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...
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".
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
it will look clunky
how big is the tray ?
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.
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.
-- Mike V.
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