Dovetail Machine (The Stumpy Machine)

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Project by William posted 879 days ago 11953 views 47 times favorited 46 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Dovetail Machine, except for the hardware and Incra track, is made completely of wood. It was an easy build. I bought the plans from fellow Lumberjock, Stumpy Nubs. It is an easy build as long as you follow instructions. I made a fe changes to the plans, and still finished it in about twleve hours over a two day period. Thee hardest part is the fingers, which have to be right for the machine to be accurate.
It will cut dovetails in material up to thirty six inches wide. The fingers are fully adjustable to make the pins and tails narrow, wide, varied, or any combination in between. The tighteness of the joint is also adjustable by turning a knob in the back that is not shown in the photos.
The last photo shows a test piece that was done just to make sure it worked right before I added all the fingers. I am sure you all will be seeing this machine put to good use in future projects.

You can buy the plans for this machine, along with other designs by Stumpy Nubs, HERE at what I refer to as the Stumpy Store.
You can go HERE and watch Stumpy’s video of his machine in action. I’m sorry I don’t have the equipment to do videos. The only difference though between his and mine is that I made mine wider.
You can read about my build of this machine and see plenty of photos of the build here: Part 1 and Part 2.


46 comments so far

View lizardhead's profile


517 posts in 1477 days

#1 posted 879 days ago

Very nice. Have you used it yet—If so how well does it work—It looks great

-- Lizardhead---Yeah but it's a dry heat--Tempe, Az

View AKAndrew's profile


53 posts in 1411 days

#2 posted 879 days ago


View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 1018 days

#3 posted 879 days ago

I need to make one of those. Nice job.

View bowtie's profile


824 posts in 982 days

#4 posted 879 days ago

I like it, 36” capacity would work for anything I anticipate building.

-- bowtie,.....jus passin thru....

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

890 posts in 1809 days

#5 posted 879 days ago

Very nice.

-- Tim-; Twitter-@asliceofwood; Facebook-

View mcase's profile


438 posts in 1765 days

#6 posted 879 days ago

Patience is virtue and you must have it! Making those fingers would have put me in the rubber room. Great job!

View William's profile


8979 posts in 1478 days

#7 posted 879 days ago

Thanks everyone.

I’ve only used it so far to cut the test piece in the last photo. I anticipate using for a project as soon as I can.

That was also my thinking. The plan design is for a narrower machine. I extended it out to 36”. When I done this, my only reason was because the Incra track I got was 36”. After doing it though, I am happy I have the extra capacity just in case.

The fingers weren’t nearly as bad as I feared and I actually didn’t need to make as many as I did. Because I extended the machine, I was guestimating on the amount of fingers and made fifty. There are only twenty four on there in the photos though. I put the rest in a coffee can for safe keeping in case I ever need them.


View Chips's profile (online now)


199 posts in 2348 days

#8 posted 879 days ago

looking good William

-- Make every day the best day of your life. Chips, Mississippi

View William's profile


8979 posts in 1478 days

#9 posted 879 days ago

Thanks Chips. When you going to build one?
I hope you know I’m kidding you.
Seriously though, if you ever get back to having shop time, I think you’d enjoy building one.
You may have seen how I extended the machine to accept wider stock. For you guys with smaller shops, it’d be just as easy to reduce it to make it only for small stock.


View Everett1's profile


208 posts in 1170 days

#10 posted 879 days ago

no way! First i’ve seen someone make they’re own Leigh jig, crazy

-- Ev in Framingham, MA

View DamnYankee's profile


3233 posts in 1198 days

#11 posted 879 days ago

Looks good William. Tell me more about making the fingers. Looks like that would be the hardest part.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View stefang's profile


12967 posts in 1970 days

#12 posted 879 days ago

Great build William! I’m sure you will get a lot of use out of it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View northwoodsman's profile


227 posts in 2382 days

#13 posted 879 days ago

I am assumming that to make the fingers you milled a large block of wood down to the correct shape then sliced them off on a miter saw or table saw. Whether you made 5 or 50 would be the matter of about 2 minutes. Very nice work. This is incredible. Anybody want to buy a slightly used D4R Pro? Just kidding!

-- NorthWoodsMan

View William's profile


8979 posts in 1478 days

#14 posted 879 days ago

Thank you all.

I’m not the first. You can watch the video of the machine in action here. That is Stumpy Nubs, a fellow Lumberjock, who designed this.

I thought the fingers were going to be a nightmare. They were not. I actually made them harder than they needed to be by using my table saw instead of tuning my bandsaw and using it like Stumpy suggested. If I’d used the bandsaw I believe they’d have been easier, but even as I done them, they weren’t bad. As with anything that needs to be accurate, there’s a process. Here’s what I done.
1. Cut the stock down to size. If you make the machine the size in the plans, there’s 16. I cut 50.
2. Cut the dado for the fingers to fit over the Incra track. Take your time and sneak up on it. I used my Osbourne. Miter Gauge. I’d have loved to use my Incra sled, but it isn’t set up for dados.
3. Drill holes and countersink them so that you can use machine screws to attach the fingers to the Incra track.
4. Cut the straight guide on one end of all the fingers.
5. Cut the angled side on the opposite end of the fingers. Here is where you may need to rethink things from the design. Stumpy used a 7 1/2 degree dovetail bit I think. I used an 8 degree. The angle on your fingers MUST be the same as the angle of the bit you’re using.
6. Attach you fingers and cut some dovetails. Fine tune as necessary.


View William's profile


8979 posts in 1478 days

#15 posted 879 days ago

Yes northwoodsman. I ripped three quarter inch stock the correct width. Then I used the stop block on my Incra sled to just lopped them all off at the correct length. There was nothing difficult about making the blocks for the fingers except I was having a clumsy day and kept knocking them off my table as I stacked them.


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