If you’ve cut the pins and tails of a dovetailed joint correctly, they should stand slightly proud when joined.

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If you've cut the pins and tails of a dovetailed joint correctly, they should stand slightly proud when joined. But clamping directly over the dovetailed joint doesn't hold things tight because the clamp only touches the tips of the pins, not the sides of the tails. And if you try to skirt this by placing the clamps just behind the joint, you run the risk of overtightening and bowing the project sides. So, I've cut a few sets of custom clamping cauls that apply pressure only to the sides of the tails. You can use a box-joint jig or dovetail jig to make them if the spacing works. Finish the cauls with a couple of coats of polyurethane to keep glue from sticking them to the project.
—Bob Hunter, WOOD® Magazine Tools Editor