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Dovetail joints fascinate and confound me! I've never actually cut one, so my question may be full of holes...

I've seen simple shopmade jigs for cutting tails (or is it pins!??) for half-lap dovetails, but never for through dovetails.

I've looked at manufactured dovetail jigs, and they look rather complicated... but the actual guide looks relatively straight forward.

Has anyone ever tried to make one?

It's in my head that some day I will try to make one... but I have the feeling that any response to this post is going to be of a negative persuasion :eek:

If I were to attempt it, what pitfalls should I be aware of?
 

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Hey Presumed, a couple of nights ago I was looking though my binder of Shop Notes and saw just what your are looking for. It is after midnight and the binder is in the shop and baby it is cold out there, so you will have to wait a day or so and I will send you the issue number. The jig looked to be well thought out and not to complicated and can be setup to make different size dovetails. I read through the plans and I think even I could build it. See you in a day or two.
 

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I looked up the Shop Notes this afternoon. What you want is issue #43 January 1999. You can go to www.shopnotes.com, and order a copy for about $4.99 that is if you can't scrounge one from someone. Hope this helps.
 

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I have made a jig, not the usual type but for a splin dovetail. You can read about it at jointech.com Hit download and then scroll down to splin jig. unusual, yes, but does a really good looking dovetails.
 

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Hi everyone, New to the site, and so far it seems great. I have built the dovetail jig from plans out of Woodsmith Magazine, which is quite likely the same one featured in Shopnotes Magazine mentioned in one of the earlier posts. It is relatively straight forward, and it does work well. Making the comb was a challenge because it has to be just right. An adjustable finger joint fixture makes this process alot easier. Once I had the finger joint jig dialed in, I made a second comb the same as the first. I then filed the round end in one of the fingers on one of the combs. clamped the two together with the fingers and slots lined up, and used the router table and a pattern bit to duplicate the rounded end on the other fingers. Rounding the ends of the fingers on the comb took less time that getting the finger joint jig dialed in. I downloaded my plans for both the adjustable finger joint jig, and the dovetail jig from www.plansnow.com for about $5 each (Both work very well). I've used the Stots Dovetail Template Master also. It works well for through dovetails. The only pitfalls I see with either set-up, and this goes for any non-adjustable jig, is that your project plans need to be planned around the jig if you want to get half-fingers on both ends of the dovetail joint. I made a drawing for a through dovetail comb for the woodsmith Dovetail Jig, but have yet to make it. (It's based off the Stots Jig)
 

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I know this is a old post, but if anyone is looking to make a dovetail jig forget it, unless you have a CNC machine to make the fixture, they must be dead on :)
Each slot for each dovetail must be true to .010 for the pin and the socket and then compound that by 10 or more slots, as you can see you can make of lot of firewood real quick without the right fixture.

Here's one way to beat the high cost of the fixture and you can use your plunge router or use it on your router table just like the high end dovetail jigs/fixtures.

To make blind dovetail joints or dovetails that go all the way :).
As you know the high end dovetail jigs that you can use on the router table can be very high in price.....
I got one that cost over 225.oo from sommerfeldtool.com and the one(s) below can do the same thing once you make the base block for it, so you can use it on your router table or for your plunge router.
It's almost the same as the Oak-Park dovetail jig but about 1/4 the price,and it's 15" or 16" long.... :)

See the PDF file (user guide how to make the block) But you can make one to fit your needs, plus you can make the small dovetails and the big ones with the fixture(s) below.
You can also use the brass guide or the router bits with the bearing on the bottom of them,both work well with this fixture :) and you get the bits free when you buy the jig frrom MLCS plus free shipping.

http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/dovetailjig.html

http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/graphics2/15dovetail.pdf

http://ca.oak-park.com/catalogue.html?list=RTS-LDS-&product=EZL0444

http://www.sommerfeldtools.com/products.asp?id=164

Just a NOTE and just one user review of the jig, Katie jig I got from sommerfeldtools it scratch, scrape, scored the Hell out of my router top base plate and the top :( :( :( I had to sand the jig down with 220 grit./320 grit. paper to remove all the sharp points on the Alum. parts of the fixture, but now it's to late, damage is done, a 20/20 hind site thing. :(
Like most woodworkers when I/we get new tools we just can wait to try them out and I did just that and looked down after a made a test box and saw the table top I was mad as Hell when I saw the damage the fixture did to the base plate and top, I almost called the Mfg. but I didn't because it was my error not checking on something someone else made. :).(details,details)

Hope this helps someone that wants to make a dovetail jig.

Bj :)
 

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I am having the same problem regards a through dovetail. Grateful for any assistance - particularly the use of a router table, if poss.

Thanks

Don
 

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Hi Don

May I show you how to make your own HIGH END dovetail jig for about 1/3 of the price or less ,,,,that you can buy it off the net..

