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Thread: Rob Cosman Video on cutting perfect dovetails first attempt

  1. #1

    Rob Cosman Video on cutting perfect dovetails first attempt

    I posted about a topic where my reference to YouTube channels was to point out examples of people with very large plane collections, not to have a discussion of the merits of different woodworkers who use their YouTube channels as an income source. However, it did generate some interesting discussion related to the quality of the videos and accuracy of the information being presented.

    Seems like a guy well liked on this forum is Rob Cosman. I am planning to learn to hand cut dovetails. I have been an average woodworker for decades, but I think I will consider myself above average then I learn to hand cut dovetails that look nicer than my Keller jig can offer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8Sr...index=1&t=966s

    Rob Cosman made a video in 2020 indicated that with 35 years of teaching experience, he has developed a method where if I follow along and use the recommended tools and techniques, I will be able to cut dovetails on my first attempt. That sounds good to me! LOL That video was followed with a 2022 update.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUPtnPNpjnU&t=849s

    Before I buy his saw and the other tools he recommended, I figure some of you may have thoughts on these particular videos. Thanks!

  2. #2
    IMHO
    No one and I mean no one, cuts perfect dovetails on their first attempt.

    There are hundreds of videos on cutting dovetails, while Cosman is generally well respected, his is only one method of many.
    Personally, when looking to learn a new skill, I prefer to gain as much knowledge from as many sources as I can.
    Cosman has his method which is fine for him, although it might not be right for you.
    Just something to think about before you invest too much into one instructors method.

  3. #3
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    Go watch Paul Sellers...as he is doing a "Sofa Server" on his FREE Masterclasses videos...Includes both through dovetails and a "housed dado with through tenons"
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  4. #4
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    I don’t think that buying a guide is necessary. I found the technique Paul Sellers demonstrates to be the most logical when I was learning. That said, just pick a technique and start using it.

    It is ridiculous to expect to cut perfect dovetails the first time you try, or to present that as an expectation. Make one or two little
    trays to get practice. Your first few will likely look ugly. If you are like me you will cut at least one corner of a box backward and have to throw it out. But it does mot need to be that complicated. You’ll get a few ugly ones out of your system, then you’ll pretty quickly be making perfectly acceptable ones.
    after you’ve made one or two little shop trays, try to make something nice.
    mid you’ve got a bevel gauge and a back saw (western, Japanese, whatever), and one or two chisels you’ve got all the tools you need. Quit watching videos and make something!
    Youll get the hang of it pretty quick.

  5. #5
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    I like Rob, but save your money on contraptions and, if you donít already have them, instead invest it in a good dovetail saw, a few chisels and a bevel gauge. Then, as others have mentioned, practice, practice, practice on scraps of various wood species.

  6. #6
    Well... Understood there are many approaches, and sources of technical advice includes Paul Sellers. I understand the value of practice. I was thinking here is an example of a video suggesting one approach to dovetails and that this is a good initial approach. If not, why not?

    It is advised I invest in a good dovetail saw. In the video, Mr. Cosman suggests items needed and the importance of a good dovetail and fret saw. He demonstrates the use of a saw he sells for $249 vs $299 and says why he thinks it is a great saw. Of course he financially benefits from selling his saw and so would be curious what others without a financial interest think of what he advises. If someone thinks what Paul Sellers suggests is most logical, I would be interested to know what is considered better. I have to get a dovetail saw and a couple of other tools before I stop watching videos and make something! LOL. Are the 2 saws he recommends the best choice?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Joel Gelman; 02-12-2023 at 4:20 PM.

  7. #7
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    I havenít heard much about them and nothing Bad. I have a Bad Axe that I really like but some use a Japanese Dozuki. Iíve heard a good saw aids in helping cut better dovetails out if the gate but it figures that it is only one aspect of the whole process. I donít think you necessarily need his Shawn shim and marking knife/saw but if you use his method they would be helpful.

    TLDR: I donít think youíd go wrong with his saw but itís not your only choice.

  8. #8
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    Try for excellence not perfection.
    Nothings perfect
    Nothings finished
    Nothing last forever
    Aj

  9. #9
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    Two unique ideas that Mr. Cossman has, and actually no one has repeated, is the offset guide and the graduated saw.

    The offset guide compensates the cut on the half pins on the ends by the thickness of the saw, his saw that he sells. But that thickness is pretty close to almost every other saw.

    The graduated saw is a saw in which the first couple inches are have a lower teeth per inch ratio, making it a coarser blade and rougher cut, which in his estimation makes it easier to start the cut without the saw bouncing off the wood. I never had a problem with this, so the saw is a solution for which I had no issue or problem.

    I like his videos and techniques a lot.

    That said, I learned the Paul Sellers method at the school where he taught for over a decade in Waco, Texas. Its a much simpler and faster method.

    On thing to thing about is a dovetail alignment board. Sellers just uses a hand plane to support the top piece for scribing, and one relies upon a good eye and perhaps a straight edge to keep things square. Jonathan Katz and others use, and sell, 8x10 board which has a lip on the side which keeps the tail board aligned with the pin board for scoring.

    I disliked every dovetail guide made, like the Katz Moses guide and others. They are slippery and hard to hold onto the wood, and although some have magnets, to hold the blade onto the guide, I found them annoying.

    Bottom Line for Me:

    I'd start with Paul Sellers and make a simple wooden box using his method out of pine. This box was the exact box we made on the third day we took the class to make dovetails through the Paul Sellers method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EqgMx7fvls I think you'll find that his method is good enough, especially after gluing and finishing the box, as any imperfections are either not noticeable or add to the character of the box. One caveat--pine can come out in chunks if the chisels are not sharp.

    Next, I'd try making the same box using Rob Cossman's method using his offset guide and perhaps his saw. You might try a dovetail alignment board on this second box.

    Then, I'd figure out which one you are more comfortable with.
    Regards,

    Tom

  10. #10
    I was lucky to take a few classes from Mr. Cosman when he used to go around teaching and was in my area. I learned his techniques and practiced (a lot). He has thought through every little step and does a great job explaining it.

    I do have his saw, but any good saw will work. In fact I have recently made my own dovetail saw and have been using it without issue, although his saw is very nice.

    His method of marking out dovetails (which I believe he learned from Alan Peters) is excellent. A few years ago, he solved what I believe is the hardest part of handcut dovetails - cutting the pins. The technique of moving the thickness of the kerf into the waste area has really helped me and now you just follow the steps he has laid out and my dovetails come out great.

    Michael

  11. #11
    I like to watch Rob Cosman videos. There are some things I agree with and some things I do not. Cheap often causes a lot more hindrance to the learning process. In my opinion a good place to start would be Lee valley. They offers a good dove tail saw for $89. Which is a cry from from what Robs cost.

    When sawing, I like my arm at around 90 degrees to my elbow and since I am left handed I like my right hip turned into the bench a little. I like to find the natural swing from my shoulder. The natural swing is not 90 to the work piece. Since I do not cut dove tails every day. I do some practice cutting first, like cutting down straight and cutting at 90 degrees crossed the board gauging by eye. The term is Kenasteashua. I know it is misspelled but it is your sixth since and it is the ability to train mussels to repeat motion, and create mussel memory. Think of it as a very small child trying to learn how to feed his or her self with a spoon for the first time. We have 4 children and my wife said she wished for a floor drain under the high chair.

    One does not need a Cadillac to learn how to drive. But a person shouldn't use one ready for the junk yard either. Latter if you want a Cadillac go for it. There is always room for more than one rip saw as well as more than one marking gage.

    Latter on you may discover that hand cutting dovetails is not your cup of tee. If you decide not to continue at least you gave it a try.

    I guess what I am trying to say is don't spend a lot of money when first trying it out. My disclaimer is my saw is a Lie Nielsen. I liked the traditional styling. The Veritas just didn't look right. The Veritas has gone up $10 since I bought my saw but the NL has gone up $50. Today for the $86 difference I could learn to love the saw that looks like it just came out of star wars.

