Dovetail Joining Machines

The Hoffmann Dovetail Joining System

The Hoffmann Dovetail Joining System is a unique way of efficiently joining wood and wood related materials like MDF, plywood, particle board, etc. Most commonly, the system is used for all types of miter joints, on anything from small, applied moulding to mitered cabinet doors, base frames and furniture components. Other applications include difficult to assemble compound miter joints, as found on crown moulding around the top of cabinets, on custom store fixtures and even casket lids. Square or butt-joints are another field of application, from face-frame assembly to trim carpentry (plinth or corner block-to-casing joint). All in all, the applications are as different and numerous as the customers, from small one-man custom shops to large furniture factories, from shutter manufacturers to architectural millwork shops, from stair builders to yacht outfitters to outdoor furniture manufacturers.

The heart of the system is the Hoffmann Dovetail Key (or "Hoffmann Schwalbe" in German), a fastener in the shape of a double dovetail.

The Dovetail Keys are available from ¼" up to 4" in length, in four different widths or cross sections (W-1, W-2, W-3 and W-4). More than 35 different sizes of Standard Dovetail Keys and over 20 different sizes of Keys with Flange are available. Both versions are made of a high-quality polymer compound; the standard color is medium brown to blend in well in most applications. Plastic Keys can be made in numerous custom colors as special order. Solid Hardwood Keys in cherry, oak, walnut, mahogany and maple and solid Aluminum Keys are also available and are sold by the linear foot, to be cut to size by the customer.

The Dovetail Routing Machines are available in a variety of models to suit different applications, from small bench-top machines to large production units. Five standard machines are offered, as well as range of made-to-order and even complete custom-built machines to meet every production requirement. All machines are built to highest technological and safety standards at our factory in Bruchsal, Germany and are covered by a comprehensive, one-year warranty.

The Process

  1. Dovetail Keyways are routed into the parts with Hoffmann Dovetail Routing Machines
  2. Glue is applied to the mating surfaces.
  3. Dovetail Keys are inserted and driven into the material with a hammer.
  4. A tight, perfectly aligned joint is the result.

The Facts:

  • The clamping or pressing process is eliminated
  • No additional fasteners (nails, screws, etc.) are needed
  • Parts are automatically aligned when assembled.
  • Keys are designed to provide correct clamping pressure for proper glue joint.
  • Plastic Keys are dimensionally stable.
  • Custom colors or flange shapes are available.
  • System can be used for RTA (ready to assemble) furniture production.

The Benefits

  • Eliminating the clamping process saves considerable time during assembly.
  • Eliminating additional fasteners saves money and reduces damage due to improperly placed screws or nails (no more cracks and splits).
  • Eliminating alignment problems during assembly improves quality and reduces repair and re-work costs.
  • Consistent, reliable glue joints increase outputs and efficiency.
  • Keys are of consistent sizes and shape and are not influenced by seasonal humidity changes. Inadvertent contact between cutter heads or saw blades and Keys does not damage tooling.
  • Over 250 different colors are available to match finished products. Custom flange shapes and logo imprint distinguish products from competitors.
  • Reduced in-shop assembly process and lower shipping costs improve bottom line. Easy on-site assembly with pre-routed components.

Standard and Made-to-Order Machines

Designed for professional operation with routing heights from 2 1/8" up to 8", our machines are available as manual and pneumatic bench-top models or as freestanding production machines.  Choose between smaller single-head routing machines geared toward occasional users and custom shops or production oriented multi-head models capable of routing up to four keyways in one cycle.

Standard machines include:

  • X-15 - Manual bench-top routing machine
  • MU2 - Manual bench-top routing machine
  • MU2-P - Automatic bench-top routing machine
  • PU2 - Automatic free-standing single-head routing machine
  • PP2 - Automatic free-standing double-head routing machine

Made-to-Order machines include:

  • PU2-TL - Free standing production unit for multi-angle applications.
  • PU2-SF - Freestanding single head saw-routing combination machine.
  • PU2-TAB- Routing machine equipped with 2 carbide router bits to rout two dovetail
    slots per miter
  • PP2-TAB- Routing machine equipped with 2 carbide router bits to rout two dovetail
    slots per miter
  • PP2-TAB/4 - Routing machine equipped with 4 carbide router bits, two on each side.
  • PP2-VH - Dovetail routing machine is used for both vertical and horizontal routing operations.

Custom Built Machines

Some applications require completely, "one of a kind" machines and we pride ourselves in being able to provide solutions for these instances as well.  We present a small selection of custom-made machines for various applications, from wooden toys to sauna beams. If you have an application requiring a custom machine, please contact us for a detailed proposal.