My very first dovetail project

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Project by Dan posted 07-07-2010 08:49 PM 3353 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my very first project in which I used dovetail joints. I am newer to woodworking and was given an older Leigh Dovetail Jig from my father. He gave me no direction as how to use it so after a lot of research online (thank God for the internet) I had a pretty good idea how to use it. I wanted to build something that was a simple design so that the dovetails would stand out as the focal point of the project. After all I spent a great deal of time learning all I could about this jig and cutting dovetails so I wanted them to stand out on my first project. I had been planning on building a good solid step stool for my boys to reach the sink so I went with that.

Due to the fact that this was the first time cutting dovetails and using the Leigh Jig I didn’t want to screw up a lot of really nice wood with mistakes. However you need straight non warped wood in order for the joints to line up right. I had some extra bass wood that I decided to use for the steps.

It took me a little while to get the dovetails just right but once I had the right settings the cutting was a breeze. The dovetails locked together very nice. I used a biscuit jointer to attach the top and bottom step. The bass wood has a nice looking grain so I finished it with a shellac finish.

When it was finished I tested the joints by standing on the top step and making a few small jumps. It didn’t budge so all in all I am very happy with it and I don’t mind seeing it in the bathroom every day!

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

7 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4188 days

#1 posted 07-07-2010 09:29 PM

Dovetail jigs can be rather difficult to set up. It looks like you figured it outjust fine!

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Kate's profile


400 posts in 3844 days

#2 posted 07-07-2010 09:34 PM

Nice job. The Leigh jig is confusing, but has great instructions. Looks like you found what you needed.

-- Kate,

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 07-07-2010 09:41 PM

Yes and the little Leigh demo video on youtube made it look so easy! I only had the jig so I had to download the user manual online and then order the bits and guide bush. Once I found the exact setting though it was very easy and went fast. I suppose thats why they include a chart in the manual to record your projects settings.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View charlie48's profile


248 posts in 3139 days

#4 posted 07-07-2010 09:57 PM

Very nice !! I’m still trying to make dovtails, mybe some day. Welcome to LJs

-- Charlie............Only time will tell if it was time well spent.

View Mike's profile


391 posts in 3587 days

#5 posted 07-08-2010 12:19 AM

Welcome to LJ’s as a first project it cuts the wood…..

I went with handcut dovetails early on building a wooden toolbox, but that was on the front of the drawer on the back I used pegged mortise I used screws with plugs and dowels. It was all about different things and a learning experience. Still have the box but the next one will be a lot nicer.

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 2980 days

#6 posted 07-08-2010 02:57 AM

Dovetails look great! I look forward to what you will use your new found skill on next!

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View MasterSergeant's profile


1361 posts in 2658 days

#7 posted 03-09-2011 12:47 AM

I still have my first ones to cut. You did it now the rest should be easier, right?!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

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