How to route dovetail joints on the router table

Router table dovetail joints

After a first experiment and mistakes cutting a dovetail joint, I decided to use my homemade router table to cut the tails and pins in hardwood. As you can see in the pictures I got a more than satisfactory half blind dovetail joint, with clean cuts. This is a joint that is usual to find in quality pieces of furniture with quality wood, and it is senseless to make all the work needed to cut this joint using a very low quality wood.

How to route half blind dovetail joint pins and tails
Dovetail router table bit

The first problem I found was trying for making a through dovetail joint, because the maximum height of cut of my dovetail router bit is 12mm. That is no problem to cut the tails, but that will be the maximum height for the tails. So finally I had to make a half blind dovetail joint.


How to route dovetail joints

If our pin board is thicker than 12mm, we’ll find that the tails of our tail board can’t go all through the thick of the pin board. In this case we have three possibilities (omitting that we can buy a larger dovetail router bit):

  1. Making a half-blind dovetail joint, like the one I cut in the video and you can see in the photos. Really useful to make drawers with flat front.
  2. Routing a groove in the back side of our pins board so that we can move the tails forward and see them in the front. That can be interesting to to make a trunk, but the front of the tails will look wider than the front of the pins. But we can always route the back of the tails like we did with the pins.
  3. Routing a groove in the front of the pin board, and after we glue the joint we can hide it with some decorative molding. Like that we can make drawers with decorative molding in the front.
How to distribute dovetail joint pins and tails
Router table dovetail joints woodworking trick

When making this half blind dovetail joint, my first intention was to cut the mortises between the pins by hand, using a dovetail saw, a marquetry saw (thinking about a through dovetail) and a chisel. I made the test you can see in the picture, but after I cut that I thought about how to cut with the router table the holes between the pins.

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