Tapered Sliding Dovetail

You won't find a better joint for connecting the column and the legs of the "tip and turn" table.

Table Turn Joint

You may be curious about why I chose to use a tapered sliding dovetail to join the legs to the column of the tip and turn table. Well, the answer involves both a little history along with some modern techniques.

Most of the old examples of this style of table used a turned, round column. And the joint used to attach the shaped legs to the round column was almost always a straight-sided "sliding" dovetail.

The basic anatomy of this joint is shown in the drawings at the top of the opposite page. A long dovetail shaped socket was cut into the base of the column. Then a matching dovetail was cut onto the upper end of the leg. When the dovetail slides into the socket, the leg is locked tightly to the column.

THE DRAWBACKS. Unfortunately, ifs not as easy as it sounds. First of ail, you have to figure out how to fit the legs to a round column. As you can see, the solution was to relieve the shoulders of the dovetail on the leg to match the curve of the column. But, the thought of trying to do a good job at this tricky handwork is pretty intimidating.

And if curved shoulders aren't enough, you still have to deal with getting a good fit along the 3" or 4" length of the joint. If the fit gets sloppy, you lose the "built-in" lock and the joint's strength. The problem is that you can't really see

Difficult to fit shoulders tightly to round column

Sliding Dovetail Jig Plans

Perfect match needed for strong joint

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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  • Yvonne
    How to make a tapered sliding dovetail?
    3 years ago

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