Dovetails – A Beginning Exercise
Last time I showed an exercise in making the most used joint in woodworking – the mortise & tenon. In this exercise, I show how to make another very popular joint – the dovetail.
The dovetail is the strongest joint for joining pieces together at right angles in their thickness, and is widely used for boxes, cabinet carcases, drawers, and similar box-like structures. Its advantage is that it has considerable mechanical strength. There are three main types – the through dovetail that shows on both outer surfaces, the lapped dovetail (or blind dovetail) that shows on one side but not the other, and the secret or hidden dovetail in which the dovetail is completely hidden.
Here is an array of various dovetail styles.
In this exercise, I show a through dovetail but one that is “decorative”. Indeed dovetails have become an attractive feature, and here is one style that would look good in many furniture examples.
Here is how the joint looks in mahogany.
Here is the dimensioned drawing that can be used for this exercise.
This is a Top View in Parallel Projection, to create the full size template for shop work.