Sliding Dovetail question

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Forum topic by 12strings posted 02-16-2012 09:37 AM 2266 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 1804 days

02-16-2012 09:37 AM

Are there any foreseeable problems making a sliding dovetail in which the tail piece is oak plywood and the groove is routed in a piece of solid oak? I would like to make a medium sized table and use plywood for the rails, connecting the plywood rails to solid oak legs using a sliding dovetail. Is this a bad idea?

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

4 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2494 days

#1 posted 02-16-2012 03:13 PM

This does not sound like a good idea.

I advise that you experiment with some scrap material before doing it on the real thing.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 1804 days

#2 posted 02-16-2012 07:44 PM

What about this sounds iffy to you? The fact that the rails are plywood, or the whole idea of a sliding dovetail attaching rails?

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Loren's profile


8159 posts in 3068 days

#3 posted 02-16-2012 07:59 PM

If you do this you might want to laminate the ply to 1” or thicker to
give it more stiffness. A 4” wide length of 3/4” ply is not as stiff as
even a soft pine board of the same dimension.

The other issue is that the veneer on oak ply is 1/40” thick and
won’t take a finish the same as your solid oak legs. Run a finish
test and ask yourself if it’s worth the cost savings of using the
ply vs. solid after you’ve seen the lack of match you get with
the finish.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2728 days

#4 posted 02-16-2012 08:10 PM

I have often used dovetails to fasten rails to legs and they work great and are very strong…However I have never used plywood and I agree that it is not very rigid when compared to solid wood.
The rails in the photo have 5” long 3/4” dovetails.

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