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122 – Hand-Cut Half-Blind Dovetails

Added on July 2, 2010

Guild members will remember this small excerpt from the Shaker Table series. Its just a taste of some of the fun we have in the Guild.

Dovetails: very few joints are held in such high regard. Not sure why exactly, but there seems to be a nearly universal love and adoration for this flying vermin-inspired interlocking joint. And I don’t care what anyone says, doves are just dirty pigeons in a lighter-colored outfit. To be fair though, the joint is beautiful, incredibly strong, and requires skill and attention to detail to cut by hand.

One of the most common variations of the dovetail is known as a half-blind dovetail. You’ll find this joint most often on drawer fronts where you don’t necessarily want to see the joint from the front. With a few tools, a little know-how, and a lot of patience, this beloved joint is well within your grasp.

And speaking of patience, what’s the rush people?!?! It seems like some folks feel that if they aren’t cutting their dovetails in three minutes, they aren’t doing it correctly. I say put the brakes on and enjoy the process. After all, isn’t that why you’re cutting them by hand? If I wanted them cut in just a few minutes, I’d keep a dedicated jig set up and knock them out with my router. Take your time…..be one with the wood……

If you want to see how to cut dovetails with a jig, check out When Dovetails Cry.

Here are a few products I use/recommend for hand-cutting dovetails. Your purchase helps support our show.

Written by Marc Spagnuolo

Marc is the host of The Wood Whisperer and author of Hybrid Woodworking.

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