Tapered Sliding Dovetails by Router

For the  James Krenov-style hanging cabinet I built out of cherry for the April 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I used tapered sliding dovetails to join the case.

For a step-by-step slideshow of how to use a router to cut these joints, click on the video player below:

– Matthew Teague


8 thoughts on “Tapered Sliding Dovetails by Router

  1. jc-ce

    I used this technique this weekend and it surely made making a tapered dovetail much easier than my previous attempts. I used this to install vertical drawer dividers in a chest I am building. I had an initial issue with layout as these are tapered on one side only, but once a got over my brain cramp it was easy to do.

  2. lfkerby

    Nice idea. One thing that seems to have been left out of the description and photo sequence is to make sure that you shim the right side of the shelf when routing the tapered dovetail. Since only one edge of the dovetail slot has a taper, your shelf will not be level if you taper the wrong surface.

  3. tutorwood63

    Hi Matt

    Thanks for the video of the tapered sliding dovetail technique. I have a different technique for making sliding dovetails shown on my blog site which utilizes a router held in the horizontal position rather than a router table to cut the tails.
    I’ve made a number of large cabinets using this technique and have not encountered and major problems with binding.
    My blog address is http://www.tutorwood.com if you want to check it our. I’d be interested to get your opinion.

  4. Fred West

    Matthew, thank you for showing this. This is just my opinion but I would much prefer you write out the text and show the build live. As I say merely my own opinion and I am sure that many disagree. Fred

    1. Matthew TeagueMatthew Teague Post author

      Video would probably be my preference too, but as I’m often single-handed in the shop still shots are much more manageable (and probably safer too). Written instructions should be on the newsstand (or hopefully in your mailbox) soon, by the way; I walk through the whole process in the April issue. Thanks for watching.

  5. Mitch Wilson

    Nice, concise explanation of how to make this joint. Very helpful photos, as well. What taper dovetail bit did you use; 7, 10, 14 degree or something else?

    1. Matthew TeagueMatthew Teague Post author

      Thanks Mitch. I used a 1/2″ x 1/2″ 14 degree bit (Whiteside D14-55), but any 1/2″ x 1/2″ bit should work fine. I usually keep the 14 degree bit on hand because I also use it to dovetail drawers at the router table. For that task I like the 14 degree bit because it is narrower at the start of the cutter, which looks better on drawers. But I digress. . . .

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