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Lee Valley’s Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide System.

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Review by Gord Graff posted 06-27-2010 04:05 AM 17332 views 16 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Lee Valley’s Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide System. Lee Valley’s Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide System. Lee Valley’s Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide System. Click the pictures to enlarge them

.........................”perfect fitting hand cut dovetails in a matter of minutes without the learning curve”.

Veritas® 1:6 Guide with Saw

Are you intimated by hand cut dovetail joinery? Have you avoided incorporating dovetail joinery into your woodworking because you feel that the learning curve for hand cut dovetails in far too steep and you don’t want to commit to complicated and expensive router jigs?

Let me assure you that your fears are no longer warranted. Lee Valley Tools has the perfect solution to your hand cut dovetail dilemma and it’s accurate, easy to use and relativity inexpensive. Lee Valley’s Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide System.

The Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide System comes in three ratios, 1:6 (9 degrees) for softwood, 1:8 (7 degrees) for hardwood and the new 14° guide is designed to approximate a 1:4 ratio, typically found on popular 18th century American period furniture. All of these guides are designed to be used with material that is ¼” to 1” thick. The Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide System can be purchased as a complete system (saw and guide of your choice) or can be purchased individually.

For this review I’ll be using the 1:6 guide (for softwoods) and the Veritas dovetail saw with it’s dozuki tooth design that rips and cross cuts with relative ease and comes with the system.

The guide itself is made from anodized aluminum and has a ¾” rare earth magnet embedded into each side of the guide to hold the saw at the perfect angle while cutting the dovetails. To assist the saw in a smooth and perfectly aligned cut, the two sides of the jig that are used as a cutting guide are covered with a low friction UHMW plastic.

The guide clamp that holds the jig to the material being cut adjusts effortlessly and secures the jig firmly to the stock being cut., when tightened in position, this jig does not move. The jig has two positions, one for cutting the tails and one for cutting the pins and is easily converted to either position by simply sliding off the guide clamp and re-positioning the guide clamp on the jig body to cut the tails or pins.

The instructions that come with the saw guide are detailed, full of illustrations and are easy to follow. The instructions also come with a trouble shooting section and valuable information on dovetail joinery. It goes without saying that you should read over the instructions carefully and become familiar with the terminology of dovetailing and how the guide works. Despite the fact that this guide will also cut “half blind” dovetails, I’ve chosen to focus on “through” dovetails for this review. Half blind dovetails take a little more work to get good at but “through” dovetails are the perfect place to start for anyone trying dovetailing for the first time.

The saw guide has two configurations, one for cutting the tails and one for cutting the pins. To change from cutting tails to cutting pins you simply remove the guide clamp and re-orientate the guide for cutting pins and re-install the guide clamp. Sound confusing, it’s not because the saw guide has been manufactured with a “tapered” wing and a “square wing” to remove all confusion.

Once I laid out the pins and tails on the stock I was using, the saw guide can be configured for the given operation and I was ready to go.I elected to cut the tails first as it makes no difference with this saw guide whether the tails or pins are cut first. The following picture shows the tail cutting procedure in progress.

Cutting the pins has one added operation and it’s only required when cutting the two “half pins” at either end of the stock. An adjacent piece of wood of the same thickness is placed under the guide’s clamp to keep the guide secure while sawing. (See below) This operation is explained in “Figure 15” of the saw guide’s instructions.

Once the pins and tails are cut to their layout lines it’s a simple matter of removing the waste material with a chisel and even that operation is covered in detail, in the instructions.

The Bottom Line:

Whether this is your first time at trying hand cut dovetail joinery or you only plan on cutting a few dovetails every once in awhile this is the dovetail jig for you. Even if you’re unsure of how to hold a dovetail saw or confused about how and where to start, the Lee Valley Veritas Dovetail Saw Guide and it’s easy to follow detailed instructions will easily guide you to creating perfectly fitting dovetails in no time at all……..........………….it did for me.


  • Price: *
    Veritas 1:6 Guide with Saw $59.00
    Veritas 1:6 Dovetail Saw Guide $42.50
    Veritas Dovetail Saw $24.50
  • A Personal Note:

    This dovetail guide was described to me by a dovetail purist as “dovetailing with training wheels”. To that I said, “ call it what you will, the results speak for themselves…………….perfect fitting hand cut dovetails in a matter of minutes without the learning curve”.

The pictures below speak for themselves.

