Dovetails . . . why still so popular? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Default Dovetails . . . why still so popular?

Well I have to ask.

Why are people still so gung-ho on dovetails.
You need a router . . . and a jig to boot.

Seeing as how the router is necessary in the first place, why not forego the jig and just use a lock miter joint, or a drawer lock bit rather than dovetails? Seems it would be easier and at least as strong. Likely stronger, no?

Is it just a matter of tradition?

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 05:15 PM
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Aesthetics, & tradition are part of it. I think people associate dovetails with quality & fine furniture.

James
Whittier, CA.

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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 05:52 PM
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And, don't really need a router or a jig.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawziecat View Post
why not forego the jig and just use a lock miter joint, or a drawer lock bit rather than dovetails? Seems it would be easier and at least as strong. Likely stronger, no?
No. Strength on any joint that uses glue comes from long grain to long grain contact. Lock miter joints use end grain. Dovetails use NO end grain. The dovetail is also a mechanical joint. Assemble a dovetail drawer without glue and the pieces stay together with repeated closings. Try that with a lock miter joint.
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 07:00 PM
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To me ,,people are lazy , most just want to get it done and the dovetail is one of the easy ones to do with the machne, it's stronger than most joints and it looks like you did a lot of work to get it in place but you didn't, I think it's a human thing. "look at what I did" show off thing for most.. if you didn't want to show off you would just glue it and put some nails in it and be done with it..

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
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Aesthetics, & tradition are part of it. I think people associate dovetails with quality & fine furniture.
+1 on this! Absolutely dead on if for no other reasons aside from the aforementioned post relating to strength.

As for needing a jig, naaaaaaaa you can do em yourself. A skill well worth learning. The big issue IMHO is one of time. Doing DT's by hand takes a considerable amount of time no matter who ya are as opposed to using a jig.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 09:03 PM
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I do mostly half-blind dovetails for kitchen & bathroom vanity drawers. If you are doing it on a profit level use a router & jig for efficiency. The average person cannot tell & does not care how you made them. They just want that wow factor when they open a drawer.

Only another woodworker can appreciate & understand the amount of effort in doing dovetails by hand.

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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 09:12 PM
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. The average person cannot tell & does not care how you made them. They just want that wow factor when they open a drawer.

Only another woodworker can appreciate & understand the amount of effort in doing dovetails by hand.
boy, isn't that the truth of it!!!
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 09:25 PM
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It makes recall the one and only time I when to a wood class and they said "we are going to make dovetail joints today ",, I said, great and I ask the guy next to me where are the routers and the dovetails jigs, I thought he was going to drop his load right on the spot , he must have turn 3 shades of red b/4 he said, your gone,,,I'm going to tell the teacher,,,poor old fart ,,,, hahahahahahaha LOL..


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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 02-01-2010, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I certainly don't want to come across as some anti-dovetail zealot. I can appreciate the ascetics and tradition and that they are strong joints.

But I have a houseful of furniture to make and mastering the fine art of doing DT joints by hand is not in the cards. I am debating trying my hand at doing them with a router . . . but my lock miter and drawer lock bits are "in the mail."

I hadn't considered the point that these methods use end grain only though. Good point. Guess I was mesmerized by the total glueing area involved and forgot the end grain aspect.

Terry Danks
Rural Nova Scotia(or Florida)
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