HowTo Trim For a Snug

Part of the challenge of fitting dovetail joints is knowing where to start. I like to begin by doing a test fit and taking a close look at each pin and tail to see where the joint is tight, as shown in the left drawing.

After marking the tight spots, you can grab a chisel, I trim the tails only (not the pins) since I can trim from both sides. Then I take thin passes on die inside face of the tails (right drawing). This allows the joint to slide together easily but snugly.


Rout Away the Waste. You can quickly remove the waste with a router and a straight bit. To guide the router along the baseline, clamp a straightedge to the workpiece. Take shallow cuts to work toward the layout lines.


Clean up corners of tails with a chisel

Inside face of tail board

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