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Standard Dovetail Angle

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Dogmatic about dovetail angles posted on march 19 2008 by lost art press if you own enough books its easy to believe almost anything and yet be certain about almost nothing. Dovetail angles are most notably described in degrees but is often stated as a ratio either 18 or 16.

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Ive written on this blog at least once in the past that the angle used for dovetail layout is in no way consistent in antique furniture construction you can find almost any slope or angle if you take the time to examine a handful of pieces.

Standard dovetail angle. Dovetail bits come in an array of cutting anglesusually 7 140and heights see photo above on both 1 2 and 1 4 shanks. Ive seen 70 90 and 140 dovetail bits and even one that was 750. Generally speaking the greater the cutting angle the stronger the joint.

Ive looked at photographed and cut many dovetails throughout my days as a woodworker book author and magazine editor. Looking for a chart of standard industry dovetail dimensions male and female. Trying to match the dovetails on an existing machine depth 1 inch female and 1516 inch male width across the tail tips is approximately 4 inch dove tail angle is 60 degrees.

This is the angle between any of the slanted lines in my diagram and the vertical and corresponds to the way bit angles are defined in typical bit specifications. These days thanks to routers and dovetail bits even a beginning woodworker can incorporate this joint to enhance the simplest projects. My take on dovetail angles might appear to be strange but i have solid reasons for my choice if i do say so myself.

The relationship between dovetail angle and joint strength notes from the forest products research laboratory tests ks walker reported in woodworker magazine january 1958. The total angle subtended by the bit a pin or a tail is 2e the universal relationship between these variables is h sine d p2. Additional comments by jeff gorman and kevan lear.

E angle of dovetail bit. Does the angle of a dovetail affect the strength of the joint or is it just cosmetic. Machine cut dovetails were formed on a single spindle moulder with the aid of a dovetailing attachment.

According to at least one scientific study dovetail angles dont affect the strength of the joint and should just be chosen based on your bits and the aesthetics.

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