In front of you is the dovetail joint puzzle plan. This puzzle at a first glance look like object that is impossible to manufacture – and the task is to discover how it is made.

This puzzle is called the impossible dovetail joint puzzle, and it belongs to the impossible object puzzles. This is very simple puzzle, suitable for the exercise of the beginners, but at the same time this is very interesting puzzle, so we are sure, that even an experienced woodworker will not resist making it. The dovetail joint puzzle is a type of the puzzle that people notice right away, and we are sure that you will have plenty of fun with your friends and family, watching them while they think about how it was made.

Impossible dovetail joint puzzle is a rectangular block, composed of two different pieces, which are so fitted together that each side of the lower part appears to be dovetailed into the corresponding side of the upper part.


Impossible dovetail joint puzzle plans
Project type
Project difficulty
Simple, requires precision
Skill level
for school classes and beginners
Level of workshop equipment
Hobby - Sharp and quality hand tools
Applied woodworking joints
Sliding dovetail joint

When accurately made, this impossible object puzzle presents the outward appearance of being two through dovetail joints crossing each other on the inside. Anyone who see this object, probably will come to conclusion that this thing is impossible to make, and will ask himself what is the trick.

As you see on the pictures, solution of the dovetail joint puzzle is very simple because it is a simple two tail dovetail joint, extending cornerways through the faces, instead of square with the faces.We recommend you to make this puzzle out of the contrast colored woods, because this way will highlight the joints and thus draw the attention. It should be glued and varnished so that the solution cannot be detected by inspection.

There are a large number of versions of this impossible object puzzle, and they all have the same principle. The only difference is in the shape of the parts and in the number of tails.

Dovetail wooden puzzle plan
Dovetail wooden puzzle - Part 1
Dovetail wooden puzzle - Part 2
Dovetail wooden puzzle - Solution
Double dovetail wooden puzzle plan
Double dovetail wooden puzzle - Part 1
Double dovetail wooden puzzle - Part 2
Double dovetail wooden puzzle - Solution
Triple dovetail wooden puzzle plan
Triple dovetail wooden puzzle - Part 1
Triple dovetail wooden puzzle - Part 2
Triple dovetail wooden puzzle - Solution
Another puzzle solution - Corner rotation

Another puzzle solution (image above) - Corner rotation

To make such an interesting puzzle, it is enough to own a hand saw, coping saw and chisel - the dovetail joints of this puzzle are made on the same way as the real dovetail joints.
1.  Lay out the dovetails and sockets. Mark the waste.
2.  Saw the dovetail cheeks (part A) and the socket cheeks (part B)
3.  Remove the waste with a coping saw to establish the joint shoulders
4.  Pare to the lines. Use a narrow chisel to pare the shoulders and a wide chisel to pare the cheeks.


Download project in PDF file format
Download project (high resolution images)

Submitted by Ceh Jan