This is a copy of the Katie Dovetail jig, one of the best on the market I think, it's like the Great Leigh jid because you can move the forks around to put in just about any pattern you want to use on your project(s) but it nwill not set you back 300.oo dollars for the Leigh type...
The through dovetails are the best I think,,,the blind dovetails are ok but it's hard to get the stock cut up just right without doing alot of math, the through dovetails are easy to cut the stock for the drawers/boxes if you want a 12" x 16" drawer that what you cut the stock for...you will see many only put blind dovetails in the front of the drawer ,that's alot like only tiing one shoe up...most use glue and nails on the back side of the drawer and the through dovetails can do the job so quick and it's alot stronger...if you don't want the dovetails to show in the front of the drawer a nice face plate works the best because the stock can be the same as all the other stock on the front side.. :)

It can be used on stock from 1/4" thick to 3/4" thick just by using the router bit,,,
I like the 7/16" fort the best because, it works well for just about all type of stock.
No brass guide needed to setup or put in place all the setup is done by the router bit with the bearing on it..
It can be used on the router table or clamped in the vise on the work bench..

The Katie jig sells from 120.00 to 300.oo dollars, the bigger the jig the more they cost..

The heart of the sysytem is the forks and the backbone of the system is the Alum.stock..

Lets start with the forks, you will need to buy one from Katie for the PATTERN but if you don't want to make the forks you can buy all of them from Katie But they are easy to make your own,, once you have one use some 1/2" thick stock ( wanut/maple/etc.) cut it to the right size then drill a hole in the blank for the 1/4" Allen flat head bolt,mark the stock then unbolt it and band saw some of the stock out then put the bolt back in place and use your tim bit to make the fork(s) the same thing is true for the spacers 1/2" x 1" x 3 1/2 see snapshot,,,
Then you need to get the backbone of the system ( ALUM>) the rest of the parts can be just some scrap /cut offs,, MDF stock ( 3/4" )

The links are all below where to get the Alum.stock at the right price I just got 4 of them ,that are 21" long for about 8.oo bucks each...it can also be used to make a High End fence for the router table, that cost about 200.oo off the net...

If you need any help just ask and I will lend you a hand,, but it's so easy to make and use you will love it like I do...

====

fork
https://s.topchoice.com/thampton/order.htm
$17.95 Dovetail guide/tuning fork (7/16 inch) KJ1-DVT0437A

$9.99 Aluminum spacer (1-1/4inch) KJ1-35050003

http://www.katiejig.com/

Bits
http://cgi.ebay.com/2-pc-Dovetail-Router-Bit-Set-For-Keller-Jig-1633-1642_W0QQitemZ140232814004QQihZ004QQcategoryZ50386QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262

The one I like is below
http://cgi.ebay.com/5pc-Top-Bearing-Dovetail-Router-Bit-Set-For-Keller-Jig_W0QQitemZ130223149045QQihZ003QQcategoryZ50386QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262

Alum.
http://stores.ebay.com/8020-Inc-Garage-Sale

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Here you go. I knew there was an artical here. This works fine, I have built a lot of projects using this method. Best Part is it is cheap and versitable. Let me know what you think.
http://www.thewoodshop.20m.com/graphics/half-blind_dovetail_jig.pdf
Late to the party, I know, but I built this exact jig from Woodsmith plans. It was necessary to buy the comb part, but everything else was shop-made.

I have to admit, I don't think it does as good a job as the ones you buy, but it works.
 

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Basically- Basic design for a finger joint jig (with an indexing system), could be used for doing dovetails. Just figured out the math for your index, based on the dedicated bit size you will use with it.
 

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I made the jig from Woodsmith over 25 years ago. I still use it today. It will hold the wood better than a lesser priced unit. Which is a big plus.

Al
 

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I made the jig from Woodsmith over 25 years ago. I still use it today. It will hold the wood better than a lesser priced unit. Which is a big plus.

Al
Well, I've dusted off mine after who knows how many years. It does work like a champ. My only real issue with it is that the comb is too flexible, and bends at the ends under the weight of the router. I would have felt much more comfortable with an aluminum plate.

Also, the 7/16 spacer has to be made with micrometer precision if you want the joints to match up properly. That was beyond my skills when I first made the jig. I might try re-making the spacers now.
 

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Flex?

Well, I've dusted off mine after who knows how many years. It does work like a champ. My only real issue with it is that the comb is too flexible, and bends at the ends under the weight of the router. I would have felt much more comfortable with an aluminum plate.

Also, the 7/16 spacer has to be made with micrometer precision if you want the joints to match up properly. That was beyond my skills when I first made the jig. I might try re-making the spacers now.
The "comb" on my jig sets on the wood so its flat and solid.

This jig is a great build for someone looking to learn a few things. I didn't find the comb to be difficult to make. I did it the same way some make finger joints.

This jig is over 25 years old. I used it last month.

Al
 

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