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Lock Your Dovetails and Box Joints

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 03-14-2016 08:05 PM 1734 reads 3 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Early on in my career, when I took an interest in building furniture, I took a good look at antiques to get an idea of how furniture was constructed.

One of the biggest surprises to me, was to find that it was not uncommon to see dovetail joinery and box joints falling apart. This really surprised me until I came to understand the reasons why.

Through my study and observation of antique furniture, I also came up with a simple, yet ingenious solution to lock the dovetails and box joints together.

In this video I share my favorite woodworking tip and technique of all time, which is how I lock my dovetails and box joints together.

See This Video At YouTube

I hope you find the information in this video helpful and that you go out in the shop and give it a try.

Your friend in the shop-

Todd A. Clippinger

Share the Love – Share the Knowledge.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com



20 comments so far

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9444 posts in 3517 days


#1 posted 03-14-2016 08:37 PM

Todd!

Super TIP!

Simple TIP!

You covered all of the bases!

Love it… Will have to remember it!!

I plan on using it!

Thank you very much!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3564 days


#2 posted 03-14-2016 08:38 PM

Thanks Joe! Your enthusiasm brought a good laugh:)

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Roger's profile

Roger

19878 posts in 2269 days


#3 posted 03-14-2016 08:51 PM

Better than McDonalds…..............”I’m luvin it”... Fantastic idea. I really like that tall10 drawer tower there.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3564 days


#4 posted 03-14-2016 08:59 PM

Roger – I forgot to mention that one, but you can see the maple locking pins in the black walnut dovetails. That is one of the few pieces I made and we got to keep. My wife loves it.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

472 posts in 1418 days


#5 posted 03-14-2016 09:02 PM

Hiya Todd,

How soon before you reverse your income flow. Its been several months since you hung up your boots and retired to the confines of your shop. I’m glad you’re taking your time to get things right and working to givie us a quality product but sooner or later the dinero is gonna run out my friend! I’m eager to sign up for your class. I know my wallet will be open to you, so to speak!

Great job as always..

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3564 days


#6 posted 03-14-2016 09:28 PM

ScottKaye – Yep, the money’s running out and my butt’s scraping bottom right now.

It has been a lot of work and a lot more obstacles to overcome than I had planned on.

These videos have helped me work through a lot of issues in understanding my new equipment and the issues of managing properly managing files.

I am getting close, and you are right, sooner is better!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5056 posts in 2612 days


#7 posted 03-15-2016 12:06 AM

Great video, and great info, Todd! Thanks for sharing your time and expertise with us!

(Edited to add the word, sharing. Oops…...!)

-- Dean

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3564 days


#8 posted 03-15-2016 12:07 AM

You bet Dean! Thanks for checking out my latest offering!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3220 days


#9 posted 03-15-2016 12:43 AM

Thanks for the tip, Todd!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View MontanaBob's profile (online now)

MontanaBob

564 posts in 2149 days


#10 posted 03-15-2016 02:06 AM

Outstanding tip …..

-- To realize our true destiny, we must be guided not by a myth from our past, but by a vision of our future

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3141 days


#11 posted 03-15-2016 07:19 AM

Awesome tip! I gave it a thumbs up. I wish I could say I thought of it and used it, but can only ask why didn’t I think of that ;-)

What is your opinion of a small brad or finish nail in really small, petite boxes?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3564 days


#12 posted 03-15-2016 11:59 AM

Bob – the smallest boxes I have done so far are 3/16”. The smaller the parts get, the more precarious drilling the hole becomes.

If the wood is consistent material like maple, drilling can be pretty easy.

If there are strong differences in the seasonal growth like with vertical grain doug fir, the seasonal hard grain can easily make a small drill bit go off course and there is no margin for error in small parts.

But as far as using a small brad, I have not done that, but I imagine it could work. Inserting either a small dowel stock or the brad would likely be very similar, but the brad might be more difficult to cut, sand off, or make flush with the wood.

You know, it is one thing I did not try yet, I might have to experiment with that!

Thanks for watching!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3141 days


#13 posted 03-16-2016 04:48 AM

I was thinking a nail set for the small brad. Probably drill a pilot, but just for extremely thin material. I don’t like cluby looking sides.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3564 days


#14 posted 03-16-2016 02:05 PM

Bob – I am totally with you and agree on crafting a well proportioned box. I see where you are going with the brad and I do think that could work pretty well.

Funny thing I did not even think of that and your latest comment made me go “Oh – Duh! That would work great!”

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3141 days


#15 posted 03-17-2016 08:33 AM

Guess that proves 2 heads better than one. I was thinking why didn’t I think of that when I saw this tip ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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