Success with David Barron'd Dovetail Guides?

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 11-27-2014 06:06 AM 1301 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1275 posts in 1356 days

11-27-2014 06:06 AM

Topic tags/keywords: joining

Hey everyone,

I’m in the middle of a project where I am going to need to cut some dovetails. I got to the part where I need to cut the dovetails and said to myself, “Self, you have no freaking idea how to cut dovetails.” So, I made a TS jig and it worked pretty well. The dovetails are totally functional and strong, but I still have some aesthetic gaps. I came across David Barron’s dovetail guides and was wondering if anyone here has had success with them. I read Rwilde and JayT’s reviews, which both say the guides work great. Anyone else? Anyone tried making these in shop from scratch?


-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

6 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


6469 posts in 1571 days

#1 posted 11-27-2014 06:15 AM

Here’s a how to on making one.

I’ve made a few, and they definitely help significantly. I can’t achieve a non-gap dovetail, but that guide got me a hell of a lot closer.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 757 days

#2 posted 11-27-2014 06:27 AM

I’ve been thinking of building a wooden dovetail guide that is reversible because I simply cannot cut at an angle. I can cut the pins but I always screw up the tails. I am getting better by practicing on scrap cutting to the line. I’ve got a rough idea in my head of cutting the angle of the tails on a 3/4” thick jig that has a lip on both sides. I can then press my western dovetail saw to the jig to start the cut at the correct angle. I’ve seen the DB jig but he uses it with a Japanese saw and I am more comfortable with a western saw. Still conceptualizing the jig and in the meantime I keep practicing cuts on scraps. I also signed up for a handcut dovetail class at the Port Townsend woodworking school. I really like how handcut dovetails look but so far I’m a bit of a failure at it.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View iminmyshop's profile


251 posts in 1415 days

#3 posted 11-27-2014 12:57 PM

An emphatic YES! Watch his videos:

Use of the Glen Drake tools kerf starter and 0.2” offset are important elements. I made my own alignment board. While nowhere nearly as fast as he is, I have found David Barron’s methods second to none in reproducing consistently decent dovetails. It still takes practice. If you are going to make dovetails regularly, the expense is worth it.

View shipwright's profile (online now)


7091 posts in 2219 days

#4 posted 11-27-2014 03:16 PM

I made one and it worked really well. The joints were just fine but …... l used the closest magnets I had in the shop to the size he was using and they were way too strong. Mine were 1” rare earth magnets so I’d say go smaller or not rare earth.
I also found that it was hard on my arthritic thumbs to hold the guide for very many consecutive cuts and ended up buying the Lee Valley equivalent with the screw clamp. It’s not as fast as the David Barron guide but my thumbs are happier. The magnets are about half the strength and much better too.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1275 posts in 1356 days

#5 posted 11-30-2014 03:04 PM

Cool. Thanks for the feedback guys. I am going to make a simple one to give it a try. If I like the feel of it, I might buy his.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#6 posted 11-30-2014 03:58 PM

Thanks for sharing this Dave

-- Custom furniture

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