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November 7, 2018Olen Murriel

Through dovetail technique of connecting two pieces of wood together is known for its strength and beauty. It is probably one of the most reliable and common wood joining technique known to most craftsmen. However, when it comes to creating structurally and aesthetically magnificent woodworks, through dovetail technique does not always provide the needed results.

In fact, through dovetail can make a mess of things when applied in the wrong instances. For example, using a through dovetail joint when trying to connect the side of a drawer to the drawer front will ensure that the end of the tail can be seen through the drawer front… which really isn’t a beautiful sight.

In cases such as the one described above, a half blind dovetail will be the best dovetail joint to make use of Just as the name suggests, a half blind dovetail is crafted out in a way that reveals half of the dovetail joint while the other half remains totally hidden. Unfortunately, this technique may not be as strong as the through dovetail but it guarantees perfection and beauty when used in cases like the one described above.


How To Create Half Blind Dovetail

If you know a thing or two about creating through dovetails, then making a half blind dovetail wouldn’t be a daunting task. However, there a few specifications that you must keep in mind before starting out.

  • The blind section of the joint (section of the pinboard which must not be cut) is known as the lap.
  • The lap on the board should have a thickness of 1/8 and not lesser.
  • The overall thickness of the lap should not exceed 1/3 of the pin board’s thickness.

If you keep these in mind, you are on your way to creating a strong dovetail joint. Having said that, you can now follow the basic steps highlighted below in cutting half blind dovetails.

  1. First, you need to plane the ends of the two pieces of stock square.
  2. Take note of the length of the tails, you can get the length by subtracting the lap from the width of the pin board. Then go ahead to make a shoulder line at the designated length around the tailboard.
  3. Locate your desired angle and mark the tails.
  4. Now use your dovetailing saw to cut out the tails.
  5. A bevel-edged chisel will help you remove the wastes hanging in between the tails.
  6. Mark pins on the pin board using completed nails, then carefully align the shoulder cuts with the side of the pinboard directly opposite the lap.
  7. Now, cut the pins and clean off wastes with a chisel. You can trim the pins further if the joint doesn’t fit accurately.


Half Blind Dovetail Dovetailing jig

Not all router enabled dovetailing jig can cut half blind dovetail. So when next you go shopping for a dovetailing system, you need to keep this in mind.

However, the procedure of cutting a half blind dovetail is not so different from that employed in cutting through dovetail. Based on the width of the pin minus the lap, go ahead to take note of the depth of cut on the tailboard. Place the tailboard in the jig and proceed to cut the tails while employing the right dovetailing router bits. Finally, you can now cut the half blind pins in the pinboard by following the jig’s instructions.


Assembling and Finishing

Here, you can always use the same method used in assembling through dovetails and still get a decent result. First, try the joint’s fitting, then disassemble, apply an even layer of glue and proceed to assemble the joint. At this point, the joint may not be seated perfectly. You may use a rubber mallet to adjust the joint to ensure that it seats well Wipe off excess glue if any does flow out while you were adjusting the joint.


Perfect Half Blind Dovetail Specifications

To get a perfect half blind dovetail, you will need to cut the tails and mark the pins in accordance to tails. While you do this, make sure you never work with less than 1/8″ lap on the pinboard ( though it should be more than one-third of the overall width of the pinboard). Always dry fit the joint after cutting the pins. If it is too tight, remove a little more stock from the pins.

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