Dovetails on 10/4 stock

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Forum topic by 50tree posted 11-18-2016 05:24 AM 731 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 753 days

11-18-2016 05:24 AM

I ran across some inexpensive African Cherry (Makore), 10/4 by 18” by 9’. $6.99/bf.

I’m going to make a seating bench for my foyer. The top will be about five-feet long and the legs about 17.5”.

I’m going to dovetail the joinery and leave it at that. No stretcher. Im pretty comfortable hand cutting dovetails but I’m guessing I’ll need a ladder to pull this off.

My main concern is marking out the tails after I cut the pins. How in the heck am going to keep it squared?

Anyone ever done anything like this?

5 replies so far

View Andre's profile


2203 posts in 2004 days

#1 posted 11-18-2016 06:50 AM

Marking is not the problem, I did some D.T. on some 8/4 cedar for planters and found out real quick a small error gets big way quicker. I also did not take into account that cutting horizontal on the long sides ( 8 feet ) is a lot harder than one thinks!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2729 days

#2 posted 11-18-2016 07:38 AM

Not sure which way you want to orient your DTs, but I’ll assume you want the pins on the end of the long top board, sockets on the top of the sides/legs – similar to carcase joinery, just larger.

I’d use a bandsaw to cut the pins. Create a ramp angled to the side at your dovetail angle (7° or so). Incorporate a stop so you don’t have to fuss with cutting to a line while pushing a long piece.

Marking the pins to the legs should be easy – lay both pieces on their sides and clamp them square using a right angle clamping jig, something like this:

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View 50tree's profile


3 posts in 753 days

#3 posted 11-18-2016 04:56 PM

Andre, I’m going to stand the length of the board on end. Hence the ladder for sawing and marking. And yes, I’ve had the same experience ref. growing mistakes on thicker stock.

Mark, your advice ref. the right-angle jig is a game changer. I’ll definitely put that to use. I don’t have a band saw so I’ll do this by hand. Sockets on top.

I’ll take pics and document.

View 50tree's profile


3 posts in 753 days

#4 posted 11-19-2016 05:13 AM

So I found this on YouTube:

I found this guy’s approach very practical. And, I believe after seeing this that a ladder is unnecessary.

It’s a bit of luck that my start and finish dimensions are nearly the same as the builder in the video above.

Another question: Is a stretcher necessary? Starting out I assumed dovetails on 10/4 stock would be strong enough without worrying about wracking. I am I correct in this assumption?

View johnstoneb's profile


3054 posts in 2371 days

#5 posted 11-19-2016 05:09 PM

I think you will need a stretcher or angle braces.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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