A dovetail joint is a frequently used technique in woodworking. It is often a sign of a piece of furniture that has been built with quality materials and careful craftsmanship. The dovetail joint is very resistant to being pulled apart. Without any sort of mechanical fastener it creates a very, very strong bond. It is commonly used to join the sides of a drawer to the front, (as is the case with the broken dresser drawer I’m about to share with you). A series of pins cut to extend from the end of one board interlock with a series of tails cut into the end of another board. The pins and tails have a trapezoidal shape. If cut perfectly it doesn’t need any glue, (we’ll be using glue though).
A router and a jig can be used to create precise pins and tails. A family member, who I wont name, borrowed our router and has yet to return it, so we made due with some other tools. A drill and band saw will get the job done!
Creating dovetails is new to me, so I had to recruit my dad for help on this one. This drawer was a mess! Part of the side had somehow been torn off, so we completely removed it. Using a hammer and a small chisel we slowly eased the broken piece out, trying our best not to break or damage any of the pins or tails.
The piece that we removed had been broken at an angle, so my dad used a table saw to square it up. We anted to re-use the piece and build upon it, rather than create an entirely new side. The main reason being that cutting dovetails is not an easy task, so the fewer the better.
We found a piece of hardwood that was the exact same thickness as the side of the drawer. It was cut down to size. Then we used carpenters glue to attach the new piece to the salvaged piece. The two pieces of wood were held tightly together with bar clamps and the glue was allowed to dry overnight.
Next we matched up the side of the drawer with the face of the drawer and marked with a pencil where all the new dovetails needed to be. Using a drill we created holes in each place we had marked. Next using a band saw we made cuts that squared out the round holes. Using a file we smoothed out some of the rough edges.
The final step was to glue the front of the drawer to the side of the drawer. Both pieces were covered in glue and clamped tightly together. After the glue had dried we used a little bit of wood fill to fill in some of the gaps (our pins and tails didn’t fit totally perfectly, so this made them look prettier).
This post is the third part in a series. The first post titled, Dresser with a broken leg, is all about how to repair (actually replace) a broken leg. The second post was titled Yikes Stripes. In that article I show you how I painted the dresser with white stripes, heavily distressed it, and then stained it for the ultimate aged patina.
Alchemy fine living is an antiques & home furnishings business located in Santa Ana, Ca. Alchemy can be defined as an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting power or process; transforming something common into something special.
ABOUT MEAlchemy fine living is my antiques & home furnishings business. I'm Deana, the author of this blog. My mom Connie & I followed our dreams & opened our store in 2008. It's a collection of all the things she & I truly love. We combine antiques with new treasures, as well as, a selection of handcrafted items created by the two of us. We also offer custom sewing, re-upholstery, & furniture painting services.
173 E City Place Dr.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
CONTACT MEEmail: email@example.com
Store Phone: 877.250.3674
Tues. through Sat. 10 to 3
Furniture drop off and pick up by appointment:
Tues. through Fri. 10 to 6 and Sat. 10 to 3