Dovetail a Drawer- DVD
with Frank Klausz

Published by Taunton Press, USA
Originally published in VHS format in 1985



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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 142

Frank Klausz is a professional cabinetmaker in the United States, working in his own five man workshop. He has produced several DVDs in recent years and in each has shown himself to be a consummate craftsman.

At the start of this presentation, he reveals a little of the journey that brought him to his present level of skill.

Klausz says that he was apprenticed to his father in Hungary and that from the day he began that apprenticeship, he found that he no longer had a father, only a Master.

When he made his first drawer, his father threw it in a corner saying: 'It has to be a lot better than that'.

But when he had learned how to make a drawer, his father told him: 'It has to be a lot faster'.

You may think that he is speaking only of the professional craftsman when he says: 'If you want to make a good living from this craft you can't take forever just to do fine work.' But he goes on to add: 'even if you do woodworking for only a couple of hours at weekends, you haven't got time to fool around'.

Speed and accuracy, accuracy and speed. That's the underlying theme of Dovetail a Drawer.

Klausz is an able presenter but it is not his presentation that impresses in this video as much as the economy of his movements as he performs the tasks necessary to make a drawer.

He makes much less use of a ruler than you might expect, he uses minimal pencil markings but does everything in a strict sequence that groups like actions together so that they can be done quickly and efficiently.

First, he chooses the timber, checking the growth lines on the ends of the boards and carefully marking the sides so that when they try to cup, the corners will remain tight.

Then the boards are sized to length, the trenches for the bottom cut on a tablesaw and the dovetail depths laid out with a marking gauge - holding the stack of all four sides together so they can be marked one by one with minimal movement.

When cutting the dovetails, Klausz ignores the use of marking gauges, making all the cuts by eye. If you think this might be too difficult for you to master, you will be quickly reassured once you have seen the method. It's a very simple technique and although you may be somewhat slower than Klausz is at first, there seems no reason why you should not be as accurate.

The strict adherence to a pre-determined sequence continues throughout all of the procedure. It's tempting to say that Klausz makes it looks easy but the way he demonstrates the making of a dovetailed drawer, it really is easy.

Perhaps, after learning his methods, you might agree with his estimate of the time that it should take to make such a drawer. He claims that when he quotes on a job he allows roughly 20 minutes.

Taunton Press, the publisher of this DVD has ensured that the visual and aural aspects are of their usual high standard.

Also, as usual, Frank Klausz's accented presentation is easy to listen to and to follow.

Duration: 60min

DVD - English - NTSC