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What's So Great about Dovetail Drawers?

Dovetail drawers are considered a sign of quality, a hallmark of solid construction, and are generally recommended for anyone in the market for cabinets. But why such high praise?

Dovetail joint | Illustration by SilentC

Dovetail joint | Illustration by SilentC

The dovetail joint that hold the sides of the drawer together consists of interlocking “tails” on one side and “pins” on the other, cut at precise angles that fit tightly together. This creates high tensile strength, which means the joint is extremely resistant to being pulled apart. The distinctive patterned end of a dovetail joint may be covered (as in a full-blind, half-blind, or secret mitered dovetail) or, more often, left visible as a mark of craftsmanship (plain dovetail).

Some cabinets come with drawers that are stapled and glued together. This saves money, but does not provide good value, because these joints break down with everyday use. That is why dovetail drawers are the standard for Boston Building Resources cabinet manufacturers.

A classic dovetail drawer is made with solid wood and has the drawer glides undermounted rather than exposed on the sides, which better protects the glides from wear and tear. Sometimes, the drawer glides are mounted on the sides, or materials such as particleboard or medium density fiberboard (MDF) may be used. But the standard of quality craftsmanship is still a solid wood dovetail drawer.

So what’s so great about dovetail drawers? They’re a sign of superior craftsmanship that will stand up to the bumps and bangs of life. By choosing dovetail drawers, you’re ensuring that your cabinets will remain beautiful and will stand the test of time.

Kelsey Bittner

Illustration "Joinery-throughdovetail" by Joinery-throughdovetail.gif: SilentCSVG conversion: Duncan Tate (talk) - Joinery-throughdovetail.gif. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joinery-throughdovetail.svg#mediaviewer/File:Joinery-throughdovetail.svg.