Dovetail corner key

  • Advertise with us

« back to Jigs & Fixtures forum

Forum topic by mdennisusa1 posted 07-21-2012 03:24 AM 1952 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View mdennisusa1's profile


38 posts in 2392 days

07-21-2012 03:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cutting dovetail keys

I have a question I’m hoping someone can help with by explaining the process. I saw a pictures of a wooden box that had dovetail keys cut into the corners in the same way that flat mitered keys are cut into the corners. I understand how the dovetail slots are cut into the box using the same type of jig used for the flat keys. My question is…how does one cut the doetail keys for a precise fit?

5 replies so far

View BilltheDiver's profile


260 posts in 3124 days

#1 posted 07-21-2012 03:34 AM

I recently made a Cuban mahogany box for my son with dovetail maple keys in the mitered corners. I did it by building a jig for the router table to hold the box while routing the female portions, then used the same bit on the table by burying part of the bit in a sacrificial fence and cutting the keys in 2 passes. A little playing with the adjustments brought the key material to the correct fit. I then cut a longer piece of key material and croos cut that into several smaller pieces. Each piece was glued in place and after drying was trimmed with a flush cut saw. It really turned out well.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2525 days

#2 posted 07-21-2012 06:31 AM

My way is probably not the most efficient… trial and error on the table saw. Last time I got it right on the third pass :)

-- John, BC, Canada

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2929 days

#3 posted 07-22-2012 01:42 AM

I do it just like Bill above except that I use the same spline cutting jig on both my TS and router table. Cut the female slot and then “sneak up” on the dovetail spline. Cut 1 long one and then cut it to several sections.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3313 days

#4 posted 07-22-2012 01:52 AM

Probably the easiest way to do this (and other fancy dovetails) is with an Incra Precision router fence. They are a little pricey but I found a very good one on e-bay for a reasonable price.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5817 posts in 3052 days

#5 posted 07-22-2012 01:57 AM

All you need is a jig that holds the router at 45 degrees as you make the cut. Woodsmith shop did a show on two different jigs – one for hand routing and one for the router table.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics