Box Joints and Dovetails

You can’t make the sharp corners that a traditional dovetail joint would have but you could make a joint that’s close. If you didn’t mind cleaning up the corners with a chisel it would work. A box joint would probably be easier to do and with modern glue would still be a strong joint.

Vetric has a box gadget, that will cut dovetails with a board flat - but it does create ‘dogbones’ which makes it not great for ‘furniture grade’ projects. I’ve used it for shop stuff though, which works very well.

I have created true dovetails on a vertical board, using a dovetail bit. Look further up in this thread for some pictures.


I was 75 percent into making my table before finding this forum. All I knew was, a tilting table/storage and dovetail and box joints were important for me. As a result maybe I have a different approach, time will tell if workable. I’m at the figuring out software stage! (Photos of dovetail pit idea, only carving at this point….table 1” thick salvaged oak from an old library…very sturdy.)

My apologies….using an iPad, It does not want me to paste photos?
Will try to figure this out or try my windows computer later.

Hi everybody, I’m reinstalling my 1F (upgraded Journeyman with QCW and 80mm 2.2k Splindle) and looking for an option on how to implement a vertical milling in one of those area of the qcw.

Has anyone done or think on a solution?


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thanks for the reply, finally added photos. Don’ think i would ever cut dove tails with the table in the vertical position but seems possible if a long board were properly supported. plan to take a close look at Joint Cam software.

Very nice! A little cleaner than what I set up. I hope everything is square for you, as making adjustments looks like it would be difficult.

I was able to use Fusion 360 to make the CAM setup for cutting dovetails. Using their “Manufacturing Model” capability to pull apart a box into components for making the tool paths worked really well. I can make a box of arbitrary size and number of dovetails and have it generate toolpaths all automatically.

Jointcam looked interesting - I downloaded the demo - but with a little work I can get Fusion to do the same things.

I have found that backer boards are required to tame tear-out - especially with plywood. Make sure you have some capability to clamp on backer boards before any true production runs are done.

Looks great! Looking forward to seeing some ouput!!!


Ok Mike, you have inspired me to dive deep into Fusion 360. In two or more weeks I’ve learned to use parameters to put together a dovetail box in the design phase. Like the use of arbitrary size and number of dovetails to generate!

Had to watch a video at least 50 times. Now the challenge, how to figure out the CAM —toolpaths, g code, etc. I’m lost here. Back to tutorial searches, any recommendations welcome.

At 70 I’m finding the mental challenge rewarding…(maybe?)


I’ve had to step forwards/backwards a ton during those videos - they go fast! Or, I’m slow - one of the two.

Here’s a video on manufacturing models - where you can “pull apart” the boards and create CAM paths for them separately: Fusion 360 - Auto arrange parts on sheet - YouTube

Once you pull apart the boards and get them flat - the trick is to set the orientation of them to upright before you create the CAM paths. Yell if it doesn’t work for you, I can help.

…you can also use a plugin called Mapboards Pro if you are using the free edition of f360. There’s a smallish one-off charge. I use it a lot.


Apparently, I can Design but can’t post process on F360. The set-up is way too confusing, maybe someday it will sink in. In general, I like the program but I’m beginning to think Joint Cam might be less frustrating for me.

Agree G360 CAM isn’t easy at all. I use F360 (free edition) can use it with effort but like VCarve for simplicity. I have on occasion, as like you I can design in f360 ok, is design in f360 and create then save sketch files to dxf for use in VCarve. An odd workflow but I like parametric control in f360 and in some situation this workflow helps me.

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Normally, Lars Christensen is my go to for fusion tutorials. However, all I could find from him is the cad side of dovetails. Since I do not know what part of the cam you are having a problem, I did not review the video in detail. NYC CNC is another good tutorial source. Not quite as goto for me as Lars since I see them working with industrial machines more often than not. Short story turned long, perhaps this f360 dovetail video from nyc cnc may be useful.
NYC CNC dovetail video

Thanks, just ran across your jointcam conversation elsewhere. Time to shell out some $ for software. Would you recommend VCarve pro before getting jointcam. or jump in for both? (making box and dovetail joints are a priority for me).

Both VCarve and jointcam have free trials. My issue with VCarve is the lack of parameterized design - you’d have to manually create a new design every time the dimensions of the project change. Jointcam is box/dovetail only - so you can’t use it for anything else. But,I think it does that job pretty well.

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Did you ever find a solution to this? I want to do the same thing. Thanks

Hi Mike
I was planning on cutting a hole today very similar to yours but stopped after seeing yours
Your hinges are am idea I might use
Can you add picture of your table with it up for normal use? And anything else you’re willing to share
Thanks ahead of time God bless

What did you want to see that’s not in this post: Box Joints and Dovetails - #33 by MikeH

Happy to take other pictures, but not sure what you’re looking for.


Hi mike
Yes here in the picture the vertical board is hinged down for dovetails etc. Do you have picture of it up
As for regular carve