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How to Create Various Dovetail Joints

From Through Dovetails to Half-Blind Dovetail Joints

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Dovetail joints have been used for centuries for building boxes, chests, drawers and other woodworking projects where the joints are not only visible, but used as a design statement. Well-built dovetail joints need no mechanical fasteners (although modern joints use adhesives to help keep the joint from separating over time). Learn the various types of dovetail joints, plus methods for making these popular joints.

1. Through Dovetails

Through Dovetail Joints
(c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.
The most basic dovetail joint, the through dovetail is incredibly strong, and if properly constructed, really a thing of beauty. Of course, therein lies the rub, in that it takes some patience and skill to craft through dovetail joints by hand, but modern technology has made the task much easier. With a router, dovetailing bit and a dovetail jig, you can make nearly perfect dovetails in mere moments. Here are the keys to crafting a quality through dovetail.

2. Half-Blind Dovetail Joints

Half-Blind Dovetail Joints
(c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

While a through dovetail is considered a classic joint, in certain instances, you may want only a portion of the dovetail to be shown. For instance, a solid dresser drawer front shouldn't show the dovetail joint, but on the sides of the box it is perfectly permissible. Half-blind dovetail joints are perfect for such an instance. In this article, learn the art of half-blind dovetail joint making.

3. Sliding Dovetail Joints

Sliding Dovetail Joint
(c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

A sliding dovetail joint is one that is not commonly used, but in specific instances a sliding dovetail joint can be just what your project needs. For instance, some classic furniture pieces utilized sliding dovetail joinery for wooden drawer slides, which allows the drawer to slide in and out, but with no up or down motion. In this article, learn how to craft a sliding dovetail joint.

4. Dovetail Jigs

KatieJig Dovetail Jig
(c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

Don't want to cut your dovetails by hand? Then you probably want to use a dovetail jig. In this series of articles, read reviews of a variety of different dovetailing systems, to determine the dovetail jig that is just right for your woodshop.

5. Box Joints - A Dovetail Alternative

Box Joints
(c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

Sometimes, a woodworking project may require a strong joint, but a dovetail joint may not be an ideal choice. A simpler joint (albeit weaker and not quite as visually stunning) to consider is the box joint. Think of a box joint as a dovetail joint with square pins and tails. Fortunately, you can crank box joints out all day using a table saw and a simple jig. Learn how in this woodworking article.

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