Mastering Machine Made Dovetails

Comments (0)

 I pride myself on my hand-cut dovetails. Clean, tight, and elegantly spaced, they provide a handsome touch for my most demanding work. However, when I build kitchen cabinets, vanities, or storage units, I turn to my compact, portable, and easy-to-use Porter-Cable dovetail jig. Although this jig can execute finger joints, sliding dovetails, and even through-dovetails (when equipped with suitable templates), I use it exclusively to join drawer parts with half-blind dovetails. (See page 36.) Using the jig is faster and more convenient than hand-cutting dovetails and, for all practical purposes, the joints are just as strong. The disadvantage with this jig is that neither the angle nor the spacing of the tails can be changed, so the resulting joint looks somewhat monotonous. All the same, this limitation is easy to accept, given the practical advantages.

Here, I’ll share some tips on how to use the jig to build a standard drawer with a 3/4"-thick front, 1/2"-thick sides, a 1/2"-thick back, and a 1/4"-thick bottom. Note that I usually dovetail the front to the sides, but use a simple dado joint to connect the sides to the back. Initially cutting the drawer sides a bit long means that if I’m unhappy with the dovetail fit, I can take another shot at the joint before cutting the drawer sides to final length.

To Read the Full Story, Subscribe or Sign in

By purchasing a full subscription, you will gain access to all of Woodcraft Magazine's online publications as well as the printed publication mailed bi-monthly!

Subscribe Now
Login as a Subscriber

Top of Page