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A paper mock-up can help you achieve a strong and decorative Houndstooth dovetail.

As an aerospace engineer I don’t often get the opportunity to sprinkle snippets of beauty into my day job – “I mean, isn’t a missile going super-sonic beautiful enough?” Definitely not when it comes to woodworking!  I’m starting to realize that one of my weaknesses is my inability to interject design aspects into my woodworking while maintaining structural integrity.  But truthfully, these two things don’t need to be separate and exclusive. Case and point, the Houndstooth dovetail has become a common joint used to strengthen the end cap on many traditional workbenches as well as adding a decorative element, especially when using contrasting woods (in my case, Hard Maple and Black Walnut). I decided to incorporate the Houndstooth dovetail into my Moxon vise mini bench. With limited experience in cutting dovetails, I knew I was in for a real treat.

The Houndstooth dovetail consists of long pins and tails, and short truncated pins interleaved into the tails.

To attack this joint I called upon my strengths as an engineer and an academic.


 

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