Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bench Making- Top Dovetails

My benchtop has an 8/4 Beech frame, 4 1/2" wide. The corners of this framework are dovetailed together. I cut the joint on the bandsaw, then chopped out the waste by hand.

A jig is prepared for the bandsaw, an MDF scrap with a mitre bar attached at a 1:8 angle.

A front stop and a fence at 90° is fixed to the top side. A stop is clamped to the table, this ensures the cuts are all the same depth.

My stock is then placed on the jig, tight to the side and front fence. The saw is started and the jig is slid forward until it makes contact with the stop block. The board is then pulled back and flipped to saw the other side. This allowed me to make two cuts per joint per set up, and it kept the joint symmetrical.

All photos are of test scrap, the same dimensions as the actual rails except for length.

I then screwed a spacer to the jig, tight to the fence, and the cuts are repeated.

A second spacer is screwed to the jig to finish the cuts for the three tails.

The pins are made by tilting the table to the correct angle, and clamping a stop on the fence. The fence is moved to cut each pin.

The waste is chopped by hand.


I didn't support my long rails while at the bandsaw. They are 75" x 4 1/2" 8/4 beech, and I had to exert a lot of pressure to keep the end on the bandsaw table. My left hand slipped on the freshly jointed surface, and I nearly lost my little finger to the blade. As it is I have a large scar. Support your stock.

The Blogs

Bench Making- The Carcass
Bench Making- The Legs and Base
Bench Making- Top Dovetails
Bench Making- Mounting the Tucker
Bench Making- The Top
Bench Making- Modifying the Twin Screw
Bench Making- The Drawers
Bench Making- Final Assembly
Bench Making- Completed Work
Bench Making- The Specs


  1. Hi Darnell,

    I see you made the pins for the rails on the bandsaw. How did you make the corresponding tails? Looks great!

  2. Hey Reed

    Both the pins and tails are bandsawn, the tails with the angled jig, the pins by tilting the table.


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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.