Cutting Half-Blind Dovetails: Tails First
I am trying to create a new drawer for an old dresser, and I’m concerned about cutting the half-blind dovetails in the lipped drawer front. When I make through-dovetails, I always cut the tails first. Is there any reason to change for these half-blinds? (The drawer front is 3/4 in. thick with a 1/2-in. by 1/2-in. rabbet around the inside edges. It will attach to 1/2-in. sides.)
Thomas Delia, Mt. Pleasant, MI
You can stay with your cutting order: tails first, then pins. But both cuts should come after you mill the rabbet around the inside of the drawer front. Measure the depth of the rabbet (it might turn out to be 15/32 in. instead of 1/2 in.) and cut the tails on the front ends of the drawer sides; their length should be equal to the rabbet depth.
Once the tails are cut, use them to mark out the…