Your First Hand-cut Dovetails

The right techniques and tools (plus a few tricks) will give you a good start on mastering this fine traditional joint.
By Lonnie Bird
Pages: 60-65

From the February 2005 issue #146
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Dovetails have long been recognized as the premier joint for casework and drawers – and for good reason. They’re the strongest way to join the corners of a box, and they look great.

However, dovetails also have a reputation as a difficult joint to master. But cutting dovetails by hand only looks difficult. It’s actually just a process of sawing and chiseling to a line. It’s that easy. (And with a bit of practice, everyone can saw and chisel to a line.) In fact, when I teach dovetailing, I start people out not by cutting dovetails, but just sawing to a line. Once you’ve mastered sawing to a line, you’re on your way to creating this time-honored joint.

From the February 2005 issue #146
Buy this issue now