RE: What kind of wood is best to us for dovetail practice?

Poplar is my choice for practice. A drawer is composed of 2 sides of slightly inferior wood and the best wood used on the show surface or drawer front. A good combination of woods are poplar for drawer sides and cherry for a drawer front. This applies to very small to small drawers without much need for load. On larger drawers I would use a stronger wood with a higher specific gravity number for the sides. For small drawers, cherry and poplar combination also provide a dark/ light effect which many woodworkers strive for. For practicing hand cut dovetails, poplar hardwood is very good as it is much finer than pine, it is forgiving, easy to saw and compressible. Once you have mastered the hand cut dovetail, you can move on to harder woods for the drawer sides. The drawer front should be harder regardless. Cherry, walnut, mahogany, figured wood, etc..

Norman Pirollo