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dovetail box bottoms

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Forum topic by bobasaurus posted 560 days ago 1664 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bobasaurus

1166 posts in 1767 days


560 days ago

I was wondering how all of you deal with bottoms on your dovetail boxes. If you cut regular through dovetails, a dado/rabbet for a ply bottom will protrude through the visible endgrain and make ugly square holes in the final box. One way around this is to cut stopped dados/rabbets, which is a pain in the ass on a router table with the setup and difficult initial cuts. I don’t have a good way to hand plane stopped dados, though I imagine a router plane would help. I suppose another way is to use a bearing rabbet bit on the router and cut a rounded-edge rabbet after the box is already assembled.

Half-blind dovetail boxes don’t have this problem if the dado position is carefully planned, but I like the look of through dovetails more sometimes.

-- Allen, Colorado


22 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8475 posts in 2232 days


#1 posted 560 days ago

stopped dadoes

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

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

1166 posts in 1767 days


#2 posted 560 days ago

How do you go about making your stopped dados, PurpLev?

-- Allen, Colorado

View WillAdams's profile

WillAdams

78 posts in 578 days


#3 posted 560 days ago

I drill holes at the beginning and ending points using a drill press, scribe along the outside edges they define, then chisel out the waste—- working w/ the grain it’s not too bad.

I did make a router plane for one set, but it’s too wide for most of the boxes I make and I haven’t found time to grind a narrower iron.

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bobasaurus

1166 posts in 1767 days


#4 posted 560 days ago

That’s an interesting method, Will. I may have to give it a try… use a small chisel like a plane to hog out the area between the holes.

-- Allen, Colorado

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8475 posts in 2232 days


#5 posted 560 days ago

I myself use router table and stops. the stops don’t necessarily have to be perfect as long as they mate with the adjacent part, and don’t protrude from the edge of the part (obviously as they are ‘stopped’ dadoes).

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

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

1166 posts in 1767 days


#6 posted 560 days ago

Good point about the stops, PurpLev. The thing that scares me is lowering the piece onto a moving bit initially, since I can’t plunge on the table like I can with the standalone base (as far as I know, at least).

-- Allen, Colorado

View WillAdams's profile

WillAdams

78 posts in 578 days


#7 posted 560 days ago

I use a pair of chisels:

- a wide one—- drive it in by hand at an angle along each scored line
- a narrow chisel the width of the groove—- use it to remove material

alternate as necessary—- avoid the temptation to whack on the wide chisel w/ a mallet—- doing so too hard will split the board.

View Loren's profile

Loren

7152 posts in 2231 days


#8 posted 560 days ago

You can cut open grooves before you cut the
dovetails. Then, instead of a dovetail at the bottom,
you make a pair of little box joints just the thickness
of the material left over after the groove is cut. In
a box with 1/2” sides and a 1/4” deep x 1/4” wide
groove for the bottom set 1/4” up from the bottom,
you would cut a pair of little square 1/4” box
joints at each corner.

You can miter the corner too.

View RogerM's profile

RogerM

423 posts in 982 days


#9 posted 560 days ago

Stopped dadoes using the router table (1/4” or 1/8” bit)

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View teejk's profile

teejk

1204 posts in 1268 days


#10 posted 560 days ago

I get scared dropping anything onto a moving cutter. so I opt for overhand plunge router with a fence attachment to make “stopped” dados. or plan the dovetail pins/tails so that a straight dado will not be seen.

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 869 days


#11 posted 560 days ago

Dry fit the sides and then hand route using a slot cutting bit:

http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=47818&cat=1,46168,69435,46176&ap=1

-- John, BC, Canada

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10406 posts in 1273 days


#12 posted 560 days ago

I use stopped dados on the router table for all my box jointed boxes. Stop blocks mount on my fence. Route your dados 1/8” deep on the first pass, then deepen to final depth with 1 or 2 more passes. Much more controllable when dropping the workpiece down onto the bit with a shallow cut. I tried the drill holes at either end of the cut and I never got the cut lined up perfectly with the drill holes. Worked but it bugged me. A spiral bit also seems more controllable that a straight bit in my hands.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

1166 posts in 1767 days


#13 posted 560 days ago

John, the slot cutter on a dry fit is a nice idea, I might try it out.

gfadvm, a spiral bit would probably help the process quite a bit. I have a cheap set of MLCS carbide non-spiral bits that work okay, though I’ve somehow managed to snap the 1/4” straight bit in half when shallowly routing through pine. Is it a downspiral bit for the table-mounted slot routing, or an upspiral? I always get them confused.

-- Allen, Colorado

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10406 posts in 1273 days


#14 posted 560 days ago

Bob, I have some up and some down and I use them interchangably. The price scared me off these for a long time but mine are Grizzly’s and I’m happy with them (and I do a lot of tough woods)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1442 posts in 1010 days


#15 posted 560 days ago

Or you could use your buscuit joiner and cut a series of adjoining cuts and finish the ends with a chisel.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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