tails on long board or short board ?

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Forum topic by yrob posted 10-03-2011 08:10 PM 1040 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View yrob's profile


340 posts in 3677 days

10-03-2011 08:10 PM

I am wondering if they are guidelines for placing the pins and tails in a dovetail joint. If you are making a carcass or a box, Does it matter which side you choose to be the tail board?

For example, is there a case to be made for structural integrity ? or is it just design esthetics?

-- Yves

7 replies so far

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2717 days

#1 posted 10-03-2011 08:12 PM

I think it’s just a look thing. You’ll have to stop your bottom dados either way. Long sides are usually tails but I’m not sure if that’s just tradition or not. I’m curious to hear.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3673 days

#2 posted 10-03-2011 08:25 PM

that depends on the box in question.

For structural purposes, the pins should be on the part of the box that is pulled on (top of a portable toolbox, front of a drawer for example). For boxes/carcasses that are not subjected to any pulling action on them it really makes not difference and is left for subjective appearance preference.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3139 days

#3 posted 10-03-2011 08:41 PM

Purplev is right


View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2526 days

#4 posted 10-04-2011 01:08 PM

If it has a hinged lid, then when the lid is open, the back will be pulled on. In that case it is better to have the pins on the back and the tails on the side.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3075 days

#5 posted 10-04-2011 03:06 PM

Just remember: ”Pins” are ”Pulled” on, as pointed out above. (Keep your “P’s” together.)

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3737 days

#6 posted 10-04-2011 06:00 PM

I always figured the dovetails pointed along the axis of most stress, or as above keep you Ps together.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 3677 days

#7 posted 10-05-2011 12:11 AM

Ok thanks for the input guys. I got it, Keep your ‘P’’s together..

-- Yves

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