American Woodworker
Contact Us | Help | Report a Bug
Sign in | Join
 

Tapered Sliding Dovetails Horn Lake MS

The tapered sliding dovetail joint is one of the hallmarks of fine craftsmanship. But making it has made many craftsmen pull out their hair! I’ve made it simple, using a jig with a micro-adjust feature for dialing in a perfect fit.

The Home Depot
(662)349-6080
7260 Interstate Blvd
Horn Lake, MS
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(901)722-3535
1627 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 7:00am-9:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-7:00pm

The Home Depot
(901)818-0266
800 Truse Road
Memphis, TN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(901)379-1535
4950 Stage Road
Memphis, TN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

LOWE'S OF SOUTHAVEN, MS
662 536-3245
178 GOODMAN ROAD WEST SOUTHAVEN, MS, 38671
Southaven, MS
 
The Home Depot
(662)890-9470
7740 Craft Goodman Rd
Olive Branch, MS
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(901)546-0226
3469 Riverdale Rd
Memphis, TN
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Colco Fine Woods & Tools
(901) 452-9663
2631 Jackson Ave.
Memphis, TN

Data Provided by:
Lowe's
(662) 536-3245
178 Goodman Road West
Southaven, MS
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Fastenal- Southaven
662-393-2949
1868 First Commercial Drive Southaven, MS, 38671
Southaven, MS
 
Data Provided by:

Tapered Sliding Dovetails

Tapered Sliding Dovetails

Two jigs make a complicated joint ever so easy.

by Luke Hartle

The tapered sliding dovetail joint is one of the hallmarks of fine craftsmanship. But making it has made many craftsmen pull out their hair! I’ve made it simple, using a jig with a micro-adjust feature for dialing in a perfect fit.

This exceptionally strong joint was traditionally used to bind solid shelves and dividers to the sides of a carcase. A standard sliding dovetail must overcome a lot of friction to go home, but a tapered sliding dovetail is a cinch to assemble. My bookcase on page 70 makes full use of it, additionally joining the top to the sides. The jigs I built are sized to fit the bookcase, but it’s easy to tailor them to another project. 

To reduce setup time, I used two routers to make the joint, but that’s not absolutely necessary. You’ll need a 1/2-in. top-bearing dovetail bit ($34), a 1/2-in. top-bearing flush-trim bit ($29), a 3/8-in. straight bit ($23) and a 5/8-in.-dia. template guide. 

Build the Tail Jig

1. Make a taper template for routing the tails. First, draw a rectangle (shown in red in Photo 1) the same size as the end of the board that receives the tail. Next, draw two lines (shown in black) inside the rectangle indicating the amount the dovetail will taper (Fig. A, below). Each side of this taper has a 1/8-in. rise over the joint’s 11-in. length, or run. A 1/8-in. rise works equally well if the joint is a few inches shorter or longer. Rough-cut the template 1/16 in. outside the black lines with your bandsaw.

2. Cut to the black lines on the router table (Photo 2), using a top-bearing straight bit (see Sources, below). Fasten the template to the guide board with screws so the template doesn’t flex.

3. Screw the template to a test board (Photo 3). Align the red lines with the board’s edges. Position the template so it’s exactly centered from side to side, clamp it in place and drive in the screws. 

4. Assemble the rest of the jig on the test board so it fits tightly (Photo 4). Clamp the braces (C) in place first; then add the ends (B, Fig. B, below).

5. Add two outriggers (D, Photo 5). Stand the jig on a flat surface to ensure these boards are level with the template.

6. Rout a test dovetail with a bearing-guided router bit (Photo 6; see Sources, below). Lower the bit so it cuts 1/2 in. into the test piece. Unscrew the template and remove the jig.

Build the Socket Jig

7. Build this jig around a second test board (Photo 7). To position the fixed guide board, use the same 1/8-in. taper you used to make the tail jig. Draw an alignment mark (shown in red) on the guide board perpendicular to the test board’s edge. Lay the fixed guide board exactly on the line at one end and offset it by 1/8 in. at the other end. Fasten the guide board to the braces (G). The spacer enables this jig to fit the 12-in. top of the &ldq...

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