In previous articles, I have shown you how to make through and half-blind dovetails. This week I look at secret dovetails or mitred dovetails.
Whenever I make boxes, and I make a lot of boxes, I like to keep the grain flowing around the joints and generally employ a spline joint, since a standard butt joint is not particularly strong (Issue 7 pg 20). When creating a dovetail, either a through or half-blind/lapped dovetail, this visually aesthetic flow of the grain around the corners is interrupted by end grain.
Typically, in the 18 century, it was too provincial to have dovetails show and the old masters would cover the through or half-blind dovetail with moulding or a cornice at the top of the piece. But this is not practical when making boxes.
So how to employ the strength of the dovetail joint and yet allow the grain to flow around the corners?
Enter the secret dovetail..
This article first appeared in The GMC Group publication Woodwork Craft 2018