another dovetail question

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Forum topic by Jeff82780 posted 03-05-2015 11:43 AM 581 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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204 posts in 2414 days

03-05-2015 11:43 AM

Hey guys, I am making a small wall hanging cabinet which includes a drawer at the bottom. The drawer is dovetailed front and back along. The back is smaller than the front for the bottom to slide in, and it is also 1/4” down from the top to prevent the top from scraping. Anyway my question is, how do I lay out my pins and tails for this back piece. It’s driving me nuts. I always cut my tails first, but it looks like I need to cut my pins first on this piece. I’m so confused. hope this makes sense. Thanks !

3 replies so far

View bobro's profile


308 posts in 730 days

#1 posted 03-05-2015 12:42 PM

I see what you’re saying, because I do French drawers (which is what you’re doing) plus side mount them, so there’s some juggling to get the dovetails around the dadoes.

But I do pins first, so it’s easy, just space them by eye after you’ve cut all your dadoes. For half-blind and blind dovetails you have to do pins first anyway, maybe that’s why some old schools (like my grandfather’s) worked pins first on everything.

Seems to me that you should be able to lay out tails first, though. Just check it out lightly in pencil first. Either way, do your dadoes first.

Hope this helps, dunno.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 2414 days

#2 posted 03-05-2015 12:58 PM

In the pictures I have seen, the waste that is normally cut off on the ends of the tail board is left on and on the pin board the pin on the end is cut off. This is what is so confusing. So I will lay out my tails like I normally do, but keep the ends on and then transfer to pin board? ?

View rwe2156's profile


2116 posts in 901 days

#3 posted 03-05-2015 01:18 PM

I cut the grooves first (technically they’re not dadoes) and let that guide me to the layout.

The back is laid out with the bottom pin above the groove.
If you want to do tails first, I would lay out the pins first as a guide and use that to layout the tails.

There’s tons of videos on dovetailing drawers.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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