How to Lay Out and Cut Dovetails for a Box
A box is the perfect project to learn how to cut dovetails by hand.
This is the second of three articles on making a simple dovetailed box. The first article explained how to mill the cherry stock for the box. Here, we show how to lay out and cut the dovetails. In the next article you’ll learn how to assemble the box and add the hinges.
Planning and cutting dovetails
In the dovetailing courses I’ve taught, most students have found a sample set to pore over very useful. Of course, you need to make that first set to have it to study (it’s a chicken and egg thing).
My dovetailing strategies have become habit over the years, both good and bad. I’ll show you the whole process, though I admit taking shortcuts sometimes. It’s traditional to cut half pins, not half tails. I’ve also made one tail wider to accommodate the kerf of material lost when the box is sawn in…