Designing Traditional Breadboard Ends

Holes in the outer tenons are elongated to allow for wood movement.

Tabletop

Dovetail size and spacing

Q: How should I space my dovetails? I have seen examples from different eras and various furniture makers that exhibit various proportions. Is there a right way?

-WILLIAM DONOVAN, Altoona, Pa.

A: ON EARLY PIECES OF FURNITURE, you often will see pins and tails close to the same size and with steep angles. As furniture making evolved in this country, pins became smaller and the angles less acute.

Generally, narrow pins are considered the finest work. They showcase a maker's skill and create a refined look that draws the eye.

Evenly spaced dovetails are the easiest to lay out using a couple tricks. One is the half rule (see top drawing, right). With this method, you place half-pins at the edges of the board, find the center point between them, and locate a pin there. Keep dividing the spaces in half to locate pins. In a typical drawer, you'll want at least three full pins and two half-pins Cone at each edge). In a case, you'll want a pin spaced every 2 in. to 2V2 in.

You also can use a rule to create evenly spaced dovetails. First, decide on the number of pins. Angle the rule until that number is aligned with the far edge. For example, say you want 10 pins on an 8-in. board. Angle the rule until the 10-in. mark aligns with the edge, then make marks at every inch. Transfer those marks to the end of the board, creating 10 evenly spaced pins.

—Philip C. Lowe runs The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts.

How To Sell Furniture

How To Sell Furniture

Types Of Furniture To Sell. There are many types of products you can sell. You just need to determine who your target market is and what specific item they want. Or you could sell a couple different ones in a package deal.

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