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Exploring Different Types of Dovetail Joints in Solid Wood Furniture Manufacturing

Types Of Dovetail Joints

Table of Contents


As a reputable solid wood furniture manufacturer, we understand the importance of using high-quality joints to ensure the strength and durability of our products. One such joint that has stood the test of time is the dovetail joint. In this article, we will delve into the world of dovetail joints, exploring their various types and their applications in solid wood furniture manufacturing.

Section 1: Understanding Dovetail Joints

1.1 The Basics of Dovetail Joints

A dovetail joint is a strong, right-angle connection between two wooden pieces. It consists of two parts: tails on one board and sockets on the other, resembling the shape of a dove’s tail. The design of this joint imparts exceptional strength, making it resistant to pulling apart.

1.2 The Significance of Dovetail Joints in Solid Wood Furniture Manufacturing

Dovetail joints hold immense importance in the realm of solid wood furniture manufacturing, especially in China. Renowned for their strength, tightness, and durability, these joints often require no additional reinforcements. This time-tested connection method has been utilized for centuries, offering exceptional longevity.

Section 2: Exploring Different Types of Dovetail Joints

2.1 Through Dovetail

Through Dovetail

The through dovetail joint is the most commonly employed type. It features sockets and tails that are visible on both board edges after joining.

This joint offers deep and sturdy connections, providing additional security by incorporating wooden dowels between the tails.

While visible, it is ideally suited for non-visible areas, such as connecting side and back panels in drawer boxes or inner panels in cabinets.


The sockets and tails are deep and solid. And we can add a wooden dowel between the tails of the two boards. Even if the wood shrinks, the joint will not fall off.


We can see the joint on the outer side. So this is not suitable for those who are looking for flawless.


Through dovetail joint is generally used for connection in non-visible places. i.e., the connection of the side panel to the back panel of drawer boxes. Also, the connection between the inner panels of the cabinet.


Our factory has made many orders of solid wood drawer boxes for our worldwide furniture customers. We use through dovetails between the side and back drawer panels of our solid wood furniture like the chests, dressers, cabinets, wardrobes, kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets.

solid wood drawer boxes with through dovetails

2.2 Half-Blind Dovetail (Single-lap Dovetail)

1.2 Half-Blind Dovetail(Single-lap Dovetail)

The half-blind dovetail joint involves one board with through tails and sockets, while the other board has half-through tails and sockets.

When connected, the joint remains hidden on one board while partially visible on the other. This joint combines the advantages of both through dovetail and full-blind dovetail joints, making it ideal for visible-to-non-visible connections.

For instance, it finds applications in joining drawer front and side panels or visible cabinet panels with top/bottom/back panels, enhancing aesthetics.


Combines the advantages of through dovetail and full-blind dovetail.


Combines the disadvantages of through dovetail and full-blind dovetail.


We usually use a half-blind dovetail joint in this position. i.e., one side is visible, and the other side is non-visible. i.e., the connection between the drawer front and the drawer side panels. And the connection between the cabinet’s visible panel and the top/bottom/back panels, like bathroom cabinets and kitchen cabinets. We can’t see any joint from the visible side. It will appear neater and more beautiful.

2.3 Full-Blind Dovetail (Secret Mitered Dovetail and Double-Lap Dovetail)

Full-Blind Dovetail(Secret Mitered  Dovetail & Double Lap Dovetail)

Full-Blind Dovetail(Secret Mitered  Dovetail & Double Lap Dovetail)

The full-blind dovetail joint consists of two boards with semi-through tails and sockets, resulting in no visible joints on either side after connection.

It offers a seamless, neat appearance, preserving the smoothness of the material. However, precision in production and measurement is crucial for this joint, as the edges of the two boards need to be cut at a 45° angle to achieve a perfect match.

The secret mitered dovetail and double-lap dovetail are two variations of this joint, commonly employed in high-end products that demand an invisible joint.


It does not destroy the smoothness of the material. It is more beautiful and neater than through dovetail.


This joint requests rigorous production and precise measurement.

Secret Mitered Dovetail joint needs the edges of the two boards cut at 45°. And the edges need to match after the dovetail joint joins the two boards perfectly.

As it is completely blind from the outside of the two boards, you can’t see inside if the tails match the sockets or not. The sockets may be too deep or too large for the tails. Thus, it will need glue to fill the gap, affecting tightness and firmness.


We generally use full-blind dovetails in high-end products. These products require no joint to be seen on the inside and outside of the product. For example, some high-end boxes and cabinets can use this full-blind dovetail.


We used this joint to make high-end boxes for a 5-star hotel in the USA  2 years ago.

This joint has two types: Secret Mitered Dovetail and double lap dovetail.

2.4 Sliding Dovetail

1.4 Sliding Dovetail

The sliding dovetail joint involves one board with a dovetail on its edge and another with a socket groove in the middle.

By sliding the board with the dovetail edge into the socket groove, a secure and tight connection is achieved.

This joint provides enhanced strength compared to joints relying solely on screws or dowels.

Although it may require more labor and time, it finds application in connecting shelves to side panels in kitchen cabinets, closets, and bathroom cabinets.


This connection is more robust than those with only screws or dowels.


This may cost more than a screw connection as it takes more labour and time.


We generally use it to connect the shelves to the side panels in the kitchen cabinets, closets and bathroom cabinets.

Section 3: The Angle of Dovetail Joints (Continued)

The angle of the dovetail

The angle of a dovetail joint significantly affects its structural stability and aesthetic appeal. Here are some key considerations:

3.1 Optimal Angle Range

The tail angle ratio typically falls between 1:5 and 1:9. Dovetail joints with an angle around 80° (1:6 or 1:7) are commonly used.

In this range, the structural force distribution is optimal, ensuring a strong and reliable joint.

On the other hand, angles less than 75° may lead to weak corners that are prone to collapse.

3.2 Wood Hardness and Angle Selection

The choice of angle depends on the hardness of the wood being used.

As a general rule, harder woods can accommodate higher angles, while softer woods require lower angles.

Adapting the angle to suit the wood type ensures a proper fit and enhances the joint’s strength.

Section 4: Summary

In summary, dovetail joints serve as excellent connections in solid wood furniture manufacturing.

Their durability, strength, and aesthetic appeal make them a preferred choice for craftsmen and furniture enthusiasts alike.

By understanding the different types of dovetail joints and their applications, manufacturers can create furniture pieces that are not only visually pleasing but also built to last.

Conclusion: As a leading solid wood furniture manufacturer, we take pride in our expertise in crafting exquisite dovetail joints.

Our commitment to using high-quality materials and employing precise craftsmanship ensures that our furniture pieces are not only visually appealing but also robust and long-lasting.

If you’re seeking superior quality dovetail furniture, we invite you to visit our factory and explore our extensive range of products.

With our dedication to excellence and attention to detail, we guarantee furniture pieces that combine elegance with exceptional durability. Choose the best dovetail furniture for your needs at our China-based solid wood factory.

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