dovetail question, how small is practical...

Greetings all..
I have been working on handcut dovetails for a while now, and the project needs to have some trays, and I thought dovetails would be great to join the trays together, the stock would be 5/16 or 3/8 and I thought it may be to thin to try and put together, So I would ask the group, just how thin can a material be to be dovetailed, or is it just a matter if personal preference, any tips or ideas would be great...
Thanks
DCH
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Check out http://www.woodbender.com/215692/pages.htm . It is a reproduction of Thomas Jefferson's writing desk. The drawer sides were 3/16". According to Lon, he had to grind down an 1/8" chisel to 3/32" to clean out the dovetails. So I guess you could do 5/16".
Preston

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3/8 is just fine, many a drawer has been made with 3/8 stock,
5/16 fine ... 1/4 probably but if you have to put a groove in the bottom it'll be a tight squeeze. for delicacy try a thin-ish tray, too heavy and it will look clunky
how big is the tray ?
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Stock thickness isn't as much of a factor until you get so small that the pin angle (on the end grain of the board ) starts to look like a straight line. There have been people making repro furniture for dollhouses w/ real dovetails. The stock is around 1/16" of an inch. Crazy stuff.
The dovetails are actually easier to fit when the stock is thinner. Less to pare and check for flatness / perpendicularity. Real thin pins can be challenging ( thinnest part of the pin a saw kerf wide ). You have to essentially get all of the cuts off the saw. Making / finding something to remove the rest of the wood ( regrind a chisel ) is also necessary. Also, keeping the pins attached to the stock can be challenging. Another thing to keep in mind is that small differences in the pin angles seem to be very noticable when cutting small pins. Consistency is the key for good looking pins.
Good luck,
-- Mike V.
DCH wrote:

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