David: Question: Dovetail joints are made with two interlocking pieces, the pin board and the tail board. If you were making a drawer, which one would you use for a drawer front?
a) Pin board
b) Tail board
c) It doesn't matter
Answer: (a) Pin board
The sides of the drawer are tail boards. You may see a piece of furniture in which pin and tail boards are reversed, for artistic reasons, but a drawer made this way probably won't last long.
Imagine a "backwards" drawer that's swollen stuck, or loaded with heavy items. When you yank hard on the drawer's front, it could come right off! Pulled in this direction, the joint is only as strong as the glue.
When you think about it, a dovetail joint resists being pulled apart much better in one direction than the other. And that's why fronts are pin boards.