Plywood and dovetails

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Forum topic by Slacker posted 05-14-2008 01:00 AM 1256 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Slacker's profile


178 posts in 3878 days

05-14-2008 01:00 AM

I am building a tool cabinet and thought, since I bought the Porter Cable dovetail jig, that I would connect the sides and top/bottom with dovetails in the corners. Alas, a good idea gone wrong…

First, I burned out my dovetail router bit. I refuse to believe Porter Cable makes crappy router bits (am I right?), so could it be that plywood and router bits don’t like each other? Is it just the plywood that they sell at Home Depot? Can I salvage the router bit?

I managed to cut the tails, but the pins, the pins were something else entirely… It appears as if the void volume in the plywood that they sell at Home Depot is excessive. Those plys on the pins were just falling out. I tried scoring the base of the tails, but that did not help at all.

Any ideas? I am totally new to dovetailing…

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

4 replies so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3945 days

#1 posted 05-14-2008 01:15 AM

well i have seen norm dovetail plywood once in a while but i don’t recommend it. also the fact that there is all that dried glue in the plywood is probably what is wreaking havoc on you bit. i stick with solid wood when cutting dovetails.

View joey's profile


396 posts in 4081 days

#2 posted 05-14-2008 03:11 AM

What grade or type plywood are you using, I have dovetailed plywood with no more that some minor tear our many time but I was using cabinet grade plywood, oh course hardwoods are the best way to go. but plywood is totally doable it sounds like there might been something the plywood that you hit with your bit. I have noticed lately that the plywood at home depot looks pretty bad I don’t buy any there for anymore, except OSB, or for rough construction, and lately I have been going to smaller yards and paying more just to get flat sheets of 1/2 cdx or 3/4 T & G sheeting. good luck and keep us posted

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View Slacker's profile


178 posts in 3878 days

#3 posted 05-14-2008 03:31 AM

This happened on $48 birch plywood from Home Depot. Just looking and the wood and I see all these gaps all over the place. Unfortunately, here in Orlando there are not many lumber yards except for Woodcraft, and they are in BFE.

-- Adapt, improvise, overcome

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 4000 days

#4 posted 05-14-2008 04:56 AM

The best way to learn is by first hand expiences and you just had one, we’ve all been their at one time or another. If you want to try again using plywood you’ll have to upgrade to baltic plywood a little more expensive but it can be accomplished. If you decide to try use a scrap backer board on all cuts this will give you alittle more support and will prevent blow-out in your work piece…hope this help good luck…Blkcherry

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