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$19.99 Dovetail Jig

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Forum topic by TopamaxSurvivor posted 11-14-2009 01:51 AM 1584 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TopamaxSurvivor

17654 posts in 3137 days


11-14-2009 01:51 AM

Topic tags/keywords: dovetail jig

I have been looking for a way to speed up hand cut dovetails. Here is an alternative to $2-300 dovetail jigs.

http://popularwoodworking.com/article/1999_Dovetail_Jig/

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


8 replies so far

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GMman

3902 posts in 3159 days


#1 posted 11-14-2009 01:56 AM

Thanks for posting.
I saw a video of that somewhere.

View cstrang's profile

cstrang

1829 posts in 2629 days


#2 posted 11-14-2009 01:56 AM

Awesome! Thanks

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

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Karson

35035 posts in 3862 days


#3 posted 11-14-2009 03:04 AM

Thanks.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#4 posted 11-14-2009 12:21 PM

Yet another great jig Bob. I love simple ideas like this that work so well. However, dovetails cut with a router bit have one fatal weakness. The cuts between the tails have to be wide enough to accomodate the router bit shaft at the narrow end of the cut. In my opinion the result does not reflect the hand crafted quality which is usually the reason for using dovetails in the first place. The tablesaw dovetail jigs posted recently do not have this weakness. I totally respect those who disagree with me on this point, as it is mainly a matter of individual preference. I saw some antique Norwegian furniture yesterday produced around 1900. The drawers were constructed with hand sawn dovetails and the narrow end of the tail cuts were wide. I can’t say they looked elegant ,though they are still tight as a drum, and these pieces haven’t been restored. They are just being used to display merchandise in a store!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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TopamaxSurvivor

17654 posts in 3137 days


#5 posted 11-14-2009 09:10 PM

Hi Mike, not being a connoisseur of fine woodworking, I didn’t know the little fine pins were a indication of hand cut dovetails. That’s what I love about this site, I learn something everyday. I usually make mine wider so they will be stronger, but that’s probably not necessary. What I have been looking for is a way to rough out dovetails to speed up the process without going to a dovetailing router jig.

When I cut them in soft wood like pine, I always make them quite wide, is that necessary?

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

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stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#6 posted 11-14-2009 11:30 PM

Hi Bob, Tests have shown that the finer dovetails and those with a lesser angle are actually a bit stronger, but I don’t think strength is really an issue here inasmuch as both types are far more than strong enough.

My real point was that there are many ways to join that are just as adequate as dovetails. Woodworkers know this yet they continue to take the trouble to make dovetails. The reason is because the dovetail is a signature of good craftsmanship and handwork. If you look closely you will see that top woodworkers usually cut pretty small dovetails with almost no opening between the dovetails on the leading end of the tail board. This can’t be done with a router. So if they are cut wide they might just as well be made easier with a router.

Again, this comes down to personal taste, but I like the looks of the smaller ones and so do a lot of other woodworkers. Just to let you know how strongly I feel about it, I have a good quality dovetail jig that I bought 14 years ago, but I hand cut my dovetails to get the kind I like. If I were doing loads of dovetails all the time, I would use a shop made tablesaw dovetail jig because they can be cut just like the hand-sawed ones. The last issue of Shop Notes magazine had a great tablesaw dovetail jig.

I hope you don’t think I am being a snob. From my point of view, I am just being consistent with the reason for dovetails in the first place. Besides that, sometimes it’s fun to be obsessive.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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TopamaxSurvivor

17654 posts in 3137 days


#7 posted 11-14-2009 11:52 PM

I started doing them because I think they look better than other joints. I haven’t done enough of them to justify a spendy router jig. I like to do hand work, but not to the point it gets tedious. Roughning out one half with a router or table saw then using hand cutting to do the other half seems like a good compromise.

I saw the jig in the last issue of Shop Notes, but grinding a blade especially for cutting dovetails isn’t something I would probably do unless I was going into production.

I am definitely an amatuer here unless we are talking about electrical issues in the shop :-))

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

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stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#8 posted 11-15-2009 11:48 AM

You could use the blade you have and just chop out the waste straight across with a chisel. I don’t remember for sure, but I think you have to chop out the waste anyway. You don’t really need a fancy jig like in Shop Notes. There was one posted by TIMBO on LJ just a short time ago. I liked it so much that I favorited it. There were two posts. One on the jig and the other how to use it. The result looked like the hand cut dovetails, not the router cut ones. It didn’t really cost anything either.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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