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One of the most recognizeable joints in woodworking is the dovetail joint. It has been around for centuries and is always associated with quality. In the past century one of the main purposes of dovetail joints is in making drawers, which is a real pity because dovetail joints are such a pretty joint they should really by "seen" more often. What many woodworkers don't realize is that as popular as dovetail joints are, they are often confused with another joint called "box joint", which is similar in design and look, but box joints have square pins and tails compared to dovetail which have angled pins and tails.
When comparing the two joints, the dovetail joint is easily the prettiest of the two but slighly more difficult to make. The dovetail joint It appears to take more time to make and just looks better. Among woodworkers, anyone who can actually hand-cut high quality dovetails are often held in high regard. One of the best people for hand cutting dovetail joints that I have had the pleasure of meeting and working in association with at woodworking shows is Rob Cosman. I can't imagine how many dovetail joints Rob must have cut in his lifetime, but the quality of his cuts is evidence that practice make perfect. Check out Rob's website for more information on dovetail joints at www.robcosman.com.
Now, back to the topic of box joints, and comparing the jigs and how to make them.
What most woodworkers don't realize is the most people who know a bit about fine furniture will call box joints dovetail joints. There is really only a small portion of the population that really know the difference. It's almost like what a woodworker told me once, "if you want to impress another woodworker, make a dovetail joint, if you want to impress the rest of the population, a box joint will work just fine". To back up his claim, I told him that I had been in a number of situations where people have called box joints dovetail joints, and he agreed and confirmed that only a very few, knowledgeable furniture experts have been able to identify the difference.
So, what are some of the best ways to make these joints, well, read on and we will show talk about them.