Subscribe now and save up to 56%
A router is one of my shop’s most versatile and reliable tools. Mounted to a table, there are a great many things that a router can help you accomplish.
It can help you whip together a drawer joint using sliding dovetails. They’re easy to make using a straight bit and a dovetail bit.
Sliding dovetails are typically used for shelf support or drawer construction.
MORE ON SLIDING DOVETAILSVIDEO: Jig for cutting dovetail keysARTICLE: Use in cabinet constructionVIDEO: Use in cabinet constructionSLIDESHOW: Tapered sliding dovetails
If the sliding dovetail is at or near a corner, such as on a drawer, the router table handles both parts perfectly. (Excerpt from FWW #190 article Router-Table Basics).
Start with a straight bitFor a 1/2-in.-wide sliding dovetail, first remove some waste from the socket with a 1/4-in. straight bit. Set up the fence so that the 1/4-in. bit is centered exactly in the dado, and use a backer board if it is a through cut.
Then mount the dovetail bit to the full depth of cut and make that pass. It will be centered where you need it. Keep the board flat as it goes over the bit.
Waste removal. Start the socket with a straight bit to hog out the waste. Switch to a dovetail bit and cut the socket in one pass.
The matching cut is made with the board held vertically against the fence, without changing the bit height.
Move the fence to capture most of the bit, and then adjust the fence to take light cuts from both sides until the boards just fit together by hand. The joint tends to jam, so tap the pieces apart carefully with a hammer.
The tail piece. Don’t change the bit height. Cut the tail with the bit set into the fence, cutting each side in turn and sneaking up on the fit. Use a backer board to eliminate tearout.
Variation: A rabbeted dovetail Another quick joint for drawers is the rabbeted dovetail. This carcase joint is also easy to make at the router table using a dovetail bit.
A close relative. The rabbeted dovetail is a half-version of a sliding dovetail, reinforced with dowels.
Use the bit to cut two mating end-grain rabbets to form a corner. The joint is an attractive way to attach a light-duty drawer front, but it has little mechanical strength. I add dowel pins.
To make the first cut, hold the board flat to the table and put a backer block behind it to prevent tearout.
A well-dressed rabbet wears dovetails. Use a dovetail bit to cut a pair of mating rabbets for an elegant corner joint
Again, the matching cut is made without adjusting the bit. The bit is captured in the fence so that only a portion peeks out. Holding the workpiece vertically against the fence, move it across the bit.
Rout the mating piece and then insert the dowels.
Check the fit and adjust the fence accordingly.
Excerpt from “Router-Table Basics” from Fine Woodworking #190. Read the full article for more tips on setting up and using a router table.
Photos: Steve Scott
Get woodworking tips, expert advice and special offers in your inbox
Become a member today
Get instant access to all FineWoodworking.com content.
Subscribe to Fine Woodworking
Save up to 56%
Go on a lumber run with Matt Kenney and he'll show you how he reads a stack of lumber to help him find the perfect board
Grids and cutouts define a practical piece
Nailer lets you lose the compressor
Given the choice between a fixed-base router and a plunge model, Jeff Miller will take the plunge router every time. Because it can plunge in and out of the work,…
When a tenon loosened and broke on a favorite stool in our house, I wasn’t sure how to fix it. I don’t have a lathe, and it looked difficult to…
Make your cabinets stand out with clean, attractive through-tenons
Become a member today and get instant access to all FineWoodworking.com content!
Plus tips, advice, and special offers from Fine Woodworking.
In-depth online classes from the experts at Fine Woodworking.
Enter now for your chance to win a Lee Valley block plane valued at $160.
© 2016 The Taunton Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Become a member and get instant access to thousands of videos, how-tos, tool reviews, and design features.
Start your subscription today and save up to 56%