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Sliding Dovetail joints for Elevated Garden Bed

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Forum topic by gtaus posted 02-12-2016 02:38 PM 621 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gtaus

3 posts in 295 days


02-12-2016 02:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dovetail elevated garden bed

I am planning on building elevated garden beds for use this summer. One commercial setup I read about uses 4X4” posts with sliding dovetail joints so you can just quickly drop in the 2X6” side lumber tail pieces in place. I would like to try to build something like that myself. This is a new adventure for me and I have a few basic questions about dovetail joints.

Most of the dovetail bits I see are 1/2” wide. That does not appear to be very much holding power for what I need, using 2X6” lumber as the tail pieces. The 2X6” boards would be 4’ long, and I am thinking the elevated garden bed would be either 2X4’ or 4X4’, about 12” deep, 3’ high. Filled with potting soil/compost mix, I don’t want the tail pieces to break off the 2X6” boards and the garden bed to pull apart. How big/wide should the dovetail joint be for max holding power? Thanks.


4 replies so far

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pintodeluxe

4852 posts in 2273 days


#1 posted 02-12-2016 04:33 PM

You can make multiple passes when cutting the dovetail socket. Really it can be as wide as you like.
Sliding dovetails lay out much like mortise and tenons. Leave enough meat so the side walls aren’t too weak.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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runswithscissors

2176 posts in 1485 days


#2 posted 02-13-2016 08:42 PM

You can also make the dovetail slot by bevel ripping two strips of wood, and applying these to the post. This is an easy way to make them as large (wide and deep) as you want. I’ve even used this method to make undermount drawer slides.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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gtaus

3 posts in 295 days


#3 posted 02-15-2016 01:35 AM



You can make multiple passes when cutting the dovetail socket. Really it can be as wide as you like.
...
- pintodeluxe

OK. Was looking at some DIY instructions and they used a straight bit for the inside cuts and the dovetail bit for the final outside cuts. Don’t know if the straight bit was used because it cuts easier, or maybe they wanted to save the dovetail bit by reducing the number of times it was used. Either way, I guess a single 1/2” dovetail bit would work fine and I can make the socket as wide as I want. Thanks.

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gtaus

3 posts in 295 days


#4 posted 02-15-2016 01:39 AM



You can also make the dovetail slot by bevel ripping two strips of wood, and applying these to the post. ...
- runswithscissors

I had not thought of that, so thank you. I can see where that approach would be very easy and fast. Thanks for the suggestion.

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