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Sliding Dovetail Bench Vernon Rockville CT

You can build this bench in a weekend or two. And once you’re set up to build one, multiples are no sweat. So don’t worry if you can’t decide whether this bench would look best in your front hall or at the foot of your bed—build two! If you build your bench from white oak, as I did, you’ll even be able to use it outdoors. I spent about $100 on lumber and another $25 for a dovetail router bit.

Woodcraft - Manchester/Hartford, CT
(860) 647-0303
249 Spencer Street
Manchester, CT

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Moore's Sawmill
(860) 242-3003
171 Mountain Ave
Bloomfield, CT

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The Home Depot
(860)231-1919
503 New Park Ave
West Hartford, CT
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 9:00am-6:00pm

Vernon - Sears Hardware Stores
(860) 870-4000
10 Pitkin Rd
Vernon Rockvl, CT
Store Hours
Hardware Stores
Store Type
Hardware Stores
Hours
Mon:8-21
Tue:8-21
Wed:8-21
Thu:8-21
Fri:8-21
Sat:8-21
Sun:9-18
Store Features
Mon:8-21
Tue:8-21
Wed:8-21
Thu:8-21
Fri:8-21
Sat:8-21
Sun:9-18

Manchester Hardware, Inc.
(860) 643-4425
877 Main Street
Manchester, CT
 
Connecticut Wood Group's Hardwood Outlet
(860) 253-0444
18 Mullen Road
Enfield, CT

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The Home Depot
(860)286-0300
55 Granby Street
Bloomfield, CT
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-9:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-7:00pm

The Home Depot
(860)465-5631
418 Boston Post Road
Windham, CT
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-9:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-7:00pm

Star Hardware
(860) 875-3031
64 Main St
Ellington, CT
 
Star Hardware
(860) 872-4675
642 Tolland Stage
Tolland, CT
 
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Sliding Dovetail Bench

Sliding Dovetail Bench

Super-strong router joints give it elegant simplicity.

by Tim Johnson

This elegant bench has humble origins: Its forebears have been sat upon, stepped on and dragged about for centuries. Utilitarian ancestry is readily apparent in our bench. It features simple construction and strong interlocking joints. 

The pieces fit together like a puzzle, with sliding dovetails and half-lap joints. Sliding dovetails may sound difficult, but I’ll show you how to master this tricky joint with a simple jig, a router and a router table. 

The bench is sized so you can mill all the pieces with your 12-in. planer. I’ll show you how to cut perfectly fitting half-lap joints and how to make the tapered keys that fill the dovetail sockets.

You can build this bench in a weekend or two. And once you’re set up to build one, multiples are no sweat. So don’t worry if you can’t decide whether this bench would look best in your front hall or at the foot of your bed—build two! If you build your bench from white oak, as I did, you’ll even be able to use it outdoors. I spent about $100 on lumber and another $25 for a dovetail router bit (see Sources, below).

Prepare the Pieces

1. Glue up boards, if necessary, to make stock for the wide top (A, Fig. A, below) and legs (B). Plane this stock to final thickness, along with a piece for the rail (C). Mill extra stock for test cuts and the keys (D) to the same 1-1/8-in. thickness. Your stock must be dead flat when you rout, and also when you assemble the pieces, for the dovetail joints to fit well and slide smoothly. 

2. Rip the top, legs and rail to width; then crosscut the ends to length. Make sure the cuts are square.

Rout the Sliding Dovetails

3. Build the socket-routing jig (Fig. B, below). Use your top (A) to establish the width between the jig’s rails. To make sure the fences are spaced properly during assembly, fit a piece of scrap ripped to the proper width between them. 

4. Establish the dovetail sockets in the jig’s rails by setting the dovetail bit to 3/8 in. exposure and routing a test socket in extra stock. Mark the centers of the sockets in the rails.

5. Mark the socket locations on the edge of the top. Then position the jig by aligning the socket centerlines. Clamp the jig and the top securely to your workbench. Make sure the jig’s rails are flush with the top. If they protrude, the router base will catch on them and cause trouble.

6. Rout the sockets (Fig. A, Detail 1) in a clockwise loop, bearing against the left fence on the way out and the right fence on the way back (Photo 1). A dovetail bit with a 1/2-in. shank produces smooth, chatter-free results. If your dovetail bit has a 1/4-in. shank, rout clearance channels first, with a 1/4-in. straight bit.

7. Rout dovetails in the leg blanks on your router table, with a tall fence installed for support (Photo 2).

Click here to read the rest of the article from American Woodworker