Sliding Dovetails

comments (5) September 8th, 2012 in blogs

DaveRichards David Richards, contributor
thumbs up 9 users recommend

I answered a question recently about drawing sliding dovetails in SketchUp. I wound up making the attached video to show how I do it. It's quick, easy and painless and everything lines up perfectly.

There are a couple of key things with my process.

  • Every part is a component and if they are identical, copies of the same component.
  • Every part is drawn in place where it will live in the model.
  • The shelves are drawn to their full length. 

This method would also work nicely for simple dadoes and it isn't a big stretch to see that the same process would work for either half-blind or through dovetails on drawer boxes or cases, box joints, bridle joints and so on.

There are settings under Window>Model Info>Components that allow some or all of the model to be hidden while editing a component. If you use that, you'll have a little more work to do in laying the joints out because you won't be able to use the other parts as guides.


Addendum: David5346 asked, in the comments section, about sliding dovetails. Here's a quick and dirty video to demonstrate making a sliding dovetail. Pardon the stammering. This was the first run through. 

posted in: blogs

Comments (5)

DaveRichards DaveRichards writes: MJJoiner, the double click for Push/Pull is sort of a memory thing. You have to put something in memory before it can be recalled. So I couldn't use the double click for the first Push/Pull operation. Instead, because I was drawing a through dovetail slot I used the far edge as the reference to get the distance. SketchUp remembered that distance. I could have also typed the distance of the first Push/Pull operation and SketchUp would remember that. Any subsequent extrusions with Push/Pull would be to that distance with a double click.

Offset also works the same way with the double click.

Posted: 7:27 am on September 16th

MJJoiner MJJoiner writes: Thanx Dave for the double click tip with the push/pull function. But until I perform a drag to the intended endpoint at least once I get random results. I don't think that you had to do this in your initial video so what I'm I missing? Need to hold a key or move the mouse in a certain manner?
Posted: 12:57 am on September 16th

DaveRichards DaveRichards writes: Beem, I'm glad you picked up something useful.

David, you could do it that way but I wouldn't. I'll add a short video clip showing how to make a tapered sliding dovetail.

By the way, I made these as through sliding dovetails but stopped ones would be very similar. On the shelf I would run the dovetail though to the opposite side as I did in the video and then orbit around to the other side, draw a line at the base of the dovetail and push the end of the dovetail back to the end of the socket. You could think of that as similar to making the dovetail in the shop.

Posted: 10:05 am on September 9th

David_Heim David_Heim writes: How about a tapered sliding dovetail? Wouldn't you have to draw the dovetail profile at both ends of the side, then switch to X-ray view and connect the two, and finish by erasing waste?
Posted: 9:03 am on September 9th

beem beem writes: Very cool, Dave! And I had no idea about double clicking the push/pull to remove waste. Thank you.
Posted: 6:50 pm on September 8th

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