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The use of hand tools and hand-cut dovetails is now the province of hobbyists and a few small shops creating authentic replicas of antique furniture.

This overview of the dovetailing techniques should easily help identification and dating of most furniture from the last 200 years.

When the joint is expertly executed, it is a thing of beauty, and a secure joining of two boards that can last for centuries.

A little glue cements the connection, and a good dovetail joint has great strength and durability.

Here is an early example of machine-cut dovetails on a 1920's sideboard from a dining set: European cabinetmakers continued to produce hand-cut dovetails through the 1930's.

This over-view of the dovetailing techniques should easily help identification and dating of most furniture from the last 200 years.

The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating.

With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. The name "dovetail" comes from the appearance of the joint, resembling the triangle shape of a bird's tail.

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One board had tiny "tails," and the other had the larger "pins," carefully measured to match and fit together exactly.

There was resistance - in England, carpenters unions went on strike over the use of electric saws, fearing the end of their livelihoods.

Nevertheless, by the 1950's, power tools were used in almost all furniture construction across Great Britain.

These machine-cut dovetails are as strong and long lasting as the hand-made joints, and became the standard of better American furniture ever since the late 1890's.

Other drawer joints include sliding keyhole or French dovetails that were have been used since the 1890's.With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. The name “dovetail” comes from the appearance of the joint, resembling the triangle shape of a bird's tail.

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