Ben Plewes talks us through the dovetail joints he made for his dining room shelves. The article was originally published on http://www.getwoodworking.com

These shelves are one of a set of three for our dining room. My better half wanted a simple storage solution for our ever increasing collection of books, CDs and DVDs. So I thought it was an ideal opportunity to hone my dovetailing skills.

I've used English ash because I have a stockpile of it in the workshop that I'm working through. I opted for dovetails, not just because I need the practice, but for their strength too. They're one of the few joints that don't need diagonal bracing. In other words, by using dovetails these shelves don't need any kind of back panel for support.

Step 1: Preparation

I started by planing the rough sawn timber square, then thicknessed it down to 21mm. I then glued any boards that weren't wide enough with simple rub joints. When the glue was dry I ripped the boards down to width on a table saw, then cleaned up the sawn edges with a fore plane. Next, I cut the sides, top and bottom components to length ready for jointing. I cut these by hand using a bench hook and shooting board combination jig.

Click here for a guide to making the bench hook / shooting board jig.

After cutting the components to length, cut the stopped housings on the shelf sides to hold the shelves. I cut these with a router with a 12mm straight two-flute cutter and a guide rail to keep the grooves straight.

Next on the to do list; I used a mitre saw with trenching facility to cut the shoulders on the end of the shelves to fit the 12mm housings.

Dry assemble the shelves and sides to check the fit. If like mine, they're slightly too tight, use a shoulder plane or paring chisel to trim them to a nice snug fit.

Pic 1. Shooting boards with a fore plane ready for rub jointing
Pic 2. Finishing a cut on the table saw with push sticks
Nice project شي جميل
Not exactly I saw the jig at the website before I posted but does not mention planing with it <br/>I guess what I'm really saying is I can't see myself making a truer cut with a hand plane <br/>I get the fact that the finish is going to be superior.<br/>Does the plane ride slightly on the bench and what about chip out at the end of the cut?
Would you mind giving a brief explanation as to how to use a shooting board <br/>You have rubbed nerve in me, that I have not learned to do these.
Is this the sort of thing you were looking for http://www.getwoodworking.com/news/article/bench-hook-shooting-board/949
Beautiful dovetails. A super simple project but done at a craftsman level.
Glad you enjoyed it.

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