Dovetails with ply and solid

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Forum topic by agianni posted 01-21-2011 06:59 PM 1191 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 3195 days

01-21-2011 06:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: maple plywood dovetail

I’m building some drawers for an entertainment unit and I was thinking about making the drawer bodies out of birch ply but the fronts out of maple and they would be joined by dovetails. Should I consider doing this? Or will the differences between the wood types cause problems with the joints? i.e. will the plywood and maple shrink and swell at different rates and cause the joints to open up? These will be 100% finished, so they shouldn’t have any serious exposure to shrinking and swelling.

-- Andrew

3 replies so far

View Darren J's profile

Darren J

3 posts in 3728 days

#1 posted 01-21-2011 07:05 PM

It’s possible you would have issues with swelling, but it probably depends on how deep your drawers are. I considered making drawers like that once, but was really concerned about chip-out of the ply faces when cutting the dovetails.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3850 days

#2 posted 01-21-2011 07:15 PM

Dovetailing ply to solid woods usually works fine. Expansion and contraction
of woods usually only causes problems with bigger joints, like very long

Make sure the maple is dry though.

View TheDane's profile


5552 posts in 3866 days

#3 posted 01-21-2011 09:01 PM

I assume we are talking router-cut, half-blind dovetails and baltic birch?

If so, it helps reduce tear-out if you use a marking knife or marking gauge (to define the line across the stock) then do a light scoring cut before you route them.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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