Tapered Sliding Dovetails by Hand
Specialty plane helps cut this self-locking joint
Synopsis: Often used in partitions and to join fixed shelves to cabinet sides, sliding dovetails are a useful joint that can sometimes be frustrating to fit. Chris Gochnour prefers the tapered variety because it is easier to slide in from the back yet still fits tightly at the end of the socket. Learn how to size one and cut it by hand with a dovetail plane.
Sliding dovetails are a very useful joint in furniture making. I like to use them for partitions and fixed shelves in cabinets. Getting standard sliding dovetails to fit snugly along their whole length without seizing can be frustrating, however. That’s why I taper the joint, making it narrower at the front than the back. This enables me to slide the key in from the back with ease until the very end, when it firmly tightens in the socket.
These joints are quick to…