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Stumpy's Dovetail Machine - Part 2

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Blog entry by William posted 04-05-2012 03:49 AM 2565 reads 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So today I got busy on the fingers. I debated on how to do this. I just was not that confident on my bandsaw skills today to attack it free hand. I thought about the scroll saw. Doing it that route on three quarter inch thick pecan though was really more trouble than I cared to go through.
In the end, I had a bright idea. I have an incra fence on one saw and an Incra sled on the other saw. I figured the accuracy of the incra would come in handy for this job. I took photos of how I done this, but I refuse to post them for the simple reason that I don’t recommend it. There ere several times today that I had to step back and really think on how to do all this on a table saw without taking my fingers off trying to make fingers. I got it done, but I highly suggest to everyone to take Stumpy’s advice and do it on a bandsaw. Myself, I wa just too stubborn to give up on my idea.
Now, another place I did not follow Stumpy’s advice was that I made all the fingers at once. He suggests making a few and testing before moving on. Doing these on the table saw though, it was more appropriate to do each step to all the fingers at each different setup.

After all of them were made, I put a few on the bar for my first test piece.

I was not a happy camper. I screwed up and was going to have to go back and make all the fingers again. The only thing I can think of that could have went wrong is that I’m using a different angled bit than Stumpy did, and this caused issues. This is where making a few and testing would have been better. Even with the machine adjusted for the tightest fit possible, there was plenty of slop.
I was gathering everything up to toss in the fancy firewood pile when I had an idea. Maybe all was not lost. I needed the straight sides of the fingers smaller. There is a way to do that without recutting them all. Stumpy’s plans call for using a half inch bushing. All I had to do for a smaller cut was to use a larger bushing. I didn’t have nothing to lose trying it.
So I went with a five eighths bushing instead of a half inch.

Compared to every jig I’ve ever attempte using, this is DOVETAIL PERFECTION!
This photo is the test piece. There is still some more adjustments to be made. I only lamped up some more scrap for a test, only half hoping it would work. So this quick and dirty test produced that dovetail. I was happy and it was time to move on adding the other fingers.
I can absolutely live with using the larger bushing. Actually, I prefer it. I can now use my half inch shank dovetail bit, which I am more comfortable with. Because of a past near accident, I do not like quarter inch shank bits.

Stumpy suggested sixteen fingers total. I made fifty total. I added width to my machine. Also, I wanted extras, just in case. I have twenty four on the machine. It is easy to add or remove if need be. Everything about this machine is fully adjustable and the options are limitless.


So what are my thoughts on the machines now that I’ve got it setup and used it?
Go to the Stumpy Store.
You guys NEED a dovetail machine.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/



12 comments so far

View Philip's profile

Philip

1114 posts in 1196 days


#1 posted 04-05-2012 03:54 AM

Sweet! Nice to see that it works well. I’m unclear on how it can cut sliding dovetails, can you show that? Keep those fingers, they are good for picking your nose…

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View William's profile

William

9042 posts in 1500 days


#2 posted 04-05-2012 04:03 AM

I’m sorry Philip, I didn’t make the STD bar (STD-sliding dovetail). In the end, I didn’t need it, and I figured it would be something that’s easy to go back and do later if I do decide I need it. I have never cut a sliding dovetail though and have never needed one. If the need arises, I will do it.
However, I think I can explain it.
The rear fence, the one on top, holds a board. Using the proper bushing, you cut the groove part of a sliding dovetail by guiding your router along the fence.
Then, for your tail part on a different board, you replace the finger bar with the STD bar. Your board clamps up in your front fence. Then you use a bushing along the STD bar to cut the dovetail on one side of the board, flip, route the other side, and then that board slides into the groove you cut on the first board.
I hope this explains it pretty well.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View eddie's profile

eddie

7325 posts in 1271 days


#3 posted 04-05-2012 06:03 AM

nice build William been following it.i,m going to order the plans from stumpy.may be a while before i start i,m still trying to finish a work bench and chair. you did a great job on it .i am concerned about the fingers too. just i’ll have to be real careful i,m a little greener than you on these builds just learning.but you made a good looking jig. stumpy is really got a grin now and i know of at least one he’s sold due to it.so you think i maybe should stay with the band saw for the fingers.just put a new blade on it and seem to be tuned with as little draft as i could get.if mine comes out as good as your i’ll have that grin too

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Dave's profile

Dave

11168 posts in 1497 days


#4 posted 04-05-2012 10:49 AM

I love it William, now you have a good jig to get the results you want. I am glad it worked out and you are happy. It looks real nice as well. The fingers are perfect. Great work, as always.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1664 posts in 1546 days


#5 posted 04-05-2012 11:23 AM

With a little thought, I’m sure you could make a jig for the router table to make the fingers. It would be more accurate than freehanding on the bandsaw.

Paul

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

View William's profile

William

9042 posts in 1500 days


#6 posted 04-05-2012 11:57 AM

Thanks ya’ll.

