Furniture making – a dovetailed box with Tom Kealy


Ref: S4D12551

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About this course

Extend your woodworking experience as you learn to make a dovetailed box. You will be taken step-by-step through the relevant techniques, such as the use of cutting gauges, chisels and the basic use of a router.

Course Description

This course is suitable for anyone who would like to extend their woodworking experience to include dovetailing. The aim is to enable you to learn how to make a dovetailed box, through demonstrations and practical work, using basic woodworking tools.

You will be taken step-by-step through all the relevant techniques. Topics covered will include the setting out, cutting and assembly of dovetails, as well as other processes necessary to make the box, such as the use of cutting gauges, chisels and the basic use of a router.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please source or purchase the essential tools listed below to bring to the course:
  • Tools:
  • It is essential that you bring the following two items, as they are not provided by the College:
  • 1. Dovetail saw – important note: this is very specific and needs to be a rip cut saw
  • 2. Dovetail marker
  • If you do not already have these tools, or their equivalents, they can be purchased from
  • Axminster Tools and Machinery or Classic Hand Tools Ltd.
  • If you are purchasing new tools, the following makes are recommended:
  • Dovetail saw: Veritas dovetail saw, Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw or, if you are familiar with using Japanese saws, a Japanese dovetail saw is also suitable
  • Dovetail marker: 1:6, Veritas Dovetail Saddle marker
  • Please contact Tom Kealy if you need advice about the dovetail saw. Please email: Please include your name, course title and course dates.
  • Please also bring the following:
  • Reading glasses (if worn)
  • Pencils, ideally a clutch pencil, 0.5mm HB
  • Sturdy, comfortable, covered shoes (essential)
  • You will also be using the following tools, which can be borrowed from the College for use on the course – you do not need to buy these tools (However, if you have your own tools we recommend that you bring these with you, as they will be tuned to suit you better.):
  • Jack plane, block plane, bevel edged chisels, marking knife, cutting gauge, steel rule, 6” engineers’ square, piercing saw/fret saw with blades of 18tpi or more, hammer, cork block, scraper

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • The timber will be supplied by the tutor at the cost of at least £70 per person. This charge must be paid to the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Tom Kealy

Tom Kealy has designed and made contemporary furniture since training at Parnham College in 1979, and for ten years was senior craftsman in the John Makepeace workshops. He runs furniture making classes from his workshop, and teaches at the Centre for Furniture Craftsmanship in America and the Building Crafts College, London.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Interested in a career in woodworking?

Our Foundation Degree specialising in Furniture is designed to give you well-rounded woodworking theory and craft skills to become a self-employed maker or craftsperson, to continue your studies in higher education or to find employment in the creative industry sector. Find out more

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