A dovetail joint is a woodworking joinery technique.
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. These pins and tails have a triangular shape.
When glued, the joint is permanent, requiring no mechanical fasteners.
Dovetail joints can be cut by hand or by machine, often with an electric router, using one of a range of available jigs or templates.
Although it is technically a straight forward process, hand cutting dovetails requires a high degree of accuracy to ensure a snug fit and can be difficult to master. The pins and tails must fit together with no gap between them so that the joint interlocks tightly without movement. Thus the cutting of dovetails by hand is regarded as a mark of skill on the part of the craftsperson.
The angle of slope varies according to the type of wood used. Typically the slope is 1:6 for softwoods and 1:8 slope for hardwoods. Often a slope of 1:7 is used as a compromise.
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