Unless you are using larger diameter bits you can run your router at full speed with soft wood. By larger I am talking over 1-1/2" diameter. There is a bit speed chart listed in the forums, you can find it by using the search box. This chart will be posted in the new reference section coming in January.
When doing dovetails crank up the router to it's highest speed and plunge away.
Just don't stay in the pocket to long, it may burn the wood ,just in, do a nice clean cut and then get out and do the next one and so on.
It will take you a bit to get the hang of it but use some scrap wood at 1st.
The jig will do all the work for you, you just need to control the router and keep it flat on the jig..
Just a note on burn marks,,,it seals the wood so to speak ,so the glue will have a hard time holding on to burn spots,but that's what's neat about the dovetail joint you almost don't need glue to get it to hold,just a little dab will do you.
I want to thank you all for the input I am growing in this short time . I seem to be missing a bearing of some sort on top of my 1/2 dove tail bit . Would this be true? The bit I am using has only the shaft.
Most dovetail bits don't have a bearing on them the norm but some do.
Most need a guide (steel or brass ) that sides into the fixture (blind dovetail jig)
I don't recall seeing any ovetails bits with a bearing on the top of the cutter.
May I ask what the make and model number of the dovetail jig you are using. ?
I should note if you don't have a guide for your setup DON"T run the bit in to the fixture it will be junk with one pass.
The jig I am using is a (harbor freight tool) 12'' dove tail joint fixture model 34102. I built a box and it came out ok. I need to practice more, but it was my first. I need to learn more about stains, varnish and so on....
That's great, out of all the things you can make with the router the dovetail box is the most fulfilling and the most fun
I'm sure you will make may more, you can take just about any wood and turn it into something great with a bit of stain and varnish..and the great look of the dovetail joints.
Post a picture or two and share with the other members ,we all like to look at what other members have made .
A picture is worth a 1000 words on the Net.
Jesse, only a couple of specialty jigs use dovetail bits with bearings on them, most don't. The HF jig is a Rockler clone and a good deal for the money. The easiest way to learn the in's and out's of finishing is to sit down with one of the free finishing guides from Minwax. There are lots of other brands with quality products to choose from, but the principles are pretty much the same. Sand your project from medium to extra fine in stages for the best results. Clean off any dust with a damp lint free cotton cloth and let dry. Follow product directions to the letter. When ever possible use a piece of scrap wood to practice your finishing skills on before applying anything to your project. This will show you how many coats of stain and how long to leave it on for the finish you want. Don't be afraid to try different products and methods. Don't try and rush the drying process and you will be happy with your results.
When I was looking for a dovetail jig. I had looked at the HF jig and if I remember right it does not come with the template guide. As Bj said it is needed and not safe to use without it. As the spinning shank of the bit wil tear up the dovetail template.
As far as staining, I usualy use minwax products. Because they are so readily availble at several stores, even wal-mart. Find the color you like and read the can. It will tell you what to use first and what to use next. I've asked finishing questions on this site before and then realized its all on the can. You should find that each project from construction to finish, will be a little better than the last.
Rusty thank you for your advise on the jig . You are right it felt a little strange.(not safe. I am going to look for a template at a local wood shop store. I also use the miniwax products and I am learning what works and what does not work. thanks ....this is good.
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