Help with dovetailed case

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Forum topic by Matthew posted 10-15-2014 06:45 PM 954 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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95 posts in 2600 days

10-15-2014 06:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource


I am getting ready to begin building a nightstand that will feature a dovetailed case. The dovetails will be through dovetails with mitered shoulders (ends). In my head I am picturing setting the back panel in a rabbet, but I can’t seem to visualize how to cut this joint without messing up the dovetails. More to the point, I guess I am asking what order to cut the joints in.

I plan to hand cut the dovetails, and use a router for the rabbet

The way I imagine it, I can:

1. Cut the rabbet first, and then layout the dovetails to accommodate
2. Cut the dovetails first, then rabbet
3. Cut the dovetails, assemble the case, and the run a rabbeting bit with a beating around the edge.

Am I just missing something or making this too complex?

Should the rabbet be cut in all four sides of the case or, just two? (Top and bottom, or side and side).

Thanks for the help. Also, if anyone has a link to a good article on cutting the mitered shoulder dovetails or an article on rabbet joints for case backs, please share.

-- Matthew, Columbia - South Carolina ----- Jesus was a carpenter...

1 reply so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2777 days

#1 posted 10-15-2014 08:11 PM

Usually the rabbet only needs to be cut in three sides of a dovetailed case. It all depends on your design, so a detailed plan helps. The rabbet will be the least of your worries. I usually cut the joinery first, then finish with the rabbet. Laying things out ahead of time is always helpful.
Cutting the rabbet before assembly is easier for me.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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