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woodworking techniques

  • Dovetail joints look fabulous when done well

    Creating your own furniture can be a very rewarding experience and one thing that when done well, looks fantastic and stands the test of time are dovetail joints. They are not as tricky as you might think, all you need is a practical and logical approach, the correct tools and lots of time and patience. This is not a job that can be hurried, it is one that will take a good deal of time to do properly. If you have never attempted dovetails before, spend a little bit time practicing on spare pieces of wood so that you can hone your technique.

    Step1: The first step is to mark a line at the end of the first piece of timber that is as wide as the thickness of your second piece of timber. Make sure to mark this line around all faces and sides of the timber.

    making a dovetail joint picture 1

    Step2: The next step is marking out the dovetails now there are a few ways of doing this but the easiest and most accurate would be to use a dovetail gauge.

    Other methods use calculations and a sliding bevel to create the dovetails which allow you to create more or less of them but also requires greater accuracy or the joint will not work so a dovetail gauge will probably be more suitable.

    making a dovetail joint picture 2                                                 making a dovetail joint picture 3

    Step3: You must now run across each line with a marking knife to make the cut straight and neat.

    Only cut the timber which is being removed or you will see deep scratches on the pins that are not being removed. To help you remember which to mark you can put an X on the pins which are going to be removed. Click here to continue


    Further information

    Dovetail joints

    Box joints - a simple alternative to dovetail joints

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