secret dovetail part 1
I first started working with Secret Dovetails in 2005. Since then I have used them extensively in a variety of different projects. Recently while making one of my Walnut Console Tables I thought it might be interesting to document the process involved in making these joints.
It is very important when making secret dovetails to have all your timber accurately machined up with the ends cut square.
Step 1:The first step is to cut a rebate on the end of each of the boards to be jointed, leaving
a perfectly square tongue. I do this on my table saw but you will need a good saw with a sharp
blade. Alternatively you can use a router or spindles moulder. On this piece where my board was
just under 50mm thick, I cut a rebate leaving a 9mm x 9mm tongue.
Step 2: Use a sharp blade and mitre square to scribe end of joints as shown. If for some
reason your 45 degree cut, doesn’t perfectly bisect the tongue. Stop and find out where you’ve
gone off and correct the mistake before proceeding. A small error at his sage will make getting
a clean finish nearly impossible.
Step 3: Lay out your pins, marking the area that is to be removed.
Step 4: I use a router
when removing the surplus timber, cutting right back to my blade
line. However you will need a sharp cutter and good router with a
very steady fence. If you’re not sure. Cut shy of the line and
finish with a sharp chisel.
Step 5: With your piece
held upright in a vice remove the remainder of the timber you
couldn’t get to with your router. I like to use a wide chisel
as it helps you get a good sharp line, only reverting to a smaller
one at the end to remove those difficult to get at corner pieces.
Step 6: When you have
all your pins cut, lay out your tail board using your pin board as a
guide. You’ll find the square tongues help line everything up snug.
Use a sash cramp to hold the boards tight together and scribe with a
sharp blade. I have a pair of Japanese knives, which work well for