Dovetail Cross

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Project by yuridichesky posted 12-09-2013 09:00 AM 1806 views 8 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Recently I’ve been doing dovetail work (tool tray for my workbench), and it’s the reason I decided that I needed some dovetail marking gizmo.

Quick googling gave me a favorite, Paul Sellers’ dovetail gauge: simple design, quick to build, easy to tune and true:

But. It does not allow to mark two surfaces – face of the board and end of the board – at once. So I decided to “improve” Paul Sellers design by extending tapered shoulder. And since it looks like a cross I called it Dovetail Cross (btw I didn’t find anything like that on the web, so did I invent something new here?).

As with my previous project I started with prototyping in pine before cutting the oak:

Prototyping really helped me to decide about the joinery for this cross: some kind of half-lap joint with a “twist” – little recess for cleaner look and stronger joint:

Besides the really nice and clean look and unnecessary strong joint it gave me quite a bit of headache to make it tight and square.

For the gluing I had to make true-square block – yet another extra work:

Initially I decided to do all final adjustments and truing by sanding the jig on big dead-flat stone. But it didn’t work at all: no matter how hard I tried I wasn’t able to provide uniform pressure along all the legs, so it was off the square either on one side or on another or both. As a result I sanded off 1/32” of the legs’ width without getting even close to the square. Then I tried block plane and chisels to true it up, but without any success neither.

The rescue came from this little scraper:

It allowed me to remove as little material as I needed to finally make it dead square for each leg.

So here it is in action – two marking lines on the face of the board and end of the board without moving the gauge:

The legs of the cross are long enough to mark two 3/4” thick boards at once:

So now I have a tool that allows me to mark easily all the lines of 1:7 dovetails no matter how close to the side of the board line is, plus it serves as a small try-square as well. The making of this tool took me at least 20 times more of time and work than Paul Sellers gauge, and still I’m quite happy about how it turned to be.

Thank you for stopping in!

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

13 comments so far

View mbmattvt's profile


66 posts in 696 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 11:47 AM

Smart! I think you’ve got something unique!

-- "There are three kinds of men. The ones who learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." --- Will Rogers

View yuridichesky's profile


430 posts in 749 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 02:17 PM

Matt, thank you! It wasn’t the easiest jig to do, but it works quite nicely now.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View CL810's profile


2542 posts in 1774 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 02:48 PM

Very clever Yuri.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View waho6o9's profile


5439 posts in 1362 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 03:14 PM

Yuri for the win!

Great job and thanks for posting.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

15854 posts in 1123 days

#5 posted 12-09-2013 05:17 PM

Very clever. Great design.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Mauricio's profile


6945 posts in 1937 days

#6 posted 12-09-2013 05:48 PM

Brilliant idea Yuri!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View yuridichesky's profile


430 posts in 749 days

#7 posted 12-09-2013 08:02 PM

Guys, thank you all very much!

I think I’ll do some little spamming with this project in “Marking gauges of your dream” forum :-)

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

15774 posts in 1353 days

#8 posted 12-09-2013 08:32 PM

Excellent idea. Of course the fact I had a extra step with my Paul Sellers design didn’t bother me before. Now I’ll need to make a. Yuri design marker!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View bondogaposis's profile


2862 posts in 1137 days

#9 posted 12-09-2013 10:40 PM

Very nice idea.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TerryDowning's profile


1027 posts in 903 days

#10 posted 12-09-2013 11:58 PM

Nicely done Yuri! Very clever indeed.

-- - Terry

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

12455 posts in 1891 days

#11 posted 12-10-2013 12:05 AM

Really neat idea. thanks for sharing!!.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


15255 posts in 2461 days

#12 posted 12-10-2013 07:46 AM

Great idea!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View yuridichesky's profile


430 posts in 749 days

#13 posted 12-10-2013 02:27 PM

Thank you everyone once again! You guys make this cold winter warmer :-)

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

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