Before I get to making the dovetails for my wife’s dovetail box, I thought I’d make this little template. The design came from the fine folks over at Homestead Heritage, where I was privileged to receive a day of hands-on joinery instruction.
I did modify the design somewhat. The original design has a square on one side and a 1:7 dovetail angle on the other, and is identical on the flipside. Since many woodworkers advocate using a 1:6 ratio for softwoods and a 1:8 ratio for hardwoods, why not have them all represented? So I have a square and a 1:7 on one side, and on the other side I have both 1:6 and 1:8. I think I’m going to follow up with my woodburner and burn those ratios on the appropriate face, just so I don’t have to guess.
I think I will get a lot of use out of this jig, and not just for dovetails. Having a tiny square can be pretty handy sometimes. I know that I have on occasion cursed my huge 12” Starrett square, nice as it may be.
[This entry was taken from my personal website, Adventures in Woodworking.]
EDIT 2/10: This thing only works if you’re a “pins first” guy. If you do tails first, the template only lets you do one side of the tail, and you’d need a bevel gauge to do the other side. If you do pins first, though, the template should be long enough to use from either side of the end.
EDIT 2/13: Wrong again! No matter which side of the end you place the template, the angle is the same. So this template really is kind of useless except for the square. But it’s given me good experience which will help when I build my next one!