How to cut dovetail joints by hand, bathroom cabinets to go - For You

Categories: Wood Shoe Rack Plans | Author: admin 13.09.2015

Dovetails are simple in theory, but when you look at them more closely, they are a strong mechanical system. The joint pictured is a variation of a typical through – dovetail, in this case dressed up with a mitered corner. While there are many subtle variations of the dovetail joint, an example of which is the mitered corner, the two main categories are through dovetails — where, as their name implies, the pins and tails extend all the way through the workpieces. This system of joinery, while not as old as the mortise and tenon techniques that we have been looking at for the last few emails, is still ancient. Typically, the completed tail piece then serves as a template for marking and cutting the pins in the pin piece.


If they are well-made, the combination of a large area for glue coverage associated with the mechanical quality of the joinery provides a durable and long-lasting joint. Most of us have opened drawers on an antique piece of furniture and have seen dovetails where it is clear that the glue has broken down … but the joint is still holding together. If you are making dovetails by hand (or with a more sophisticated jig system like Leigh’s D4), the pattern can be varied to accentuate the beauty of the joint. The third reason that dovetails remain highly popular is that the complexity of the joint, not easily mastered by novice woodworkers, implies quality. For many woodworkers, mastering the construction of a hand-cut dovetail is a goal that seems out of reach.


For that reason, jig-guided dovetails are very much in the sweet spot of home shop woodworkers.



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