DIY Network

Dovetail Techniques

A special dovetail machine can guide a router to make perfect dovetail cuts in wood. Here's how to use a dovetail machine to create a dovetail joint.

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make perfect dovetail cuts in wood
  • Time

    1 hour

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Mark Each Piece of Wood

Line up the pieces of wood as they will look in the final assembly. Clearly mark each piece of wood to indicate the top, the bottom, the front and the back. This will prevent confusion when you're fitting the pieces together.

Step 2: Load the Wood Underneath the Template

Load the first piece of wood underneath the dovetail jig with its front facing up. The wood should protrude beyond the crevices of the jig approximately 1/16". Pull the lever on the dovetail jig to secure the wood.

load piece of wood underneath dovetail machine

Step 3: Use the Template as a Guide and Make Cuts

Attach the dovetail bit to the router. Attach a template guide to the base of the router, surrounding the dovetail bit (Image 1).

Use the router to cut inside the crevices of the dovetail jig (Image 2). Make sure the template guide makes contact with the templates on the jig.

Step 4: Repeat Steps and Attach the Pieces

Repeat steps 2 through 4 for the second piece of wood, feeding it into the dovetail jigwith its bottom side facing up.

Apply a small amount of wood glue inside the joints, and join the two pieces of wood. If the dovetail cuts do not permit a perfect fit, use a small chisel or sandpaper to remove debris or wood from the crevices.