Eddie.
I think the bandsaw is the way to go on the fingers. They’re not that difficult. The most difficult part for me on the fingers was getting the dadoes correct. They have to fit snug, but still be able to slide. With my less than great dado set, I wound up cutting them close and then sneaking up on it with a wood rasp.
To be honest with you, there is only one reason I didn’t use my bandsaw. I recently build a sixteen inch bandsaw. It would have been a cinch to use it to cut them. The problem is, I’ve played with it so much showing it off to everyone that comes into the shop, that it needs some adjusting. I have a terrible sinus infection at the moment. The last thing I wanted to do was lean over that bandsaw and tune it. I hope this explains my table saw decision.

Tiny.
I agree that using the router and template bit may be a great way to go as well, for some people. Myself, I thought of this and had a reason for not doing so. I made fifty fingers. I would have had to clamp each one into a wooden clamp to route them. That is the only way I will route on small parts. Call me overly cautious on that one, but I’ve had one too many near misses with small parts on the router. That thing will grab you if you’re not careful. So, while it is an option, I don’t think the router is any more safer for this operation than the table saw was.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6194 posts in 1458 days


#7 posted 04-05-2012 12:41 PM

The fingers do need to be accurate, but they are really not as difficult as they look. I used a dado set to cut the underside recess that goes over the machine’s bar. I just snuck up on the first one until I had it just wide enough to fit snuggly. Actually, you want them to slide on the bar only with firm pressure. That will ensure they don’t have any side to side play. I used a sacrificial fence on my miter gauge and a couple of stop blocks so I could make them all the same

Then I made a pattern out of a scrap so I was sure all of them whould be the same shape. I cut them on the bandsaw with no problem at all. I suppose you could cut close to the line, and then use one of those 1” wide belt sanders to finish them up. But I had no problem with just doing everything on the band saw. A very slight imperfection won’t kill you. You don’t want any bumps on the edges that the router bushing will ride along, but it doesn’t have to be sanded perfectly smooth.

As for sliding dovetails, like Willliam said, you need to make a piece of wood the same size as the Incra Super Track bar that holds all the fingers. The reason for this is you don’t want to take all those fingers off so you have a smooth surfece for the router to ride on during sliding dovetail cutting. So a wooden replacement is a cheap and fast alternative.

This is one of the best parts of the jig because it has a microadjust feature that works, not just for fine tuning the fit of regular dovetails, but for fine tuning the width of sliding dovetails. When your board is clamped on the front in the same way you would have it to cut regular dovetails, you can turn the knob on the back to move the router bar back and forth to adjust the cut for the sliding dovetail. The only difference is you are now going to move your router parallel to the edge of the board instead of perpendicular like with the regular dovetails. You run it all the way along one side of the board edge, then turn the knob to move the bar into place to do the other edge of the sliding dovetail. Or, you could leave the bar where it is, and just flip the board around to do the other side.

To cut the groove part, you lay your board on top of the machine and use the bar on the top to guide the router. This also works very well for cutting dados and rabbets with the router. Blue Collar Woodworking episode 11 shows how to do that part.

Glad it worked out for you! I know I love mine!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View William's profile

William

9042 posts in 1500 days


#8 posted 04-05-2012 12:51 PM

Thanks Stumpy.
I agree that the fingers aren’t as bad as they seem. I made mine over difficult because I was worried about the accuracy of them. After using the machine (only for testing, but using just the same) and seeing how it works, slight imperfections aren’t going to hurt I don’t believe. I may even go back at a later date and mess up a few fingers on purpose just to test this theory.

I wish to add, the most aggrevating part of this project, for me, was getting all the parts together. The town I live in, it is near impossible to find anything. The hardware and lumberyard stores here only cater to contractors. In addition to that, I am impatient. I hate ordering online because I have to wait for it. So I had to order the Incra track online. I made it worth it though by ordering a few other things I needed from Woodcraft while I was at it.

I am thrilled to death with my Stumpy Machine.
There is only but one small detail I wish I’d done different, and will eventually.
The drawer slides that enable the top panel to move back and forth is not of the quality I’d wished for. I bought the best I could find locally. Soon, I hope to be ordering some better slides online. I think the brand name Stumpy suggested was Accuride. I will be looking to order a set of those.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6194 posts in 1458 days


#9 posted 04-05-2012 12:59 PM

Yah, when you ordered your Incra track from Woodcraft, you should have thrown in a set of 10” drawer slides. I think they are $10.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View William's profile

William

9042 posts in 1500 days


#10 posted 04-05-2012 01:07 PM

I wish I’d thought of that Stumpy. Now I’ll have to pay shipping though, so I’ll probably wait untill I’m ordering something else. The machine works great with what I have for now. I just have to measure each time to be sure.
Actually, it hasn’t been a problem though. So far, each time I adjust the machine, it’s been spot on. I’m just not confident with it because I don’t like the quality of the slides I used. When I first put them on, one slide had more resistance than the other. I think maybe the springs on the sides are helping compensate for this though and it may not even be an issue in the long run.

-- http://wddsrfinewoodworks.blogspot.com/

View Roger's profile

Roger

14608 posts in 1461 days


#11 posted 04-05-2012 04:25 PM

thnx fer givin us the finger/s William…. Really, tho, very kool

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Philip's profile

Philip

1114 posts in 1196 days


#12 posted 04-06-2012 03:06 AM

Very good stuff. I figured with that respirator you got going those allergies would be a thing of the past…lol

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

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