Magnetic dovetail cutting guides - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-20-2016, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Default Magnetic dovetail cutting guides

Colleagues: on another board there was a thread about magnetic dovetail guides for hand cutting dovetails. ‘Sorta’ caught my curiosity ‘bout the gizmos.

Mentioned in the thread were guides from Highland Hardware and Lee Valley:

David Barron Magnetic Dovetail Saw Guide
Veritas® Dovetail Saw Guide System - Lee Valley Tools

Of course, the videos make it look easy to cut dovetails with one of these.

Has anyone here cut dovetails with one and how did it work out?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-20-2016, 11:42 PM
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-20-2016, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Stick, that’s at least two us.

Interesting concept if it works. I can see it being especially handy for small projects or one-of when a dovetail jig would take too much time to set up, do test cuts, etc.

In the past, several times I tried to hand cut dovetails, the results were way less than satisfactory. In my case, I think the back of the wheelchair interferes with the line up and swing of the saw.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 12:06 AM
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I like the looks of that for hand cut dovetails. I'd like to try that out before popping for fifty bucks. I imagine this is a very low volume tool and very expensive to have made, so the price isn't bad, if it does the job. I love watching guys who can do hand cut dovetails as if they were nothing.

The more I do, the less I accomplish.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 02:17 AM
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You could always make your own

Make a magnetic dovetail guide

When everything around you is going to pot, get out in the workshop.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Vindaloo: thanks for the link!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 06:31 PM
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Thanks Angie.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 12:19 PM
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I tried a shop made one a couple times. It honestly got in the way more than it helped. For learning to hand cut dovetails, your best bet is to practice, and make lots of book-ends. You will be surprised at how quick you get used to holding the saw at the correct angle to follow your layout lines.

Lets assume you are cutting Tails first. (Though this works if cutting pins first as well) The real secret to cutting hand-cut dovetails isn't being real precise on the initial cuts of the tails. The most important thing is to not go too far down (which these guides won't prevent anyway). When transferring the cut lines from the tail board to the pin board, use pencil. When cutting the pins, make sure you leave the pencil line, even if you are off, make sure you are off in a way that leaves the pencil lines. Once you have cleared out the waste material, you can use chisels to fine tune the cut, down to the pencil line. As long as the pencil line is there, you will have a good fit.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 01:12 PM
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I have used the Lee Valley one and I made up some home made ones to show my students that they did not need to spend the money. I also let them know that just like sharpening guide you really don't need it.

Regards Bob
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 05:01 PM
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I don't know. Maybe guides give some folks more confidence. (There is also another, cheaper guide by "Katz Moses"). Anyway, as mentioned above, my real problem with hand cut dovetails, was not the angled cut, as much as waste removal and cutting the bottom line. I rarely got a nice, leveled line for all the tails. And of course, no guide helps with that.
Another difficulty I encountered, was making accurate markings with the pencil. The saw-blade kerf, as well as pencil width, were my obstacles when cutting nice looking dovetails.
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