Dove Tails

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Forum topic by woodchick posted 04-06-2009 07:58 PM 1637 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View woodchick's profile


29 posts in 3421 days

04-06-2009 07:58 PM

Does anyone know how to do dove tails really well? I could use some tips on how to make them. I would appreciate it thanks.

-- How much wood could a wood chick chuck if a wood chick could chuck wood?

8 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3646 days

#1 posted 04-06-2009 08:20 PM

that depends – are you looking for handcut dovetails ? or looking for machined dovetails?

the former takes practice, the more practice, the better it’ll look, Gary Rogowski from FWW had an article suggesting to use scrap pieces of wood in the shop to make a 1 tail dovetail joint freehand, no measurements, just go at it – the more you do it, the better you’ll get. there are some good articles on dovetails on FWW, youtube, and google is your friend.

if it’s the later – it depends on how you’d like to machine it, and how much money can you spend on it (dovetail jig for router? other…) those also take some practice, but once you learn the machine, it become more repetitive and faster if you need to make a large set of dovetails.

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

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3753 days

#2 posted 04-06-2009 09:38 PM

Do you have access to any wood working magazines? Shopsmith, ShopNotes and many others have had good tutorials in the past.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View map's profile


98 posts in 3511 days

#3 posted 04-07-2009 04:13 AM


There was an article in the August 2006 Fine Wood Working magazine that really helped me. It is about half-blind dovetails, but the technique that the author Carl Swenson demonstrates is really applicable to all dovetails. Another article from July/August 2002 by Janet Collins was also good but not, in my opion at least, as full of usefull techniques. The method of using a low angle on the saw to start proposed by Swenson really helped me to improve my dovetails.

Good luck.


-- measure once, cut once, swear, start over

View TheCaver's profile


288 posts in 3837 days

#4 posted 04-07-2009 04:32 AM

Boy are you in luck….

Videos 1 & 159. This should be about all you need :)


-- Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. -Carl Sagan

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 3552 days

#5 posted 04-07-2009 05:34 AM

I mainly went off of Rob Cosman’s handcut dovetail videos.
Really good and helpful.
Its’ really all about setup and preparation.
Take your time, setup and measure everything.
I was able to make decent dovetails with just a day or two of practice.

You can use pine and mash the wood too. Then you don’t have to be careful. Cut the tails and pins a little long. After you’re done, mash them with a mallet then plane the tails and pins flush.

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 3498 days

#6 posted 04-07-2009 08:16 AM

TheCarver is right on. You will need ” a wicked shaaaahrp chisel a good hand saw and pay attention to the layouts. Then cut lots and lots on scraps and before you know it you will be amazed at how they look. Keep the first few to remind yourself of the mistakes. Good luck let us know your progress.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View woodchick's profile


29 posts in 3421 days

#7 posted 04-07-2009 10:05 PM

Thanks so much you guys! I think it will only be a mater of time before I become more familure with dove tails and by the way I’m doing hafe blind dove tails, by hand.

-- How much wood could a wood chick chuck if a wood chick could chuck wood?

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3721 days

#8 posted 04-08-2009 06:00 AM

Woodchick, if you’re interested in handcut, I have a few blogs you might take a look at:

Handcut Double Dovetail

Radial Dovetail

Houndstooth Dovetail

I also would recommend Rob Cosman’s dvd series.

-- Martin, Kansas

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