Today my worst nightmare as a teacher came true during a dovetail demonstration.
As I knocked together the components of the joint under the watchful eyes of 18 students and two video cameras at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, I realized that the joint I cut was probably the gappiest one I’d cut in a decade.
But that wasn’t the worst part. Not even close.
Marc Adams had a photographer taking photos of the class who had instructions to take pictures of my finished joint.
“No way,” I said. “This is heinous.”
But she insisted. So she took them outside and shot them. When she came back inside she told me they looked really nice and showed me the photo on the screen on the back of her camera.
Picture a beautiful scene: Indiana cornfield. Blue sky filled with wispy clouds. And two sticks of wood with dovetails that were barely touching each other because the gaps were so huge.
I hope that the students felt better about their own hand joinery after seeing me crash and burn like that. Sometimes you mess up, even if you’ve been cutting dovetails for 18 years.
Or maybe they’ll be asking Marc for their money back….
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. We also did some work on the English Square today — hence the video.
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