Why Leave Marks on Dovetails?
I don’t understand why people leave a layout line marking the tails on a dovetail joint. Other layout lines and marks never show on a finished piece, so why are dovetails an exception?
Dick Snedeker, West Windsor, NJ
We notice the layout lines on dovetails because those joints always attract scrutiny. A dovetail is one of the few joints where you can see how precisely the pieces are cut and fitted. My guess is that some woodworkers leave the scribe line in the finished joint to emulate traditional pieces. Personally, I find the layout line not very attractive. I mark my lines with a light touch, so I can easily plane them away when I clean up the joint.
Photo: Steve Scott