Dovetail or Dovetailing - (Furniture) Glossary of Antique Terms D

Dovetail or Dovetailing - (Furniture) A Dovetail is a cabinet-maker's technique of joining two pieces of wood together at right-angles by means of bedding the end of the first member (comprising small, cut-out tenon shaped like a dove's spread tail) into prepared cavities in the end grain of the second member. There are two basic types of dovetail. The 'through' dovetail in which the ends of the tenon go through to the far side of the cavities and are visible on the outside of the second member. On a 'Lap or Stop' dovetail the tenon stop short a little way from the far edge of the second member and are invisible from that side as the cavities are made exactly to fit. Through Dovetailing was used before the 17th Century and Lap or Stop dovetailing was introduced on quality work from the 17th Century.


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