Dovetail Angles & Dimensioning

The typical range for dovetail angles, ranges from 7 degrees to 15 degrees. When two angles are given for dovetails, the use of the two angles are as follows:

  1. The larger angle is for softwoods
  2. The smaller angle is for hardwoods

The Sketch below shows dovetail joints with angles ranging from 7 to 15 degrees. If you wanted to be right in the middle of the 7 to 15 degree range, then you would use 11 degrees. Personally, I like the idea of going just above the midpoint, and using 12 degrees. What angle you use boils down to what angle appeals to you.

Info regarding the Sketch above:

  1. The black members are the pins
  2. The crosshatched members are the tails
  3. The angle used is shown on the right hand side
  4. The wood members are 3/4″ thick and width of each wood member is 6″
  5. The pin width at short end is 1/4″ (between tails) and the half pins were sized to make up the remaining width
  6. The tail width at long end is 1.50″ (I chose to use twice the thickness of the wood member)
  7. At least for this particular layout, I personally do not perceive any significant difference over the 7 to 15 degree angle used for cutting the dovetails
  8. I first centered a tail on the board and then proceeded to layout the rest of the tails and pins

The Sketch below labels some of the terms used in items 1 thru 8 above.

The Sketch below diagrams the tail and pin angle.

In closing what you typically see used is fat tails & skinny pins, for dovetail joints.

Until Next Time, Take Care