Hi, I am trying to use an older version of the Rockler dovetail jig model 711373, the blue one without the fancy alpha-guides. I have been trying both through and half-blinds. After about 6 hours of trying to get clean perfect fitting through tails and pins, the pins come out nice and clean with the proper depth with the tails not being clean and smooth. I switched to the half-blind setup and now the fit is perfect but the alignment is off with the boards not lining up at the edges; the joint looks perfect except for that.
The reason for perfection is that I am trying to make an 8"x8"x6" urn that will hold my father's remains. I am making the sides out of walnut. I was hoping to not have to use mitered corner joints, as those can be troublesome in their own right.
I thought that the upper flat board and lower vertical board were to be lined up with the edges lined up before the cut to automatically make them aligned after they were cut, and both cut at the same time. But it has been a long time since I cut any.
Last edited by Herb Stoops; 07-04-2020 at 12:11 PM.
Hi Bruce, I have that jig and just hate it. I gave up on it and went with a different type. I went to a Rockler demo and a very experienced woodworker could not get pins and tails to line up on that jig to save her soul. What I remember most is that odd placement of the first piece, and that only certain widths actually work in that jig.
However, there are a number of youtube videos on proper setup that might help.
First off welcome to the forum Bruce. Depending on the circumstances stress may not be helping much either. Dovetails, even using a very good jig can be grueling to setup properly depending on the jig. I say grueling in the sense if you haven't used it before and are unfamiliar with it. I have a Porter Cable jig that works great when you get things dialed in. The 1st step was setting the proper depth on the bit. Micro adjustments and scrap wood of the same thickness of the wood for the project you want to do is important. Once the depth is set then the offset of the pins and tails. Again scrap wood of the identical thickness is important. I've gotten to the point that when I'm doing such a project I would have more wood then necessary and mill it as needed. Cut the boards needed to size and then have at least an extra side and front piece just in case.
The other left over wood, and you want this, is cut into workable sizes to set the jig up. The left over wood you would want 2 pieces to work with cut off the remaining and long enough to have multiple tries cutting off the failed attempts. By this I mean you don't need identical lengths but you would want the same width. By being the same width you can set your spacing so the joint has at least 1/2 joint top and bottom. The trial an error of setting up the depth of cut can be more than a few tries and when the attempt doesn't give you the result you need simply cut that end off and try again. The PC jig has a bit depth gauge built in that you can adjust the depth and lock in. This helps if all you wood is the same thickness for each project but will likely always need a bit of tweaking as you will likely have some minor differences between millings.
Aside from the videos and manual I really don't know what to suggest. The PC jig I mentioned also has a adjustable stop for setting the alignment of the pins/tails. Not sure if the Rockler does. You may also want to look at this class that George did on WWGOA found here
And if you're doing this just after your Father has passed you may want to wait until the stress and grief has subsided. If this is the case my sincerest condolences. It will just add a great deal more pressure to your project. And another thought, if the urn is to be buried check with your local and state requirements for certain materials, even cemetery requirements may be different.