dovetail along board edge

Hello,
I'm making a child's toy box out of maple. I'm using 2 x 2 inch legs in the corners with frame and panel sides. I am considering joining the frames to the 2 x 2 legs using a dovetail joint. The tail would be cut into the leg the long way and the pin along an edge of the frame.
I'm wary of cutting a pin along the grain of the frames because I'm afraid the pin might split off. I suppose I could make the pin "fat" enough to alleviate this. Is this type of joint not recommended? Is it prone to fail? Any thoughts or options appreciated, thanks.
Gonzalo
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I've done it in maple with good results, but it's not the optimal configuration for dovetails. Use common sense in your layout, and it'll probably be fine.
Kevin
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Gonzalo wrote:

How about using a sliding dovetail - "pin" in the leg, "tail" on the edge of the frames of the panels?
charlie b
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Hi, Gonzalo,
Assuming that your frame-and-panel sides are actually going to use your 2 x 2 legs as the stiles, then conventionally, you'd use a mortice-and- tenon joint between the rails and the legs for neatness and strength.
If you use a dovetail, then the joint will be more obtrusive - it will show. If your aim is to show off your ability to make dovetails at the cost of appearance and strength, then fine, go ahead. In all probability if the joint is well-made, it may be strong enough for what you want to do, but it will not look right. The traditional joint evolved for several very good reasons.
Your concern for a pin made along the grain of the leg is well-founded - it *will* be a weak point.
Cheers
Frank

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On Mon, 17 May 2004 20:44:39 -0400, Frank McVey wrote
Frank, et al,
I could have been clearer if I'd used the right terminology. The stiles are part of the frame and panel construction and so the stile would be dovetailed to the 2x2 leg. The leg is not the stile of the panel. In that case a mortise and tenon is the best solution.
And yes, the idea was to show off the joint from the top of the box looking down at the top of the leg. In any case, I'm not going to do this. I never choose stile over function ;-) I want a joint that will work. If it looks good, even better.
After sending my original post I remembered a FWW cover project that had similar corner leg construction (FWW Now/Dec 2001). For this piece the author used biscuits to join the legs to the frame stiles. I think I'll go with this.
Thanks all for your replies.
Gonzalo

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A dovetail is a self-closing tenon in this operation. As with a M/T, the load is on the shoulder. As long as it registers firmly against the leg, all's well. If it doesn't move, can't snap.

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