Quick Poll

There’s a joint out there that I have never cut, and I often wonder why anyone would.

Sure, it’s strong, and it requires a tremendous amount of skill to cut, but who will ever notice it?

Blind Mitered DovetailIt’s called the blind mitered dovetail, and it creates an incredibly strong miter joint. But, so do splines, which can be cut in a fraction of the time.

Today’s question is simple – for a joint like this one, would you ever cut a joint like this – very complex, very strong, very hidden – if there were other easier to cut joints available to you?

5 thoughts on “Quick Poll”

  1. Tom,
    The goal of joinery is to join things together. Decoration is a secondary consideration. In the 18th century the joinery was usually hidden by moldings. ― Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe said, “I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.” and “God is in the details”. I think of that when I cut joints that no one but myself will see.

  2. Don’t forget also that the goal is not “do it the easiest way,’ though the majority of magazines and TV shows would make you think so. Pocket screws, biscuits, dominoes, splines, these all make the project easier and quicker, but ask yourself, what multi-hundred year old pieces have you seen that have stood the test of time utilize the easy way?

  3. Tom,

    I’m not sure if splined mitres are truly a substitute for full-blind dovetails. I’ve cut this joint before, but only as a demo. I think that this may be the perfect joint for my Wireframe Cabinet design. Except for the fact that there are 13 joints and the cost of time cutting them would make the piece very expensive.


  4. You tend to see this joint in a lot of Japanese woodworking. It tends to be used for case work.

    Personally I like the idea of a complex joint like this because it gives me a chance to work on my skills, which tends to be my goal most of the time when I approach joinery.

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