It's called a "dovetail" joint because the flat-bottomed triangular shape of the wood insert looks like a dove's tail. Simpler country furniture also often had larger dovetails, or even a single tail and pin. This design also creates, on each side, a series of voids or spaces into which the pins from the other side fit perfectly. A close inspection shows no irregular saw cuts or variation from a skilled craftsman, but rather a precise and identical manufactured machined joint. Most quality pieces of antique furniture will have a dovetail joint in the drawer construction as it was a very early form of construction, but was so successful, it was used for many s of years.
What is a Dovetail Joint on Antique Furniture?
As cabinet makers refined their skills the joints became smaller and neater.
Dating Furniture Using Dovetail Joints
Home Guides SF Gate. Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering. Different Types and Their Uses".