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers: http://www.gordgraff.com




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Gord Graff

140 posts in 2649 days



28 comments so far

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psh

77 posts in 1750 days


#1 posted 06-27-2010 04:43 AM

Great review, thanks!

-- Peter, Central VA

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Napaman

5365 posts in 2831 days


#2 posted 06-27-2010 05:40 AM

Beautiful review…did not read every word…but was so glad to see your name pop into my e-mail…good to see you on Gord!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 2649 days


#3 posted 06-27-2010 05:51 AM

Gentlemen,

Thank you for your kind words, I’m glad you liked it.

Napaman, you’ll never know how good it is to be here.

All the best
Gord

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers: http://www.gordgraff.com

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1399 posts in 2219 days


#4 posted 06-27-2010 03:47 PM

thanks for your very detailed review. Ive always wondered about these sorts of jigs.
Do you just hold the saw blade to the jig with your thumb? also, is this your first time cutting dovetails by hand?

View DrewM's profile

DrewM

176 posts in 1753 days


#5 posted 06-27-2010 04:13 PM

Ive been trying to cut dovetails on my own without a guide and my results have been hit or miss. I think I will give this system a try and for that price including a saw I wont feel too bad about spending the money.

-- Drew, Delaware

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 2649 days


#6 posted 06-27-2010 04:33 PM

”Do you just hold the saw blade to the jig with your thumb? also, is this your first time cutting dovetails by hand”?

Hi Aaron,

The rare earth magnet that is found on either side of the jig does a great job of holding the blade of the saw but I found myself placing my hand on the blade to “guide” it, not that it needed it but because I was more comfortable doing it that way….........................

No, this is not my first time cutting dovetails by hand but this method takes all the guess work out of the process leaving you to focus on the other aspects of dovetail joinery, good chisel skills and so on.

All the best
Gord

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers: http://www.gordgraff.com

View Eric_S's profile

Eric_S

1521 posts in 1950 days


#7 posted 06-27-2010 05:05 PM

Great review Gord.

I would think though the magnet used to keep the saw tight against the guide would make moving the saw difficult. Is my thinking incorrect?

-- - Eric Indianapolis, IN

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 2649 days


#8 posted 06-27-2010 05:51 PM

Hello Eric,

Glad you liked the review.
The UHMW pads on either side of the jig make sliding the saw against the jig effortless.
It’s a very smooth and easy method of sawing on the desired angle.

All the best
Gord

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers: http://www.gordgraff.com

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1399 posts in 2219 days


#9 posted 06-27-2010 07:16 PM

thanks for answering my questions.

I thought this system looked familiar, and recalled seeing a hand-made jig with similar functionality… here’s onlike it: http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/dovetailbw.pdf

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 2649 days


#10 posted 06-27-2010 11:46 PM

Hi Aaron,

That’s a cool looking jig and looks like it would work just fine. Thanks for posting that.

All the best
Gord

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers: http://www.gordgraff.com

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112942 posts in 2331 days


#11 posted 06-28-2010 01:14 AM

Interestong review

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 2649 days


#12 posted 06-28-2010 01:27 AM

Hello deke,

I used the same method of removing the waste as described in the instructions.

I didn’t use any other saw just the one that came with the jig.

All the best
Gord

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers: http://www.gordgraff.com

View CreekWoodworker's profile

CreekWoodworker

409 posts in 2052 days


#13 posted 06-28-2010 02:48 AM

Thanks for the detailed review, I’ve been thinking about one of these.

-- Mike ...Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction

View wch's profile

wch

45 posts in 1712 days


#14 posted 06-28-2010 04:33 AM

Another way of removing the waste is to remove most of it using a coping saw or fret saw, then chisel out the rest. Chris Schwarz has a good writeup here:
http://blog.woodworking-magazine.com/blog/Frame+Fight+Coping+Saws+Vs+Fret+Saws.aspx

I’ve been playing with this recently, and I like it so far. For me, it’s faster than just chiseling; I think it also reduces wear on the chisels because I do more paring and less chopping with a mallet, and this in turn reduces the time I need to spend sharpening. Another nice thing is that it eliminates the need for a tiny chisel for cutting the tails when you have narrow pins.

Oh, and Gord, thanks for the excellent review!

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 2649 days


#15 posted 06-29-2010 12:35 AM

Hi All,

I’ve used a coping saw, band saw and a scroll saw at different times to remove the waste material but I wanted to try the way that was suggested in the instructions that came with the jig. It’s slower but it works none the less.

All the best
Gord

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers: http://www.gordgraff.com

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