View Full Version : Dovetails in PLY

Robert Goodwin
05-27-2003, 12:25 PM
I don't want to make a habit of this, but I am learning to hand cut dovetails. A slow but rewarding process. I will be building my next workbench that will be shaker in style. The cabinet inside the bench will be plywood for cost reasons. But I did want to take the chance to practice more dovetails (especially since they will not be seen). Has anybody done this? How hard is it on the saw?


Paul Barnard
05-27-2003, 4:39 PM
I tried it once many years ago and it was a futile excersize. The ply didn't cooperate well with chopping out with a chisel. I used my worst saw for the job and did resharpen it right after but it needed it anyway, not sure if the ply was the main culprit. On top of that the outer skin of the ply tore away in a couple of places when the joints were assembled. The 'end grain' ply showing through looked ugly too. It's your call but I would go to HD and buy a $10 length of poplar to practice the DTs and get the router out to handle the ply.

Hal Flynt
05-28-2003, 5:53 PM
I have made a number of drawers with hand cut dove tails using a good Baltic ply in 3/8 and 1/2. If you scribe well and cut to the line, that part should be ok. Chopping is a little wierd as you go through the ply's. If you blow out a little and it'll show, then supper glue as quick as you discover it and keep going.

Now the other side of this story is that I cut my first half blind inset? pins (i.e. there was a rabbet on the drawer front where the tails are) in MDF that was wrapped in walnut. Very little sawing and a lot of chisling.

It was a bit drawer for my JoinTech cabinet.

For a cabinet, I would cut out as much waste as I could with a coping saw and keep the pins and tails larger for strength rather than show off tiny pins.