1. When you mark the thickness of your dovetails, you use the mating piece to determine where the pencil line goes. This should make the dovetail exactly the same depth as the thickness of the mating piece. After you cut and fit the parts together, the ends protrude ever so slightly beyond the adjacent side. While this is good, it makes clean up of the sides easier, why does it occur? Is it related to the thickness of the pencil line? Shouldn’t because you use the adjacent side and square to mark the line. Therefore, it seems that the depth of the dovetail might even be a little bit shorter than the thickness of the side.

    Real question: If you use the mating side as a depth gauge, how do the ends come out standing proud ever so slightly?


  2. David, the tails are put on top of the pins for laying these out. As you scribe with the pencil, you’ll see that they outline the tails — the pencil never goes under the tails, only around. When you cut the pins, you need to leave the the entirety of the line on, otherwise you create a gap. How much you leave beyond the line is how much you’ll want the wood to compress, and some woods compress more than others.

  3. David,
    in other words, FOR the PINS,
    one has to cut on the waste side of the line.

    Assuming one cuts the tails first, it is of no consequence while cutting the tails, as long as you keep in mind that each corner will probably be slightly different and that the pieces will not be interchangeable. (pins of corner A will only fit tails of corner A, pins B will only fit tails B and so on)

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