How to Make Half-blind Dovetails for Drawers with James Huggett

//How to Make Half-blind Dovetails for Drawers with James Huggett

In this video James Huggett shares a very detailed tutorial on how to cut a  half-blind dovetail joint with hand tools, for use on drawers and case pieces.

James Hugget making a half blind dovetails joint for drawers out of Mahogany drawer front and poplar wood sides, with chisels and a mallet on a woodworking workbench

Jim has cut many dovetails over the years, and here are some of the lovely dovetailed drawers that Jim has made using this half-blind dovetail joint:

mahogany serpentine chest of drawers built by james huggett showing dovetails

dovetailed drawer built by james huggett

dovetailed drawer built by james huggett

Notice the deeply scribed layout line on these drawers. That, along with irregular and more delicate pins, are a sure sign of hand-cut dovetail joints. Wide and very uniform dovetail pins are a sure sign of router cut dovetails.

dovetailed drawer built by james huggett

dovetailed drawer built by james huggett

dovetailed drawer built by james huggett

dovetailed drawer built by james huggett

If you missed the video tour of Jim’s dream workshop last week, watch it here!

Federal Cherry Serpentine Entryway Table build by james huggett with dovetail drawers

A half-blind dovetail joint is used to hide the joint on a drawer front, while still benefiting from the strength of the joinery. Typically, the flared “tails” are cut, and used as a pattern to transcribe on the drawer front, where the sockets will be cut out for the tails to fit in.

James Hugget making a half blind dovetails joint for drawers out of Mahogany drawer front and poplar wood sides, with chisels and a mallet on a woodworking workbench

Jim specified that using properly squared lumber is the first key to having success with making the half-blind dovetail joint, followed by precise layout, accurate sawing, and finally careful chisel work.

James Hugget making a half blind dovetails joint for drawers out of Mahogany drawer front and poplar wood sides, with chisels and a mallet on a woodworking workbench

Don’t get discouraged if your first half-blind dovetails don’t come out looking as nice as Jim’s…the key to success in hand tool woodworking is persistence and practice!

Jim Huggett making hand cut half blind dovetails with chisels

Graphic Make a Half-blind Dovetail drawer joint with woodworking hand tools

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2018-09-14T12:17:28+00:00

About the Author:

Joshua loves mixing his passion for traditional hand tool woodworking with his ability to teach in a simple manner. He lives on a small farm in Earlysville, Virginia with his wife and four children, and builds furniture in his workshop / woodworking school.

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