Friday, February 27, 2009

New technique in the dovetail arsenal

Those who make dovetail joints in woodworking may be interested in this new technique, particularly if you are making a set of dovetails as large as these. You cut the pins using the table saw, then reassemble the parts, slightly offset to form the pins. The loss of grain continuity is minimal. And the glued joint, if done well, is as strong as the wood. The wood must be clamped in all directions to keep the pins from sliding up as clamping pressure is applied to the sides. Wooden strips are clamped on both sides at the ends to hold the parts in alignment and wax paper is used to prevent the strips from sticking to the workpiece.


  1. Anonymous1:30 PM

    So, do you cut the pins with the board clamped vertically against your mitre gauge, which is adjusted to the requisite angle? Then do you just use the same set up to do the tails, again vertical on the mitre gauge and cutting out where the pins go? You would still need to pare out the waste with coping saw/chisel, right? Sounds like an intriguing process, but just trying to conceptualize how it is done :)



  2. These pins are all rip sawn from the surrounding stock, then when the stock is glued back into a solid mass, the pin portion is offset by the amount required to fit the adjoining wood. I set this up with spacers to control the positions of the various elements, then used clear plastic tape to secure the parts in relation to each other. Next, I folded the unit enough to put glue between the parts and then clamped the whole thing back into a solid unit as the glue dried. I think it is a new thing, as I haven't seen anyone use the technique before.

  3. Anonymous5:31 AM

    I love making dovetails, generally smaller ones. It took me a minute or two of staring before I caught on to what you were doing. Very ingenious.