English and French Dovetail Drawer Construction

We often get asked what is the difference between English and French dovetail drawer construction. Put simply: both are techniques used to join pieces of wood to form a drawer; however, they differ slightly because of how the drawers front, sides, bottom and back are pieced together.

The follow picturing illustrates the difference between the two techniques.

English Dovetail: Notice the jigsaw cutouts on the sides of each drawer piece, which when joined together form a tightly fit drawer. Fyi, the English dovetail technique is also commonly referred to as a butt joint.

French Dovetail: This technique is based on cutting out a slat in the middle of a board and also a corresponding piece of wood that can slide into the middle cutout.

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