Kerfing Mitered Dovetail Joints

Dovetailed box with mitered, molded top edge.I’m not talking about full-blind dovetails. What I demonstrate in the video below is a technique you use to miter the top or bottom edge of a box, a dovetailed foot molding or the back of a chest or cabinet. For that matter, you can use this technique just about anywhere you want a nice tight fitting miter. Carpenters have used it to trim doors and windows forever.

The idea is to dress up the work with a mitered corner instead of what appears to be a butt joint on the edge of the project. I don’t use it every time I make a box/cabinet/chest. There are many instances where a mitered dovetail isn’t necessary. But when those times arise, it’s good to have this simple technique in your arsenal.

Kerfing The Miter

The bottom edge of the bible box is mitered at the rabbet that receives the bottom.The technique isn’t difficult to understand or do, but it might take a little practice. Don’t start practicing on a project in which you have tons of time invested. Grab a little scrap material, rough out a set of dovetails (you could probably use the practice anyway, and they don’t have to be particularly good in any case), and start cutting, kerfing and fitting the mitered edge. If you plan properly when cutting your dovetails, you can miter both edges for more practice.

In the video, I’m working with a set of dovetails for a simple inlaid bible box. The box is rabbeted to receive the bottom, and that’s where the miter happens. I covered it with molding, which made mitering the corner unnecessary, but I was filming the build and wanted to present the technique. And that’s my segue into the video and the close of this post.

The corner of a document box with molded top edge that's mitered above the dovetails.Thanks for checking out my 12 Days of the Christmas buying season posts. And if you use the coupon code day1 at checkout, you’ll get a 10% discount off my 2019 Pennsylvania Spice Box class (coupon code valid until 1/1/19).

Today is the final blog of 2018 (maybe), I’m taking time for well, the holidays (obviously) and the final prep for The Woodworking Shows 2019 Season (which starts January 4th in Baltimore). If you live near a city in which the shows passes through, make sure you attend and stop by my booth for a seminar or to say hello.

I wish you a happy holiday season, Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I’ll return to daily blogging in early January.

– Chuck

Posted on 1 Comment

1 thought on “Kerfing Mitered Dovetail Joints

  1. Good stuff Chuck.

    On an unrelated topic, at a future time could you describe your process for inlaying the letters (as seen on the Bible box)?


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