Not Just a Stuffed Dove

What’s really fascinating about this “Woodwright’s Shop” video excerpt is the way Roy Underhill expands the definition of dovetails and dovetailing. Woodworkers can get into a rut thinking only about through dovetails and half-blinds. But what makes a dovetail a dovetail is not just the look of the pins and tails on the corner of a drawer – it’s the internal structure of the joint and how the wood faces meet each other. Over the years, woodworkers have taken that basic concept and applied it in many different ways.

After showing viewers the basic half-blind dovetail (and a stuffed dove), Roy displays large carpenter’s dovetails on the top of his workbench. He then points out a dovetail-like through tenon on the base of the same bench, including a demonstration of how that joint comes apart and goes together.

Finally, Roy shows you a tricky little joint that looks like a stopped mortise and tenon, but functions like a dovetail. This involves a wedging method called fox wedging. In true “Woodwright’s Shop,” innovative form, the viewer gets to see the internal workings of this joint. That’s because Roy has built a removable face piece on the mortise board. Pull away the face and there you have it!

Buy the full episode – and all of “The Woodwright’s Shop” season 26 – in our store for only $29.99! (The store page will be live on Friday, May 23rd.)

Dan Farnbach

Woodworking Daily Blog
Dan Farnbach

About Dan Farnbach

Dan apprenticed and worked in two professional shops during the years after college. But sweeping shop floors only goes so far toward learning woodworking. These days Dan is a former online editor for Popular Woodworking, and is learning new skills every day. He divides his time between Boston and Maine.