Dovetail joints are the oldest type of wood joinery known. The usage of the dovetail joint in carpentry is something that likely predates written or recorded history. The reason that the dovetail joint is still in such common usage today is simply that it is one of the strongest and most secure methods of joining two pieces of wood. It interlocks in an ingenious way, something like a Chinese finger puzzle.
Most Common Uses for the Dovetail Joint
The dovetail joint is most often seen in the construction of drawers. The vertical sides of the drawer at the rear are generally secured in fine carpentry by the dovetail joint. Glue is most often used to secure the dovetail joint. The trapezoidal shape of the pins and tails of a dovetail joint interlock and once a well cut dovetail joint is glued, it doesn’t need any other kinds of reinforcement or fasteners.
Dovetail joints were found in Egyptian furniture as well as in the furniture of Chinese Emperors.