With a few exceptions, they don’t have high value as antiques but are solidly made and can last for many years.
For thousands of years, a dovetail joint was created by a skilled cabinetmaker using small, precision saws and wood chisels.
These routers were ancestors of the electric precision tools of today, and could be used to rapidly cut a machined dovetail joint.
Each cut is exactly like the others, each tail and pin are exactly matched.
If you suspect there’s something unusual or distinctively well-made about your piece, go with your gut, Masaschi says, and ask someone who knows.
This construction detail is your first key to the piece’s age and quality of craftsmanship.
The use of hand tools and hand-cut dovetails is now the province of hobbyists and a few small shops creating authentic replicas of antique furniture.