If you've never heard of Frank Klausz, or didn't know he even had a
website - here's the url
Worth looking into - especially if you like Tom Plamann's work.
Mr. Klausz's video on handcutting dovetails should probably
be something to put on your birthday / anniversary / christmas
I expect that with a little practice most of us could
make a kitchen table almost as nice as his.
Thank goodness he included THAT picture!
I was surprised to learn that he did biscuit joinery,
then I remembered that he makes furniture for a
It's the old Shoe Maker's Kids Go Barefoot thing.
Either he never lets his wife see the pieces he
makes to earn a living or she's a very practical
woman. I suspect the latter.
As for biscuits - "old world craftsman" were faced
with the same economic pressures as we have today.
If it did the job - and didn't show - then more time to
spend on what will show, or is critical to the structural
integrity of the piece. More money in carved medallions,
cabriolet legs and carved claw and ball feet than in
doweled or T&G joined tops.
Watching this man handcut dovetails is to watch a
process refined to the n'th degree for efficiency
without sacrificing quality - over centuries. Seeing
him do it with only a scribe line for the bottom of the
sockets, no lay out for the pins makes it look so easy.
Cut a half pin on this end, half pin on that end, split
the difference - move over a bit - parallel saw cuts
here - and here, now parallel saw cuts here - and here
- you're done sawing. Stack them, fan them, wack
down the hold down - chop - snap the chip out - chop
- snap the chip out - onto the next piece.
I bet, when he was learning to do them as an apprentice
he dreamed about making them. Now he can probably
do them in his sleep.
I remember reading an article he did in Pop. Woodworking,I think on the
His explanations are pretty easy to follow, but harder to put into
practice than he lets on. As with anything,practice sure helps, but with
Frank I always get the impression there's more innate than meets the eye.
I"m not sure that I'd want him watching me do them, but I'd love to see
him do his stuff in person.
I don't know how many old style craftsmen like that there are around.
Klausz seems to have done a very good job at marketing Klausz, so I
suspect there are more than we know of. Guys who quietly do an almost
perfect job at what they do, and the work lasts nearly forever.
If you ever get the chance, certainly make it a point to go see him
live. I had the pleasure of seeing him at a local woodworking club
meeting, and it's both incredibly inspiring _and_ intimidating to see
I'm so used to the idea of TV and movie making "magic", where there
are a bunch or takes and lots of editing, that I'd assumed that his
dovetail tape was such a work. Eh eh. The guy is _fast_. I mean
seriously fast. I imagine the camera people were pleading with him to
slow down so they could get it all.
The results of his live dovetail demonstration were passed around the
room. I did not want to pass the sample piece on to the next guy.
You could see the drool on the people waiting for their turn to
examine it. If you had a dovetail jig and router dialed in to
perfection, and had lots of experience using it, you might be able to
equal the tightness of that joint. You'd never exceed it, but you
might equal it.
His sliding dovetail example would take me longer to write about than
it took him to do it. Simply a super tight joint with no flex at all.
The thing that surprised me the most is how normal the guy is. He was
witty, had glowing things to say about his life and wife, and was just
simply a pleasure to listen to and watch. He had some very well-
grounded views on how to respond to a potential customer's reaction to
the pricing of quality work. Come to think of it, that's not so
There was something there for everyone. I would suggest cloning the
guy, but the beauty of many things is in their rarity.
It's the details that get you. I watched his dovetail video twice
I had the procedure down - 'til I got to the shop. Discovered BIG
what I thought I knew. So I watched the tape again, pausing often,
notes and doing diagrams. Went through it again following the notes
found more overlooked steps. Revised my notes and diagrams and tried
them in the shop. Three or four more iterations and I had a set of
It, Do What You See, Start On The Next Page.
You can download each page, their GIF files, print at you leisure and
them. Take a pencil for notes, I'm sure I've got something which
isn't clear enough - or missing. When you find it/them, please
them to me and I'll revise the instructions.
I will give them a try. I've downloaded each one, and I may get to it
this weekend. I've done dovetails before, both by hand and with my
router, but it's mostly been by hook or by crook. The last set I did I
was ok with, but they weren't by any means perfect. There's always room
Thanks for the link. I'll let you know how it goes. I can give you some
feedback now on the main page of the dovetails. The text says there's a
link to a PDF that has all of the gifs, but I couldn't find the link.
Had a web site space limitation when I had my site on Comcast.
To add anything new I had to remove something first. Since
the PDF file duplicated the web pages and was 400K or more,
I dropped it. Because the instructions get updated based on
feedback, doing the revised illustrations, and updating the
web pages - creating a new PDF file was just more work. If
I can find my copy of Acrobat which lets you create, not just
open and look at, PDF files I'll put it back upon my site.
Feedback will be appreciated,
That makes sense. I have Acrobat 5.0 and can make PDFs. I can do that
from the gifs I have if you like.
I'll certainly let you know if there is anything on that set of diagrams
I have problems with, but at first blush I doubt there will be much I
can offer. That is a tremendous effort and is greatly appreciated.
A comprehensive set of instructions like that may very well spur me on
to something I've been thinking about for a while: doing a dovetail a
day until they get to the point that I'd be happy enough to show them
anywhere. Because your gifs go into so much detail, I should be able to
diagnose any problems I have and correct them on the next set.
Both SWMBO and I have come down with a late winter cold so it may not
start this weekend, but the more I think about it, the more I like this
dovetail a day idea.
Caveat:I've not read the whole thread, so might be missing the real
If you want to generate PDFs, you can use the freely downloadable
Openoffice.org package. I have used the draw program extensively to
make diagrams and draft drawings.
Just on the border of your waking mind, There lies - Another time,
I use openoffice, but have never used the draw program. For what he is
doing, pdfcreator (open source) acts as a virtual printer, letting you
print from any program to a pdf file. But Charlie uses a mac, and I
don't know if this program is available for the mac.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
My wife, who is a mac-natic, claims that at least newer versions (she
has 10.3 or 10.4 I think) have "print to pdf" built into the system.
I've also seen windows print drivers that will write pdf to file.
Then of course, there is Ghostscript and it's derivatives... but being
a two step process (print to PostScript, then covert with Ghostscript)
it's not as simple.
So, how do other folks use printing in their woodworking?
I've made flexi rulers for wraping around things... (if you figure
even a crappy laser printer is 300dpi, the resulting ruler would at
least be .003 accurate. ;) I've also made some specialty "scale"
rulers in different ratios. (1:10, 1:12, etc) In Stained Glass, I've
designed patterns which then could be directly applied to the
glass... i suppose same could also apply to wood... esp for small
scroll work, or internal holes. Perhaps it could be good for a
transfer for layout point in carving or woodburning... Then of course,
there are those folks using the printer directly on the wood.
essential CNC woodburning... but that's less craft and more
production. (although the craft/art aspect might be in the design
Just on the border of your waking mind, There lies - Another time,
Have visited your site a few times, but had not stepped thru this
page/pages. Have saved it and it may indeed be the inspiration for me to
play a little today - was looking for ideas - not too heavy - not too light
for some destressing wooddorking.
Just would like to say a big thank you for what must have been a LOT of
work to create.
The above comments apply here also. His dovetails
look perfect, they fit tight where they show but may
(almost certainly do) have gaps inside the joint where
they are never seen. He says as much too.
Yes he does. Makes mention of it in Landis' Workbench Book where he states
that he always undercuts them a little bit (except in his bench). No shame
there. I'd undercut all of mine to be able to produce stuff the quality of
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.