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Tapered Sliding Dovetail alternatives..

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Forum topic by ScottKaye posted 08-03-2015 04:36 PM 1495 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ScottKaye

472 posts in 1418 days


08-03-2015 04:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tapered sliding dovetail joining

The wife gave me marching orders to replace the 80’s style particle board and glass entertainment center in our bedroom with something a little more sleek and up to date. So I thought I would get all the electronics off the floor and up on the wall under the TV. The idea has blossomed in my head from a simple shelf to a cabinet of sorts using joinery I have never attempted.

As you can see from the snipping tool capture of sketchup (I have no idea how to convert a skp file to a jpg so I just used Microsofft’s snipping tool to grab a screen shot) I’m attempting to use a sliding dovetail for the two center supports in the cabinet. these guys are just about 10” wide front to back and there in lies my problem. I understand you can use a “normal” sliding dovetail for small pieces up to an inch or two in depth. After that, due to the natural movement of wood it becomes increasingly difficult to slide a longer male sliding dovetail into its corresponding female slot. Thus the Tapered Sliding dovetail was born. Ok, since this is my first time using this joinery I thought Id try and simplify things for myself by NOT using a tapered sliding dovetail and just use a modified version instead. For the lack lack of a better term I call it a skipped sliding dovetail since roughly 7” of the 10” the male portion of the sliding dovetail has been cut away. Of course the joint will be a little weaker but not by much and it should still function better than a dado or stopped dado. I’m interested in your opinions if I’m on to something here.

I’m not sure how helpful this will be but here is the X-ray version of the joint

Thanks for your input!

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"


24 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2146 posts in 1638 days


#1 posted 08-03-2015 04:57 PM

I think you’re onto something. The primary stress on the joint is compression with a back on the cabinet there won’t be much racking.
you will still need to make the rear and center tail tapered just to make it slide all the way in but there will be a lot less surface to try to slide back there.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4035 posts in 1817 days


#2 posted 08-03-2015 06:24 PM

I can’t see much advantage over a dado as there are no stresses trying to pull the cabinet apart from within. I would be more concerned about the joinery on the ends. Looks like you have a miter there, which is inherently weak. You are still going to have to slide those dovetails the full length of the joint, there will be a lot of friction to over come and you will have make the joints a bit loose or beat the hell out of it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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JayT

4785 posts in 1677 days


#3 posted 08-03-2015 06:42 PM

I don’t see an advantage over a dado, either. You’ve got the dovetails, with the concern bondo mentions, but have now lost 70% of your glue surface.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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ScottKaye

472 posts in 1418 days


#4 posted 08-03-2015 07:06 PM


I can t see much advantage over a dado as there are no stresses trying to pull the cabinet apart from within. I would be more concerned about the joinery on the ends. Looks like you have a miter there, which is inherently weak. You are still going to have to slide those dovetails the full length of the joint, there will be a lot of friction to over come and you will have make the joints a bit loose or beat the hell out of it.

- bondogaposis

I failed to mention that the miters are going to be blind splined. As far as going for the dovetail over the dado or blind dado, I like the look of the dovetail over a dado joint as the carcass face will be seen as I don’t plan to build a face frame. As JohnstoneB said above, Id probably still have to taper the last two joints so I wouldn’t as you say have to beat the hell out of it! :) I bet I could do that on the router table by just moving the fence back a few thousandths of an inch and stopping before I got to the front dovetail. Other than that, the only solution to the problem would be to build actual tapered sliding dovetails which I would need a lot of practice doing before committing to the cherry I plan on using in this project.

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

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JayT

4785 posts in 1677 days


#5 posted 08-03-2015 07:19 PM



As far as going for the dovetail over the dado or blind dado, I like the look of the dovetail over a dado joint as the carcass face will be seen as I don t plan to build a face frame.

- ScottKaye

In that case, I would do do something like this

Still get the look of a sliding dovetail, but much easier to build and assemble. Most of the joint is a dado, with just the front getting the construction and look of a sliding dovetail. Assembly is simply dropping the divider in and pushing it the length of the dovetail section forward. That could be as little as 3/8 or 1/2 to get the look you want.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

472 posts in 1418 days


#6 posted 08-03-2015 07:28 PM

Still get the look of a sliding dovetail, but much easier to build and assemble. Most of the joint is a dado, with just the front getting the construction and look of a sliding dovetail. Assembly is simply dropping the divider in and pushing it the length of the dovetail section forward. That could be as little as 3/8 or 1/2 to get the look you want.

