Operating under the motto "We are found in the best joints!" is Hoffman-Schwalbe, a German manufacturer of woodworking machines and a little doohickey called the Hoffman Dovetail Key. The company has cleverly exploited the humble dovetail joint by producing a small, bowtie-like piece in a variety of sizes, and in materials ranging from plastic to metal to wood to rubber.
They then created a line of machines, ranging from handheld to standalone, that are essentially half-dovetail cutters.
Armed with a bag of these Hoffman Dovetail Keys and one of their machines, customers can use the system to join pieces of wood to create everything from picture frames to furniture to structural beams.
Check out one of their basic desktop machines, the MU 2, and how the operation works:
Hoffman-Schwalbe makes machines as small and simple as the hand-operated Exess model, and as complicated as their MS 35 SF, a dual-bladed miter saw that cuts two pieces at once, then uses two automated routers to cut the dovetails simultaneously.
For those not grasping it right away, this system can enable an absolutely radical change in your production system. Consider that items joined with these HD Keys require no glue, no glue-up, no cleaning up the squeeze-out, no clamps, no drying time. Finished pieces can be stacked as soon as they're together with no worries about glue squeeze-out from one piece marring the one beneath it, obviating the need for racks.
Spotted at Holz-Handwerk.