How to create a dovetail 1:6 or 1:8 slope

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Blog entry by PaBull posted 04-18-2011 01:57 AM 18627 reads 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When making dovetails the term 1:6 slope is used to set the angle of the tails. For most of you this a common term, for others not. Below are some pictures to simplify creating a 1:6 slope. In the first picture I taped down a piece of paper (a piece of plywood works fine to) and set my combination square to exactly 6”. In the next picture i take my pencil and trace it all the way around. The last picture shows how I use this diagram to set up my sliding bevel. From here I can use the sliding bevel to transfer this 1:6 onto any piece of wood like a drawer side.

I hope this helped somebody.

Happy dovetailing.

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

4 comments so far

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2979 days

#1 posted 04-18-2011 02:30 AM

Just to add… 1:6 slope will give as total angle of 19 degree being the arctangent 1/6 = 9.46 degrees and 1:8 slope = 14.2 degree being arctangent 1/8 = 7.125 degrees

You might be interested in the analysis of dovetail strength based on the angle … this is well explained in this link.

-- Bert

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3172 days

#2 posted 04-18-2011 10:50 AM

thankĀ“s for sharing Pabull and Bert
always nice to get new inputs and learn

take care

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2945 days

#3 posted 04-18-2011 01:28 PM

You can make a marking jig with the 1:8 slope by cutting that slope on each end of a small block of hardwood and then cut a dado in the back so it sits on the end of the work piece so you can quickly mark both sides of the dovetails. Make another one with a 1:6 slope on each end for marking dovetails in softwood and a third one set at 90 degrees to mark the straight edges of the pins and tails. Mark each with either a 6 or an 8 to keep them separate and so you can use the right one for the project.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View mafe's profile


11739 posts in 3146 days

#4 posted 04-18-2011 11:37 PM

This is what I did:
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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