A dovetail joint is a method used by carpenters to join pieces of wood together. This technique is very popular in the carpentry field because the resultant product is always strong because of the firm joints created. Dovetails are commonly used in making file cabinets, drawers, jewelry boxes, and many more items.
Early works of carpentry involving dovetail joints can be traced back to the ancient Chinese and Egyptian eras. Their popularity can be linked to the fact that woods form strong fits when fitted together while requiring no mechanical fasteners. Carpenters and other woodworkers find a dovetail jig a useful tool when making dovetail joints on wood.
How a Dovetail Works
You probably noticed pieces of boards firmly joined together to create drawers or cabinets without the use of nails and wondered how that is even possible. The dovetail is the method used to piece the boards together. Carpenters make trapezoidal cuts on wood with on piece in a pin form and the other in tail form.
Pins are cut at one end of a board and tails at another end of a different board. The two pieces are then brought together with the pins filling the gaps of the board with tails. This is done to all the other ends of the boards. The cuts, however, must be precise for the pins to fit in perfectly.
The Benefits of the Dovetail
Some boards can crack or become loose when fastened together by nails or screws. With a dovetail joint, carpenters do not have to experience these problems. Pieces of wood boards can be firmly joined together without screws or nails. If the joint is a bit lose, then you can add wood glue to make it firmer. Once you have a dovetail jig, you do not need other tools to fasten the boards as they easily fit in.
Types of Dovetail Joints
Dovetail joints are very attractive. Depending on your design, there are a variety of dovetails you can choose from. They include:
This technique is used when the carpenter does not want the wood grains to be seen from the outside. It is commonly used in making drawers. The outside part entirely appears smooth because the pieces have been joined using the half-blinded dovetail.
This is the most common dovetail joint. In this technique, the wood grains at the end of wood are visible because they join together in finger-like locks. It is commonly used in joining terms of boxes and cabinets.
Secret Mitered Dovetail
This technique is perhaps the classiest of all. The wood boards are joined together with the dovetail joint not visible from the outside nor the inside while offering the benefit of strength. It is commonly used in picture frames and large cabinets.