- JayT

hmm, that may work.. would want to try it in a test piece first..

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

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JayT

4785 posts in 1677 days


#7 posted 08-03-2015 07:44 PM

Yeah, a test would be good. I’ve never done it, but it makes sense in my head. Might still have some issues with friction, but at least you’re only sliding the pieces a very short length instead of the full width of the shelf.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2283 days


#8 posted 08-03-2015 07:45 PM

I’ve done none tapered sliding dovetails on shelves at least that long before and was able to assemble them without too much trouble. Obviously don’t put glue on the whole joint, or glue the female side to halfway and the male side to halfway (but the other half) so there is only glue touching once you get it already halfway in. I hear that using hide glue helps too, since it’s slipperier than yellow glue, but I haven’t tried it.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View SFP's profile

SFP

14 posts in 722 days


#9 posted 08-03-2015 09:31 PM



The wife gave me marching orders to replace the 80 s style particle board and glass entertainment center in our bedroom with something a little more sleek and up to date. So I thought I would get all the electronics off the floor and up on the wall under the TV. The idea has blossomed in my head from a simple shelf to a cabinet of sorts using joinery I have never attempted.

As you can see from the snipping tool capture of sketchup (I have no idea how to convert a skp file to a jpg so I just used Microsofft s snipping tool to grab a screen shot) I m attempting to use a sliding dovetail for the two center supports in the cabinet. these guys are just about 10” wide front to back and there in lies my problem. I understand you can use a “normal” sliding dovetail for small pieces up to an inch or two in depth. After that, due to the natural movement of wood it becomes increasingly difficult to slide a longer male sliding dovetail into its corresponding female slot. Thus the Tapered Sliding dovetail was born. Ok, since this is my first time using this joinery I thought Id try and simplify things for myself by NOT using a tapered sliding dovetail and just use a modified version instead. For the lack lack of a better term I call it a skipped sliding dovetail since roughly 7” of the 10” the male portion of the sliding dovetail has been cut away. Of course the joint will be a little weaker but not by much and it should still function better than a dado or stopped dado. I m interested in your opinions if I m on to something here.

I m not sure how helpful this will be but here is the X-ray version of the joint

Thanks for your input!

Scott

- ScottKaye


View SFP's profile

SFP

14 posts in 722 days


#10 posted 08-03-2015 09:34 PM

Done what you are doing on a few projects. It works quite well. In fact it is my prefered method of case joinery since the sliding dovetail preempts the need for lots of clamps. Assemble the joint and ONLY glue the last inch or so of the dovetail. Much faster than a tapered dovetail!

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

628 posts in 1418 days


#11 posted 08-03-2015 09:57 PM

I am curious why you want the dovetail to show on the front. Why not use a simple stopped dado? Easy to cut, easy to assemble, strong, and it won’t have any of the joinery showing on the front.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1723 days


#12 posted 08-03-2015 11:04 PM

Scott, there was an article in the May’15 FWW about making sliding DTs. It might be worthwhile for you to give it a read. If you don’t have access, let me know and I can let you borrow my copy.

-- Art

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

472 posts in 1418 days


#13 posted 08-03-2015 11:36 PM



Scott, there was an article in the May 15 FWW about making sliding DTs. It might be worthwhile for you to give it a read. If you don t have access, let me know and I can let you borrow my copy.

- AandCstyle

Art,
Thanks for the tip! I don’t subscribe to that one. I may take you up on your offer if I cant find someone at work that has it.
Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

472 posts in 1418 days


#14 posted 08-03-2015 11:38 PM



I am curious why you want the dovetail to show on the front. Why not use a simple stopped dado? Easy to cut, easy to assemble, strong, and it won t have any of the joinery showing on the front.

- Kazooman

Its all about expanding my skill set and trying something new. As a matter of fact, I try to incorporate something new in all of my builds. For instance I just built these Grooming Boxes for the barn my kids ride at. I had never done box joints before so I built a box joint sled for the table saw and had a ball. I think they turned out well

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View CharlieK's profile

CharlieK

467 posts in 3259 days


#15 posted 08-04-2015 01:49 AM

HI Scott,

It looks like the snippet tool works great! If you want to export as a JPG from Sketchup you can click on File, then Export, and then 2D Graphic.

BTW, I admire you for wanting to stretch your skills.

Charlie

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans http://www.Jack-Bench.com

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