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Dovetail Joinery

Course Content and Outcomes:

The Dovetail Joinery course provides beginners the opportunity to learn about joinery and apply the techniques through safe tool handling as they create their own shadow box frame. Dovetail is an ancient joinery technique that has proven versatile, resilient, and beautiful. Using interlocking pins and tails, dovetail joinery-created boxes, drawers, and other items can last hundreds of years. 

With instructor guidance, students will work at their own pace using hand tools to cut and assemble their projects. As pictured, the project is focused on creating four corners of the frame, there are no front or back panels to this completed shadow frame. This course is designed to empower and educate women of all backgrounds in the basic concepts of dovetail joinery. All materials and tools including handsaws, vices, chisels and mallets will be provided to complete the project.


Safety is our number one priority. Instructors will provide hands-on technical instruction in a manner that allows participants to feel comfortable and empowered.

Physical Requirements

The course is physically demanding – students must be able to lift 20 lbs, bend at the waist, and be able to be on their feet for several hours at a time. Our courses take place in variable weather conditions and at times on uneven terrain.


We hope you are able to join us, if you require an accomodation in order to participate please reach out so we can work with you directly. Questions? Contact us!


The course starts on

Saturday, March 23

and concludes the afternoon of March 24, 2024.


This course offers an intentionally built, supportive learning environment for anyone who identifies as a woman. Participants must be 18 years or older.


White Sulphur Springs, Montana.

Food and Lodging

Lodging is NOT included in the course registration fee. Lunch each day and snacks will be provided. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated with prior notice.


Please visit our Local Information page for more about available accommodations.

Equipment & Tools

Participants will need to provide appropriate personal clothing, safety glasses, and hearing protection.


The Red Ants Pants Foundation will provide all other equipment, safety gear, and tools needed to participate. 



2024 rate: $250 per person. The course fee covers instruction, materials, and course equipment. This fee includes snacks and lunches for both Saturday and Sunday.


Scholarships and payment plans are available! Contact us for more info.


Payment is required upon registration.

Check or Credit Cards accepted. Details provided upon registration.


The course is limited to six participants per section. Courses fill quickly. Once the course is full (first come, first served) we will add names to a waitlist.


To stay in the loop regarding

Red Ants Pants Foundation programs, please subscribe to our mailing list here.


Course fees, minus a $50 cancellation fee, will be refunded if cancellation is made prior to 30 days before the start of the course. Fees are nonrefundable if cancellation is made within 30 days of the start of the course. In the event that the Work Skills Course is canceled by the Foundation due to public health concerns, full refunds will be issued for the course tuition.

For questions or additional information, please feel free to contact us.

Dovetail Instructors

Mary Webb.jpg
Mary Webb

Mary entered the construction and carpentry world in 2010 by joining AmeriCorps and working for Habitat for Humanity for two years. This led to an interest in fixing up old houses rather than building new ones, attracted by the details and craftsmanship in historic buildings. After working as a historic preservation carpenter for the National Park Service for many years, she made her way to Helena to work for the Montana Preservation Alliance as their restoration director, planning and coordinating restoration projects around the state. Mary’s carpentry interests span from restoring old wood windows to handcrafting jewelry and children’s toys, and everything in between.

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