Hand Tools Archive

Dovetail and rabbet question

Joe in a Cleveland suburb

I'm building this small bookcase from a 1998 issue of FWW. February #128. Written by C. Becksvoort.

The top of this case in dovetailed to the sides. A molding is applied at the top of the case.

It will have a rabbet for the back to sit in. I've been struggling with this in my head trying to figure out how the rabbet and DT's will come together.

It's been a couple years since I've done DT's by hand. So I pulled out some pieces of scrap to mess around/practice/test with. Put a 1/2" X 1/2" rabbet on the pieces then did a quick DT.

See the below picture. Don't critique the DT it was literally the first one and I was making no attempt to be accurate. I just wanted to see what it was going to look like. Is that gap normal for this type of contraction? Should I do something different? If I look really hard at the pics in the magazine, I think I see the same gaps. They'll be covered by the molding, but it just seems odd to me.

I suppose I could use a router later after glue up to do the rabbet then chisel the corner square.

Thanks in advance. Happy Holidays.

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