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Hand-Cut Vs. Machine-Cut Dovetails

Hand-Cut Vs. Machine-Cut Dovetails
June 19, 2009 Chris

Many people ask us how to tell the difference between dovetails that are cut by hand and those that are cut by machine. Once you know, it’s fairly easy to tell. Just have a look at these pictures:

antique dovetails machineantique handmade dovetails

The picture on the left is an example of machine-cut dovetails. Note how square they are, and how many. The dovetails on the right, however, have been cut by hand, and are narrower, tapered, and fewer. Whether or not dovetails are hand-cut is one of many indicators of age when dating an antique, since machine-cut dovetails entered into prominence after the Edwardian Period.