Picture Framing

The Hoffmann Dovetail Joining System – How it Works

The dovetail shape is a proven and timeless design – a classic feature used in mechanical engineering and woodworking for hundreds of years. The precise double dovetail shape of the Key and its ridged sides guarantee a snug fit and positive guidance when driven into the routed slots.  As the Key is inserted, the mouldings are drawn together, creating a tight, perfectly aligned and permanent joint without the need for clamps, staples or other fastening devices.  Hoffmann Dovetail Keys provide a fast, exact and reliable way of joining wood and wood related materials, whether on a large production scale or in a small custom shop. The double-dovetail shape and ribbed, sloped sides guarantee strong, tight joints every time. Every Key has a rounded end to aid in starting the insertion process and no special tools are required.


The Joining Process

1.   Dovetail Keyways (slots) are routed in both mitered ends with a manual or pneumatically operated routing machine.

2.   Wood glue is applied to the miters and the parts are placed together to form a corner.

3.   Dovetail Keys are started into keyways by hand and then driven home with a hammer.

4.   A permanent, strong and reliable joint is created.


 Advantages for Picture Framers

The Hoffmann Dovetail Joining System offers distinct advantages and benefits to custom framers:

  • Thin floater frame moulding can now be joined without the risk of splitting the material.
  • Tall shadow box and display case moulding for team jerseys and memorabilia can be joined without the need for bar or strap clamps, vises, brad nails, putty, etc.
  • Heavy, large moulding can be joined with multiple Keys per corners for added strength.
  • Large frames (example floater frames) can be assembled piece-by-piece around artwork, without having to struggle to place a large, delicate frame onto a corner stapling machine.
  • Very small frames, applied or inlay moulding as small as 5/16” x 5/16”, can be joined with the smallest Dovetail Keys size W1-1/4”.
  • New opportunities are opened up with the ability to join any miter angle, including triangle (flag) display boxes, octagon and hexagon custom frames, steep angle displays for team pennants, etc.
  • Stretcher and strainer frames, with and without cross braces, can be joined in the shop or supplied as “ready-to-assemble” kit to the artist.
  • Wide variety of fasteners is available to match in different moulding styles and thicknesses.

Dovetail Keys are manufactured in four different sizes (cross section), designated W-1, W-2, W-3 and W-4 and each Key size is available in a range of lengths.

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Hoffmann PP2-NCF Dovetail Routing Machine
The Hoffmann PP2-NCF freestanding, automatic dovetail routing machine is equipped with two high spee..
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