    Another thing is a bench chisel does not make a good dove tail chisel. And I grind my primary angle at 15-17 degrees and sharpen the micro bevel at 30. That way the chisel can go in deeper with out it being pushed to far back damaging the marking gauge line.
    Tom

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Gelman View Post
    I posted about a topic where my reference to YouTube channels was to point out examples of people with very large plane collections, not to have a discussion of the merits of different woodworkers who use their YouTube channels as an income source. However, it did generate some interesting discussion related to the quality of the videos and accuracy of the information being presented.

    Seems like a guy well liked on this forum is Rob Cosman. I am planning to learn to hand cut dovetails. I have been an average woodworker for decades, but I think I will consider myself above average then I learn to hand cut dovetails that look nicer than my Keller jig can offer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8Sr...index=1&t=966s

    Rob Cosman made a video in 2020 indicated that with 35 years of teaching experience, he has developed a method where if I follow along and use the recommended tools and techniques, I will be able to cut dovetails on my first attempt. That sounds good to me! LOL That video was followed with a 2022 update.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUPtnPNpjnU&t=849s

    Before I buy his saw and the other tools he recommended, I figure some of you may have thoughts on these particular videos. Thanks!
    Joel, I have a great deal of respect for Rob. He is an excellent teacher. Many of us owe our skills for dovetailing to his videos of 20 years ago. These are, however, different from those he puts out today. As I wrote, Rob is a great teacher, but he is also a salesman selling products (nothing wrong with that) and geared now towards ultimate success Ö but this involves holding your hand at every step and making you reliant on his aids. Back in the day, the focus was on understanding the process, good marking out, and sawing to the lines. Now one does not saw to a line (e.g. pin board), but score lines with a mini saw, having created an offset with an aid.

    His dovetail saw looks great for some. Personally, I do not want graduated teeth (which are an aid) as it forces one to start the saw cut at the toe, and I do not want a heavy saw (which he created to make the downforce more automatic). I also do not like the shaped handle. These are more expensive than other really excellent dovetail saws. For those starting out, I recommend the 14 tpi Veritas dovetail saw. The relaxed rake of the teeth make it easier to start and smoother to saw.

    Look for Robís first videos on dovetailing. Those are worth watching as the will teach you methods that further your skills. This is important in developing hand skills - you want skills to take you forward, and not just aids for the moment.

    I have articles on my website on dovetailing, but they are not beginner methods, more for once you are clear on the basics. Ask questions and I will answer.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hughes View Post
    Try for excellence not perfection.
    Nothings perfect
    Nothings finished
    Nothing last forever
    Iíve read that shop owners would let new apprentices learn dovetails on the cheaper utilitarian stuff.

  14. #14
    I learned sawing dovetails from a Frank Klausz video. I still do not lay out the dove tails unless I am doing dove tails where both boards are splayed out. Otherwise I do my layout by eye and the saw. Unlike most I see on you tube I cut pins first.
    My point is no matter how you do it or learn how to do it. It still take times with the saw in hand.

    What works for me may not work for Michael or Thomas and visa versa. David Barron also offers an interesting way to cut dove tails and he uses a Japanese saw. His method works for him and I am sure a lot of others

    But it still takes time in the cut.
    Tom

  15. #15
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    Hmmm...(Don't mind me...I do pins first, LOL)
    tools..
    Box Project 2, knife a line.JPG
    Get yourself a GOOD square....and a SHARP easy to hold knife...
    Tues. Night Fights, too small.JPG
    Bevel gauge....as long as it will stay locked to the angle you need it to be..( can walk into Lowes and buy one)
    Back to the shop, Basic Lay out Kit.JPG
    Marking gauge...not required, but nice to have...set it to the thickness of the stock...
    Back in the shop 3, chopped half way.JPG
    A mallet and a selection of chisels...sized according to the dovetails you are chopping...
    Back to the shop, unable to use.JPG
    Backsaw...as long as it is sharp...and easy to use....That be a Jackson. I also have the Disston No. 68 (broom handle) and a Disston No. 4...all are 9ppi.

    Box Project 2, lay out tools.JPG
    Sit on a stool at the bench...lot easier on the back, than being hunched over...
    Messy Bench, enough saws.JPG
    Leave yourself PLENTY of room...otherwise, the top of the bench can get rather crowded...

    Beware of those that say you NEED a Fret Saw....because you really do not need one...
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

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