Sign up for eletters today and get the latest techniques and how-to from Fine Woodworking, plus special offers. This is a geometric calculator only. UNLIMITED membership - Get access to it all. It's not that big of a piece, but it packs in a…, Chris Gochnour's sideboard combines usefulness, strength, and beauty in a contemporary case piece. The resulting joint, besides adding beauty to the case, also keeps the case sides from bowing. Slice individual keys from the blank (about 1⁄32 FPL testing on dovetail joints made at different angles between 7.5° and 17.5° showed no difference in joint strength. For centuries, the hand-cut dovetail joint has stood as a testament to the quality of the case, box, or drawer that beheld it. We have created these special content collections organized to give you a deep dive into a range of topics that matter. The best-looking dovetails have always been cut by hand. Using a Paring Block While Cutting Dovetails, Workshop Tip: Painter's tape helps with dovetail transfer, Workshop Tip: Hollow-chisel mortiser cuts time and trouble on half-blind dovetails, Threaded rod and epoxy: A versatile option for leg joinery, Ep 15b: Half-blind dovetailed drawer - part 2, Ep 15a: Half-blind dovetailed drawer - part 1, Video: Tune your tenons with a rabbet plane, How to cut stopped dadoes on the tablesaw, From the Editor: Publishing during a pandemic, Save 56% off the magazine newsstand price. Then, using a straight bit, we form the pins, leaving them just a hair wider than the sockets. One tip for cutting sliding dovetails: The tapered sides of the dovetail slot tend to trap chips in the slot as you cut. But if you happen to study antique furniture, you’re likely to see dovetail angles that range from 7° to 140 (1:4 ratio). Christian Becksvoort has cut thousands of dovetail joints, learn how he streamlines the process in his article, My Favorite Dovetail Tricks. A sliding bevel can be used also by setting it to the required dovetail angle. A tail-shaped tongue slides into a pin-shaped groove, and won’t pull apart when glue is applied. Therefore, point the tails front and rear, which means cutting the sockets in the drawer sides. The angle of the dovetail is generally between 15° and 20°. Generally, European trained woodworkers believe the pins should be done first. FPL testing on dovetail joints made at different angles between 7.5° and 17.5° showed no difference in joint strength. Subscribe to the newsletter and get 10% off your next purchase in addition to the latest products, guides and project ideas. With the key in place, the “butterfly” shape prevents the board(s) from separating. Alternative dovetails: Sliding dovetails and dovetail keys are close cousins of the traditional joint. Expert Answers: Proper Angles for Dovetails. If you want to skip the hand work, dovetails can also be cut using machines such as the tablesaw, bandsaw, or router. Get woodworking tips, expert advice and special offers in your inbox. These days, thanks to routers and dovetail bits, even a beginning woodworker can incorporate this joint to enhance the simplest projects. Expert Answers: Proper Angles for Dovetails, UPGRADE YOUR BANDSAW w/TIMBER WOLF BLADES & SAVE 20%. Dovetail bits come in an array of cutting angles—usually 7-14°—and heights (see photo, above), on both 1⁄2 Dovetails can be complex, but they do not need to be. Since the cleanest, most efficient way to cut any joint is to minimise the number of cuts you make, that shallow angle really counts. Or is it? In part two of this episode, Mike builds a drawer for the cabinet, taking your through his ever-methodical methods for perfect half-blind dovetails. And the shape of the dovetail makes it impossible to take apart in one direction and difficult in the other. The spacing (space between the pins) is usually twice the width of the pins. A. Woodworkers who came before us chose their dovetail angles for the sake of appearance, I suspect. Generally, the widest portion of the pin should be equal to 1/2 the thickness of the material. Here is how I went about setting out and cutting my dovetails using hand tools and with some practice you can too. Ensure gaps, angles, overlaps etc are suitable for construction. World famous woodworker George Nakashima used dovetail keys extensively in the furniture he built. The bowtie shape is cut from solid wood, with the grain running lengthwise, and set into the surface of a board at 90° to the grain. Since I have a dedicated set of dovetail chisels I’m able to keep them set with a very shallow cutting angle. Home If pre-cutting proves impractical, proceed slowly with the dovetail bit, backing it completely out of the cut frequently to clear chips and debris from the slot. This article is from Issue 85 of Woodcraft Magazine.