Dovetail Question...(s)?

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Forum topic by NavalAg05 posted 06-17-2013 01:39 AM 921 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 1900 days

06-17-2013 01:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: joining router

Have been trying to work up some very novice skills at dovetail joinery before I start my next projects.
Although I was able to hand cut a very crude portion, I think both the cheap pine, and cheap tools it was not very pretty and there was alot of chip out.

Move to the next step, I just built a box jig for my router table. Work great so far, and think with some practice I can start making it do what I want.

Heres the question,

What is special about / so special about dovetail router bits? Are they necessary for cutting good dovetail joints, or is the title “dovetail bit” just used to describe the special angles associated with the jointery?

Thanks in advance,


5 replies so far

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1897 days

#1 posted 06-17-2013 01:42 AM

I believe it simply refers to the shape of the bit. Dovetail router bits are very similar to other bits in every other facet, and are available at various price points. I was attempting my first hand cut dovetail box today, and broke the pins off on one side of the box by stressing against the grain to mark my final side for fit, without disassembling the opposite side. it was frustrating.

it was a tool box with a handle. i thought I’d turn the grain so the sides which attach to the handle would have a vertical grain. They were my best dovetails yet. I was thinking a router jig might be in my future. I must master handcut tails though.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3388 days

#2 posted 06-17-2013 01:49 AM

Yes, the term refers to the shape of the bit. I would, however, encourage you to buy a couple of poplar boards or whatever you can find for cheap and keep working on diong them by hand. Pine is not a good wood for practicing/learning dovetails. Get a decent saw, a couple decent chisels, get them SHARP and have at it.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View TheDane's profile


5448 posts in 3692 days

#3 posted 06-17-2013 01:52 AM

Check out the videos on Rob Cosman’s site ( ) ... he is a great hand tool coach.

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

View NavalAg05's profile


19 posts in 1900 days

#4 posted 06-17-2013 01:53 AM

Yeah, I figured with the first run on soft pine that I would have to use something a bit harder. Have plenty of scrap to keep practicing on. I will keep at the handcut attempts, but would really like to move into some of my projects.

Thanks for the insight on the bits!

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3676 days

#5 posted 06-17-2013 02:28 AM

I think “dovetail” is also used to refer to milling machine
cutters, It is essentially an undercut chamfer where the
bottom of the cutter is wider than the top.

In addition to cutting dovetail corner joints, they can
be used for cutting sliding dovetails, dovetailed
rabbets, and half sliding dovetails (a useful joint
which allows the joint to be refined with a
hand plane rather than a chisel).

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