Cut my first dovetail on Leigh D4R Pro help. - Router Forums
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cut my first dovetail on Leigh D4R Pro help.

I've only ever used a router maybe twice in my life and just got my new Leigh D4R Pro in the mail the other day so I figured I'd give it a shot. I cut my first through dovetail and it stunk, I took too much off and the fit was very loose. I watched the Leigh CD again and added a bit to my pins length to fix the loose issue. They seemed to fit perfectly the second time but I had a gap between my pins and tail.

The gap was because my pin was too long. I cheated and chopped off the pins (maybe (1/16 )with my miter saw but was curious what caused it? Even after cutting it with a miter saw they are still a tiny bit unflush, nothing a little sanding wouldn't fix. I would say I am pleased with my second attempt. I feel with a little help my third will be perfect.
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 06:33 PM
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how proud were the pins before you trimmed them????

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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If I had to guess 1/16. Like I mentioned after trimming it down the joints fit snug, but are still a tiny amount maybe 1/64 sticking out on each side.

Maybe shortening my straight router bit depth on my pin cuts would do it?

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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 07:26 PM
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bit set to cut too deep or the setting on the gray scale needs tweaking...
both...
use a LA plane yo trim that 1/64'' or a paring chisel...
avoid sanding to remoce material because of the different grains of wood...

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 07:46 PM
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Your bit depth is too deep by the amount the pins are too long. Check the manual, page 8-16 on adjusting bit depth.

Rather than change bits and re-adjust, I've found it very helpful to have two routers with a bit in each.
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“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.” - Mark Twain
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-18-2016, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 96BelisleAs View Post
I've only ever used a router maybe twice in my life and just got my new Leigh D4R Pro in the mail the other day so I figured I'd give it a shot. I cut my first through dovetail and it stunk, I took too much off and the fit was very loose. I watched the Leigh CD again and added a bit to my pins length to fix the loose issue. They seemed to fit perfectly the second time but I had a gap between my pins and tail.

The gap was because my pin was too long. I cheated and chopped off the pins (maybe (1/16 )with my miter saw but was curious what caused it? Even after cutting it with a miter saw they are still a tiny bit unflush, nothing a little sanding wouldn't fix. I would say I am pleased with my second attempt. I feel with a little help my third will be perfect.
Eric, for a guy who has only used a router a couple of times, I'd say you didn't do too badly.

Another hour or two of practice and you'll be knocking out perfect dovetails by the boatload.

OK, fess up...which one of you clowns stole my sig? It was right here a second ago.
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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bit set to cut too deep or the setting on the gray scale needs tweaking...
both...
use a LA plane yo trim that 1/64'' or a paring chisel...
avoid sanding to remoce material because of the different grains of wood...
That is what I figured. I like to think about what I think went wrong then ask to see if my conclusion was the right one. It was just my first test piece so I am not too worried about it for now. An orbital sander wouldn't work? I don't have any hand planers or chisels.

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Originally Posted by DonkeyHody View Post
Your bit depth is too deep by the amount the pins are too long. Check the manual, page 8-16 on adjusting bit depth.

Rather than change bits and re-adjust, I've found it very helpful to have two routers with a bit in each.
From now unless I get comfortable with it I might set my depth a little shy of what I think it should be. I remember when making the cuts being worried it was too long. I do have another router but its a cheap Black and Decker Storm plunge router and wasn't sure if it was of good enough quality, I didn't want to risk it messing up my work.

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Originally Posted by cocobolo1 View Post
Eric, for a guy who has only used a router a couple of times, I'd say you didn't do too badly.

Another hour or two of practice and you'll be knocking out perfect dovetails by the boatload.
I used one once when I was maybe 13-14 (over 20 years ago)and one for a few minutes last year. I am new to pretty much all of this but as long as I can follow simple instructions through online videos and articles, with the help from you guys, it is really not too difficult.

