Dovetail joint

This article will cover what is a dovetail joint, why use a dovetail joint, and one way of making a dovetail joint.

What is a Dovetail joint?

A dovetail joint is commonly used for both its decorative aesthetic and for its great tensile strength. Given its ability to resist being pulled apart, it is generally used for the front face of drawers. A dovetail joint is made up of 2 pieces, one with pins along its edge and the other with tails. Both pieces interlocks with one another creating a joint that does not require any glue, although it is preferred for the longevity of the project. Where a dovetail is used for its tensile strength, as opposed to its aesthetic, the piece with pins need to be on the push and pull side to be effective.

There are various types of dovetail joints including:

  • Through dovetail: end grain is visible on both faces and commonly used in box making.

  • Half-blind dovetail: end grain is only visible on one face and commonly used in drawers, where the drawer face is uninterrupted.

How do I make it?

The process to create a dovetail joint will vary from project to project. To make this this joint in the easiest way possible, you can use the router table and Incra positioner available in the MSD Machine Workshop.

For more information, below is a video demonstrating making a dovetail joint by hand.

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