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By Steve Wardley
#1223259
Maybe a silly question I know but a friend and I were discussing dovetail joints and he asked me how many DTs do you build into a given size of board and I couldn't tell him other than just how many looks pleasing to the eye.
That then prompted me to ask is there a rule of thumb for how many you would cut into say a 6" deep drawer because let's face it you could go from one or two up to twenty or more if you are brave.

Is it just aesthetics or is there an issue of joint strength that would make you cut X per inch ?

Cheers all, Steve
By Jacob
#1223260
One is the minimum. I've seen old furniture with drawer sides fixed with just one large DT. More would be better - it's like stitching - a larger number of smaller stitches looks neater, costs more but only up to a point could be stronger.

https://goo.gl/images/Ds2hCy
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By MikeG.
#1223263
Jacob wrote:........https://goo.gl/images/Ds2hCy


I'm surprised there isn't a nail whacked through that, it looks so crude.
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By custard
#1223268
Steve Wardley wrote:how many DTs do you build into a given size of board


Your workshop...your rules. But in my workshop a 3" tall drawer is the maximum height for a single pin, like this,

Drawer-Front-&-Stops-07.jpg


There's no strict formula because with graduated drawers I also like the number of pins to scale up/down, so I'll start with a single pin for the shallow top drawers and then gain at least one extra pin each row down as the drawer sizes increase.

Incidentally, in first quality work the number of pins is normally the same at both the back and front of the drawer.
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By Jacob
#1223313
custard wrote:
Steve Wardley wrote:how many DTs do you build into a given size of board


Your workshop...your rules. But in my workshop a 3" tall drawer is the maximum height for a single pin, like this,

Drawer-Front-&-Stops-07.jpg


There's no strict formula because with graduated drawers I also like the number of pins to scale up/down, so I'll start with a single pin for the shallow top drawers and then gain at least one extra pin each row down as the drawer sizes increase.

Incidentally, in first quality work the number of pins is normally the same at both the back and front of the drawer.
Yebbut your pic shows 3 pins and two tails!
There are plenty of examples of two pins and one tail in old furniture; "vernacular", "farmhouse", "rufty tufty peasant", whatever you want to call it. Probably in posh furniture too sometimes e.g. with very shallow drawers etc.
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By AndyT
#1223342
As Jacob often says, it's a good idea to look at old furniture and see what has worked or failed.
An easy way to see a LOT of pictures of the details of old furniture is to read Mark Firley's blog, The Furniture Record. He pokes around auction houses taking photos of lots of construction details.
His blog is here, with this link homing in on the dovetails category

https://thefurniturerecord.wordpress.co ... dovetails/
But also look at his huge photo set on Flickr, devoted just to dovetails - 473 pictures!

www.flickr.com/photos/mark_firley
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By Tasky
#1223350
MikeG. wrote:I'm surprised there isn't a nail whacked through that, it looks so crude.

Better than I can do....
By Jacob
#1223355
AndyT wrote:As Jacob often says, it's a good idea to look at old furniture and see what has worked or failed.
An easy way to see a LOT of pictures of the details of old furniture is to read Mark Firley's blog, The Furniture Record. He pokes around auction houses taking photos of lots of construction details.
His blog is here, with this link homing in on the dovetails category

https://thefurniturerecord.wordpress.co ... dovetails/
But also look at his huge photo set on Flickr, devoted just to dovetails - 473 pictures!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark_firley
Interesting! American - same but different from UK stuff.
DT angles all over the place - this was before some idiot came up with the 1/6, 1/8 rule which now everybody wrongly thinks is gospel! NB anything goes, from 45º to 90º, do what you like!
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By custard
#1223358
Jacob wrote:
custard wrote:
Steve Wardley wrote:how many DTs do you build into a given size of board


Your workshop...your rules. But in my workshop a 3" tall drawer is the maximum height for a single pin, like this,

Drawer-Front-&-Stops-07.jpg


There's no strict formula because with graduated drawers I also like the number of pins to scale up/down, so I'll start with a single pin for the shallow top drawers and then gain at least one extra pin each row down as the drawer sizes increase.

Incidentally, in first quality work the number of pins is normally the same at both the back and front of the drawer.
Yebbut your pic shows 3 pins and two tails!


You need to get down to Specsavers Jacob. It shows two half pins and a single full pin.
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By custard
#1223361
Jacob wrote:before some idiot came up with the 1/6, 1/8 rule which now everybody wrongly thinks is gospel


Except they don't. I see plenty of younger furniture makers using really dramatic dovetail slopes like 1:5 or even 1:4. The fact that these are so popular is why David Baron offers dovetail guides to suit,

https://www.classichandtools.com/acatal ... new-1.html

More power to them for experimenting, but will I be moving to this style of dovetail? No I won't, for one thing there's a lot of vulnerable short grain on the tail boards with angles like 1:4 and 1:5, which are all too easy to snap off.
By Jacob
#1223362
I call that three pins and two tails.
The term "half" pin is misleading and you see many examples where people have interpreted this literally - resulting in a very thin pin at the edge. Should be a bit more substantial as they are in a vulnerable position. They need more wood than the inner ones
By Jacob
#1223364
custard wrote:
Jacob wrote:before some idiot came up with the 1/6, 1/8 rule which now everybody wrongly thinks is gospel


Except they don't. I see plenty of younger furniture makers using really dramatic dovetail slopes like 1:5 or even 1:4. The fact that these are so popular is why David Baron offers dovetail guides to suit,

https://www.classichandtools.com/acatal ... new-1.html

More power to them for experimenting, but will I be moving to this style of dovetail? No I won't, for one thing there's a lot of vulnerable short grain on the tail boards with angles like 1:4 and 1:5, which are all too easy to snap off.
It's hardly a bold style experiment!
What are those guides for - do people have a problem with sliding bevels? Traditionally they were set out free hand - often not even marked up just sawn by eye.

PS ferky nell I just looked at the price of those guides! Do people really buy this silly stuff at those unbelievable prices?
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By DTR
#1223370
Jacob wrote:What are those guides for - do people have a problem with sliding bevels? Traditionally they were set out free hand - often not even marked up just sawn by eye.

PS ferky nell I just looked at the price of those guides! Do people really buy this silly stuff at those unbelievable prices?


I find a normal-sized sliding bevel a bit cumbersome for dovetails. It's far easier to cut an appropriate angle on a small offcut and use that :)