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Woodworking with P. Michael Henderson


 
 

Full-blind Dovetails by P. Michael Henderson

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I've done a number of dovetail tutorials but had ignored the full-blind dovetail (also known as the "double lap") primarily because I don't see a lot of use for it.

But recently, I decided to do a tutorial on this type of dovetail just for completeness.

I suppose the reason the full-blind dovetail is not used very much is that you can't see the dovetails - and other types of joinery, perhaps made by power tools, are available. And if you did want to do a hidden dovetail, the secret miter dovetail gives, in my opinion, a better looking joint since it looks like a miter joint (no end grain showing).

For this tutorial, I'm going to use two pieces of clear pine about 6 inches wide. Clear pine is straight grained, not very hard and has no knots that might get in the way. I forgot to take a picture of the two pieces of pine before I started the work.

Make sure your wood is flat, square, and the same thickness all around. Also, make sure the two pieces are the same width across. For this tutorial, I'm using two pieces that are the same thickness. You can use pieces of different thickness but your layout will be a bit more complex.

To help you understand where we're going, and what a full-blind dovetail is, I'm going to start by showing the completed joint, and the way the two pieces are cut to fit together. Here's the completed joint.

And here's the two pieces of wood, cut to fit together. Note that one of the pieces has a rabbet cut on the end, while the other does not. In a way, this is similar to the secret miter dovetail which has a rabbet cut on both pieces. One way to think of this full-blind dovetail is as a transition between the half-blind dovetail and the secret miter dovetail.

Here's how the joint fits together.


 
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