I'm new to dovetail jointery. I'm making blind dovetails for drawer.
The dovetails were fine, the trouble was getting consistant cuts where the
front and sides were exactly flush at the top and bottom. The side would be
slightly higher than the front or vice versa. Also some chip-out on the
My solution is to make my drawer blanks over sized, then cut the dovetails,
then cut the front and sides even and down to the correct size.
Am I cheating or is this a common practice?
Properly setup, they should be even at the top and bottom. Work at it until
you get it right.
Chipout is a problem. I have been tempted to do what you suggest, but have
just relied on filler instead. Seems to be adequate.
Yes you are cheating, Your apparently using a router.... saws dont have
Seriously though...It's *all* about the "cheating". One of the key
differnences between a hack and a craftman is the ability to account for,
fix or hide "errors".
I say if it looks good and performs well, it's a valid process a.k.a. not
Are you cutting them by hand, or with a jig?
If the former, lack of layout precision is your problem. If the latter,
generally a problem that involves one of the 'reference' stops/edges on the
jig (where you butt up the piece, either to the left or right, before you
clamp it to be routed).
Yes, cheating. In my experiance it is common practice to leave a slight
size allowance to plane or sand the drawers for a perfect fit.
If using a dovetail jig with router I often leave out the dovetail at
the top and bottom depending on the drawer width. Or shift the jig so
you have a reasonable size piece at the ends.
I have seen dovetails done in a production shop with a final pass with
a trim bit.
Learning to hide mistakes becomes an art. As for you sides not aligning
with the fronts or backs. Center your guide bushing to the router bit. If
the guide bushing is not centered it will cause the problem you describe.
And or if you are cutting the two pieces at the same time on the jog insure
that the stops that position the offsets on the boards are correctly
To help prevent chip out back cut into the DT across the openings first.
Not common. Your method (machine or handcut) is not clear. If
machined, follow the manufacturer's directions. If handcut, cut one
side first (either tails or pins depending on your preference), then
mark the other side after flushing up the top/bottom.
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