Joinery – Dovetails

Joinery – Dovetails

Nov 12, 2018
By : Todd

Dovetails are an interesting joint with a fair bit of mystique and mythology behind them. At one time before nails and screws were available, dovetails were used as a way to quickly and securely make drawers. The learning curve on dovetails is higher than other joinery types. There are jigs and sleds to help cut dovetails using a router, tablesaw, or bandsaw but they often take much time to calibrate and set up properly.

“Through Dovetail Joinery” – In this method you can see the ends of the tails from the front of the drawer unless a separate cover or paint is added.

“Half Blind Dovetail” – In this version, the tails can not be seen from the front of the drawer. The pins do not extend the entire width of the board and the tails are shorter to match.

Now dovetails in furniture are the mark of a quality woodworker who prides himself or herself on craftsmanship. Many woodworkers intend on learning dovetails or have made sloppy dovetails in the past. This type of joinery requires practice and dedication to master.

Dovetails consist of two separate mating pieces. The “pins” and the “tails”. There are different schools of thought as to which should be cut first, the pins or the tails.

Hand tool woodworkers tend to really love the dovetail joint as it looks beautiful with contrasting wood types.