My biggest issue is I have to get some lumber. I gave almost all of mine away to my neighbor when we built a tree house for his kids last fall. I literally have only a couple pieces to practice on at the moment. I need to get busy because I'll be starting my first project as soon as my friend gets their tax return back. I am going to build something like this (below)......and I want to incorporate through and sliding dovetails.
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 96BelisleAs View Post
That is what I figured. I like to think about what I think went wrong then ask to see if my conclusion was the right one. It was just my first test piece so I am not too worried about it for now. An orbital sander wouldn't work? I don't have any hand planers or chisels.



From now unless I get comfortable with it I might set my depth a little shy of what I think it should be. I remember when making the cuts being worried it was too long. I do have another router but its a cheap Black and Decker Storm plunge router and wasn't sure if it was of good enough quality, I didn't want to risk it messing up my work.

I used one once when I was maybe 13-14 (over 20 years ago)and one for a few minutes last year. I am new to pretty much all of this but as long as I can follow simple instructions through online videos and articles, with the help from you guys, it is really not too difficult.

My biggest issue is I have to get some lumber. I gave almost all of mine away to my neighbor when we built a tree house for his kids last fall. I literally have only a couple pieces to practice on at the moment. I need to get busy because I'll be starting my first project as soon as my friend gets their tax return back. I am going to build something like this (below)......and I want to incorporate through and sliding dovetails.

Certainly wish you all the best on your project. Quite ambitious for a first serious try.
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OK, fess up...which one of you clowns stole my sig? It was right here a second ago.
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96BelisleAs View Post
That is what I figured. I like to think about what I think went wrong then ask to see if my conclusion was the right one. It was just my first test piece so I am not too worried about it for now. An orbital sander wouldn't work? I don't have any hand planers or chisels.

I am going to build something like this (below)......and I want to incorporate through and sliding dovetails.

sure an ROS would work but you need to be really careful because the face side of the wood will sand away much easier than the end grain leaving a wavy profile...
hold the sander as flat as you can and keep it moving...
100/120 grit is really course for this....
do you own any chisels at all???
can you sharpen really well...
if you want a decent life time set look to the Stanley Fat Max chisels MADE IN ENGLAND....
the made in China ones are a crap shoot...
just need to look for them...
Narex from the Czech Republic are very good buy/value and not bad chisels either.....

the dovetails...
do you plan to use them elsewhere other than the drawers...

nice well done center you have there...
for those shelves dado the side walls...
insert/glue the shelves into the dado...
pin/pocket screw the shelves from the bottom of the shelf into the side walls and avoid the fasteners and filler from the outside...
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This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”

Last edited by Stick486; 03-19-2016 at 08:17 PM.
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 03-19-2016, 06:43 PM
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From now unless I get comfortable with it I might set my depth a little shy of what I think it should be. I remember when making the cuts being worried it was too long.
You only get one chance at bit depth with a dovetail bit. If you adjust the depth and make a second pass, you'll end up with notches on the sides of the cut.

The only way I've found to get consistent results with the dovetail jig is to tinker with scrap OF THE SAME THICKNESS AS YOUR FINAL WORKPIECE until you get a good joint ON THE FIRST PASS. The reason is this: When you put the workpiece back in the jig for a second try, it will be a thousandth or so away from its original position. The router bit will shave that thousandth off one side of your pins or tails, but it doesn't put any wood back on the other side. So your pins or tails get narrower and the cuts get wider. That may make your test joint fit, but it's not easily repeatable.

So keep tinkering with scrap. Cut the pins and tails off your two test pieces and try again until you get good joints on the first pass. Then you're ready to move on to your workpiece.

That's why I like having two routers for dovetailing. Once you find the proper bit depth, you can quit fussing with that and only worry about adjusting the jig properly, and keeping track of the inside and outside of the drawer, and remembering to use the correct bit on the correct side of the jig, and I forget what else . . . .

Oh, you'll need a second guide bushing to use two routers.

I took a Sharpie and wrote INSIDE 2 ME on one side of the jig and OUTSIDE 2 ME on the flip side of the jig. The color of the ink matches the color of the router I use on that side. That's after multiple screw-ups where I put the board in backwards or grabbed the wrong router.

A lot of things have to be right to make good dovetails, and a momentary lapse of attention can leave you cursing. But it's wonderful when it all comes together.
Keep at it, and Good Luck!

“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.” - Mark Twain
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