Dovetail practice


What kind of wood is best to us for dovetail practice? Pine is cheap, but doesn’t really translate to most nice woods because it’s so soft, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on practice wood.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I see nothing wrong with using pine if your just practicing, as it will possibly just get chucked upon upskilling whe you do the next one.

Dont just pass on it because its pine

Here is a tool makers chest from pine bits

Regards Rob

I would suggest poplar harder than pine and you can get a cleaner cut with chisels.

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

Also alder is a wood to use.


Tor and Odin are the greatest of gods.

Whatever you can get cheap or something from the scrap bin. Poplar is a good choice, soft maple is too.

Bondo Gaposis

When I started, I decided to make a few little drawers for screws… 10 of them… to be placed along rear of a bench… When done, I made a quick little frame for them… I still use them today… It has been a few years since doing that.

I decided to use some scrap Plywood! Yep, Plywood! Was nice and Flat, etc.

Box #1 was horrible… needed much work to make fit, etc.; still in use!
Box #2 was better… and each following box was better & better.
By the time I finished Box #10, I had it down pretty good… and I was fairly consistent…

I basically used a small DT Saw, hand scroll saw, and chisel…

I always cut the Tails first… and used to mark for the pins…

Whatever way you decide on, DO IT, KEEP AT IT… and you will conquer it!

Do you need a few small drawers for screws? Try it, you will like it…

Actually, using plywood was probably harder to work with than solid wood… Do a good one with plywood, solid wood is a piece of cake!

Hope this helps!

The biggest thing to always keep in your mind is…

Always Cut on the WASTE Side of the Line!

I know I’m a little late in relying to you… but, better Late than Never! Yes? :)


Have Fun! ...

practices makes perfect,up next the Joe Lyddon dovetail school. :)

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

Pine is cheap and just fine for practicing dovetails. It is technique or lack thereof that makes the difference. There are many good videos on dovetailing on Youtube, maybe the best ones form Fine Woodworking magazine or well known woodworkers.

Mike, an American living in Norway

I agree Mike many times when I get a commission to build something I’ve never built before I use pine to build a prototype,it’s great for practicing dovetails cost-wise, but for a nice crisp cut I prefer a harder wood.

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker