for this Course
For additional information that you can download and print, see: Resources for the Online Basics of Joinery — Three Joints Course.