Dovetail cube?

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Forum topic by Case101 posted 10-01-2014 10:57 PM 1492 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 1815 days

10-01-2014 10:57 PM

I’m new to dovetails and I have a question. I’ve searched around and I’m not able to find what I’m looking for. Maybe it’s not doable.

I want to make a box with all sides joined with dovetails. So basically a cube with dovetails joining every flat surface. (all 4 sides and top and bottom) After it’s all joined I want to cut it apart on the table saw to make the lid.

How would this be accomplished?


-- John, New Jersey

6 replies so far

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1705 days

#1 posted 10-01-2014 10:44 PM

First, a caution … you are not considering wood movement in your design. Even a small box lid/bottom are going to move a little bit with seasonal changes in moisture, so your box might get some cracks.

As far as how to do it … dovetail like you would a drawer. Assemble dry. Cut your top and bottom to the size of your box. Lay out and cut tails in the top and bottom. Transfer your tails to the box sides. Cut pins in the box sides. Now, you might have questions based on those instructions … first answer – you are cutting these dovetails by hand and once you take that into account and figure out the terminology and how to cut dovetails by hand, you will have the answer to your question of how to dovetail all 6 sides of a cube.

-- Jesse Felling -

View Case101's profile


107 posts in 1815 days

#2 posted 10-01-2014 11:31 PM

Thank you for the reply…
I’m using the Incra system. Today I did my first through dovetails for drawers for the router table I made.

I was wondering if I could use plywood and do corner post dovetail for all the edges. This would give me the stability of the plywood, the corner post dovetails would hide the laminates of the plywood. Thoughts?


-- John, New Jersey

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2600 days

#3 posted 10-01-2014 11:57 PM

View runswithscissors's profile


2764 posts in 2048 days

#4 posted 10-02-2014 07:03 AM

I have found cutting dovetails (with a router) very difficult in plywood, even in good quality Baltic birch. Face veneers want to splinter.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#5 posted 10-02-2014 07:17 AM

Dovetails cut into long grain are fragile and
would be easy to break off just in test fitting.

Dovetails are an end-grain joint.

If the box is of a modest size, perhaps 6”
wide, you can get away with gluing a
top and bottom to the dovetailed center
section and wood movement should not
be a problem. Go wider and you may see
seasonal problems.

View Case101's profile


107 posts in 1815 days

#6 posted 10-02-2014 01:00 PM

The box will be approximately 9×12”

-- John, New Jersey

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