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   Hand Cut Dovetails           
    

                      One of the most beautiful and striking woodworking joints is the dovetail joint. The dovetail joint is very often 
                      associated with quality woodworking. It is both a structurally strong joint and an aesthetically pleasing joint. 
                      Dovetail joints are often used in the construction of drawers, specifically drawer fronts. You will also often see 
                      dovetail joinery in case construction, as it serves to both create a very strong, interlocking joint and to enhance 
                      the quality. Today we have available many different dovetail jigs which enable us to create dovetailed joints 
                      quickly and easily. Most, if not all, of these dovetail jigs involve powered tools. The hand cut dovetail, although 
                      perhaps more time consuming to create, offers unparalleled beauty in that any dovetail configuration can be 
                      arrived at. Dovetails joints are composed of pins and tails. In the photo below the tails are horizontally oriented 
                      in a hand cut dovetail clamping jig. The next step here would be to mark and transfer the tails to the pin board 
                      which is clamped vertically. Creating dovetails by hand using a dovetail saw, chisels and marking tools, provide 
                      us the flexibility to layout tail and pin spacing which better suits the drawer or case piece being constructed. 
                      This dovetail jig we have developed below is specifically designed to enable us to accurately mark and transfer 
                      the hand cut tails to the pin board. Once the tails have been transferred to the pin board, this same dovetail jig 
                      can be used to chop out the waste between the individual pins using the top clamping caul as a guide for the 
                      chisel. This dovetail jig can be easily assembled and provides very good accuracy and precision to the creation 
                      of hand cut dovetails.

                       Dovetail jig


                      Below is a photo of sample dovetail joinery created exclusively with hand tools. The contrast created with a 
                      lighter tail board and a darker pin board is striking. If this were drawer construction, the thicker piece can easily 
                      be a drawer front whereas the thinner piece is typically the drawer side. As mentioned earlier, the spacing and
                      width of the individual pins and tails can easily be customized to suit the piece when crafting hand cut dovetails.

                       Dovetail joints


                      Below is a photo with an assortment of hand tools used in the creation of hand cut dovetails. Typical tools
                      include layout and marking tools, chisels and a dovetail saw, a mallet, etc.  Laying out and marking are
                      of utmost importance in creating precision dovetail joints. The careful transfer of the tails to the pin board 
                      ultimately determine how tight and gap free the dovetail joint will be.

                       Dovetail tools


                             More information about this subject is available in our   Dovetail Jig Plan