How is this mystery dovetail done?

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The picture looks familiar but I can't recall the details. I think there was a "wood puzzles" book which included this novelty joint. (Was it a book sold by Woodcraft?) Anyway, it's a curiosity. Check it out and tell all.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&itemi76867662
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Apprentice". I couldn't begin to tell you how to do it without illustrations. :-) I've never attempted the dovetail.
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Lowell Holmes



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I've seen it as well. Both pieces are cut on a diagonal but when put together they look like a dovetail - though they really aren't (if memory serves...). I'd have to find the web page that breaks it all down too. I couldn't explain it any better right now than what I've just said.
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That's a different puzzle. I doubt this one was by cutting on diagonals.
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writes:

Could well be. Was pretty cool the way the effect worked though.
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I haven't seen the actual mechanism. But one poster said clamping was needed, so perhaps it's a combination of sliding and clamping. So you may be right....
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I have seen it too, just as you describe. The end result is an illusion, so to speak. Our minds are trained to think a typical dovetail, but the wood is cut in a way to simulate a dovetail, when it is really a form of slip joint. Greg
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wrote:

it's a good illusion, then. I can't see how it could be assembled, no matter what it looks like inside.
what are the dots for? why won't the ebay vendor let us see the underside?
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OK - I'm going to give this a shot from memory. What you see is a box with apparently two dovetails - on adjacent sides. What's really there is a sliding joint. Imagine that the dovetail end you are seeing on one side runs to the other one you see. What makes the illusion work is that the ends of the dovetails are cut on an angle - even with the plane of the side of the box. If you looked at the box straight on, but looking into the corner instead of at one of the sides, you'd see the dovetail profile with the ends cut off-square. The top has the dovetail slot to match. It slides together.
Damn - I don't know if that made one bit of sense.
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It does. But it falls into the category of "if you don't know the answer to the question that was asked, give an answer you do know to a question that was not asked" <g>. I like the puzzle you are referring to, and its deceptively simple solution. But I'm pretty sure that is not what the OP is asking about. Look again at the cited ebay page, and see if there is any way you can see the puzzle you are talking about morphed into this one.
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Argh! You're absolutely right. My bad. A mind is a terrible...
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I posted a really crummy Word doc drawing of how this works on the binary group.
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Another possible way to make this joint is to make the strip of wood across the top of the joint between A and B thin enough to be easily bent. Then the piece which is labelled A B would be flexed open and the moved pass the tails in the other piece and then first piece would then be bent back closing the joint around the second piece.
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Yep, that's how it's done!
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Limey Lurker wrote:

But where's the fun in that? I mean it doesn't even use - a lathe - a block plane - a shoulder plane - block rabbet plane - skew chisels - bench chisels - paring chisels - micro belt sander - drill press - 20 special router bits - a precision router lift - precision router table fence - oscillating spindle sander : : : Where's the fun?
Guess there really is more than one way to skin a shop cat push stick. Who'd've thunk it?
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On 15 Oct 2005 14:21:09 -0700, "Limey Lurker"

that particular joint would have to be flexed a _lot_....
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On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 17:55:15 -0600, Greg O wrote:

Here is the definitive source:
It's from E.M Wyatt's "Wonders in Wood" (1946).
Jerry Slocum's and Jack Botermans' "Puzzles Old & New" (1986) provide this information and an illustration.
John
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Yeah, there was an episode that talked about this joint. If you look a the end grain of the piece with the tail cut in it, it's a square cut which creates the illusion that it's a square cut all the way back to shoulders like a normal dovetail would be. That's impossible though. What's really going on is that the sides of both dovetails are beveled so that where the dovetail attached to the rest of the board, the sides of the tail are at a 45 degree angle. The board simply pushes straight in from the back. Between the two dovetails is sort of a V-shaped valley with a matching one on the other piece. It's difficult to describe, but easy to understand once you see it.
brian
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One possible way to make this joint would be for the hidden cuts to be circular arcs. The sort of thing that would result from a rotated (turned) piece which then has been cut with flat sides
The axis of rotation would be along a line on the surface between the labels A and B.
If so then there would be arc shaped cut inside (under) the arms of the T. This view is not given in the pictures.
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wrote:

this is so far the only explanation that fits the situation...
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