dovetail virgin seeks experience - Router Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Default dovetail virgin seeks experience

I have to rout a dovetail slot in my router table top for a mitre fence track. I have no idea why they had to make it complicated and dovetail the sides of the alloy track.
I havent done this before and am more than a little apprehensive.

The track is 12.5mm deep, 31mm across at the base, and the angle is 14 degrees.

The only dovetail bit I have is barely 12.5mm. I think I am going to have to cut twice to get the depth. Already my brain hurts thinking about two cuts on an angle.

The bit is also only around 12mm across at the base, so it looks like I will need to make three sideways passes, as well as two depth cuts.

words of warmth and encouragement would be welcome at this stage.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 09:12 AM
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Words of warmth and encouragement from this lot? Surely you jest!

I wonder if you wouldn't be better off just to buy a more suitably sized bit?
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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yeh, I know, I always expect too much.
Thing is, I havent needed to cut this kind of slot so far in my short woodworking life. I dont expect to ever cut another dovetail slot after this, so buying a new bit is going to hurt me in a very private area.

I might have to make a couple (dozen) test cuts.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 09:33 AM
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If you let the bit stick out further than pushing it all the way in, would that help? At least you should get enough depth that way.

A few (dozen) test cuts will reveal all!

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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This is where my spatial awareness limitations come into play (I am really crap at 3D planning). If I lower the bit and it doesnt cut the top of the wood, and then I raise the bit, because its at an angle i would need to move the guide rail wouldnt I?

Is it simpler to cut high at first. or lower at first? My brain seems to think I would have to move the guide rail regardless. I want to get this right, but do not want to spend a hunk of money on a bit that will never be used again.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 11:10 AM
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Could you define the edges of the slot with a table saw and then clear it out with a router bit?

I haven't seen a miter track that needs a dovetail slot before, that is worth posting a picture.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 11:28 AM
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Bob if you make your first pass with a dovetail bit, then lower the bit, you are essentially defeating the purpose of a dovetail bit, no?

So, use a different bit like a 1/2 inch straight bit to hog out the center of the cut, then two passes with the dovetail bit, one from each side to define the angle.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by sunnybob View Post
This is where my spatial awareness limitations come into play (I am really crap at 3D planning). If I lower the bit and it doesnt cut the top of the wood, and then I raise the bit, because its at an angle i would need to move the guide rail wouldnt I?

Is it simpler to cut high at first. or lower at first? My brain seems to think I would have to move the guide rail regardless. I want to get this right, but do not want to spend a hunk of money on a bit that will never be used again.
Have you ever thought about keeping it simple and just buying a track the has straight 90 deg. sides ? by the time you buy router bits and figure it out, you will have more into it than just buying a new track.

Or if you have a "T" slot bit, make a slot that is the right width at the top and slide the dovetail track in.

Herb
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 04:28 PM
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Have you ever thought about keeping it simple and just buying a track the has straight 90 deg. sides ? by the time you buy router bits and figure it out, you will have more into it than just buying a new track.

Or if you have a "T" slot bit, make a slot that is the right width at the top and slide the dovetail track in.

Herb
I am going to do an MTStringer here and quote myself.

I can see the reason for the dovetail sides on the track. I installed a straight sided one in my wooden drill press table and was using it to anchor clamps to clamp down my work. I ripped the wood screws out of the table from the pressure of the upward force of the clamping .
I had to use short screws because they went through the top and hit the cast iron of the table below.

But you are going to use yours for guiding the miter gauge, and clamping feather boards , which do not put an upward force on the T-strip, so a square edged one would work OK for you.

Herb
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 04:36 PM
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If I understand correctly, for your bit, I agree that you need to make 3 passes to get the correct width. Each pass with your bit can widen the slot the bit's width (at most), which is 12 mm. Set the bit depth to 12.5 mm (but if the shank is less than 12.5mm, you should use another bit, for safety). I'm assuming that you either have a straight edge to run the router along, or an edge guide, or your table has a fence. The 3 passes might be something like:

Pass 1: Let this be the left-most pass. You now have a slot 12 mm wide at the base (the bit width).
Pass 2: Move your straight edge (or guide or fence) over 10 mm to the right. This is the middle pass. You now have a slot that's 22 mm wide at the base.
Pass 3: Move over 9 mm to the right. This is the right pass. After this pass, you now have a slot that's your desired 31 mm wide.

For pass 3, you might want to creep up on the overall width, by moving say, only over 7 or 8 mm and checking the overall width of the slot.
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