Something got into me a couple of weeks ago and I decided for no particular reason to try to make some hand-cut dovetail joints. So as long as you continue to check the position of all components and are not expecting a jig in prefect condition this should get the job done. But, when routing the opposite edge, the one farthest away, you’d advance the router from right to left. If that’s the case, build a solid bench extension to raise the jig to the height you need and a set of plywood steps to stand on. Never try routing from a ladder; it’s too unstable for safety’s sake. In addition to that, they failed to secure the stop bar – my router moved the damned stop rendering it useless.
I will say this you would be hard pushed to buy the metal used to make this jig for the sale price. A dovetail template is essentially a vise that’s equipped with adjustable metal fingers. From my experience, if every piece I build has to conform to my own taste and my own likes and dislikes, I would never make any money. Yes, a person can build their own log dovetailing jig or matched pair out of quite a selection of materials, but wood seems to be the logical choice for someone who is already into woodworking and can appreciate that craft.
A temporary piece of wood is planed to a true mitre and placed underneath the dovetailed piece to form a template. Titles in this collection: Getting the Most Out of Your Router Table, Rout Perfect-Fit Dadoes, Template Routing, Make Rounded Corners With Your Router, Precision Cuts with Basic Tools, and How to Use a Dovetail Jig. After I figure out if I can ever master my Woodrat, I might think about a Leigh jig.
Now move the fence away from the blade and remove more material from the template until you have three teeth on the template, each 1/4″ wide as shown in the photo. This is true for all half blind dovetail jigs, whether the router table type or the hand held router type and no matter how much money you spend – even the most expensive jigs have a learning curve.
This will give the true shape of the two dovetails and it is to this shape that you will cut your joint. The jig remained untouched after the initial setup, but yet I made a significant change in the resulting joints. When routing, protect your jig by holding the router flat on the jig’s fingers until it has come to a complete stop. Fit the dovetail cutter into the router collet making sure that no more than a quarter of the shank length protrudes. Three-inch tall dovetail drawers make ideal roll out shelves for use in kitchen cabinets.
Cutting dovetails using this jig is much like cutting them by hand using the pins-first method, except 1) you use the bandsaw instead of a hand saw to cut the pins and tails, 2) the layout of the joint is much simpler, and 3) if you’re doing multiple joints, you only have to do the layout once. Most folks use half dovetails on log homes, but the jig which Charlie sells is a full dovetail, so it can be used on both inside and outside corners.
The joint will go together in a somewhat diagonal direction as it is pushed into position from the back; when closed it will appear as at Fig. While you’re ripping out your drawer parts, rip an extra piece of 5/16″-thick stock for the template. Project the four points of your dovetail downwards into the end view, and where these lines cut A, B, and D, C draw them downwards and rebate them into your original plan. With a router and a dovetail jig you can cut a perfect-fitting joint in seconds. As far as the jig goes it is very cheaply made and the knobs actually grind against each other because of the spacing.
To get full through dovetails, you’ll need either another – much more expensive – dovetail jig (and two router bits to use it) or a dovetail saw and a couple of narrow chisels. You should also make sure that the fences and brackets are not as high as the thinnest material you plan to cut is thick. Here, I’ll discuss the layout and features of six dovetail jig designs to reveal the scope and value of each.
The only problem I see with the either of the table saw jigs is the difficulty of balancing the workpiece on its end vertically, especially if it’s very long and/or skinny. As you will read in the instructions you should practice using this jig several times before trying to dovetail an actual project piece however the cheapness of this product makes it difficult to get reproduceable results.
Figure 9: Use your pin board and a square to mark the placement and depth at which you will cut your dovetail tails. I found the manual a little confusing where it described how to mark the various drawer sides and how they should be located in the jig. Be certain that you’re holding the router flat against the template so the bushings are touching the template. Care should be taken not to cut the dado so deep that the lobes of the dovetail are cut, as this will show in the finished product. In most cases, you will have to adjust this specification to obtain good dovetail joints.
Butt the tail fence (piece 5) up to the inside of the ramps and fasten it in place, using three more triangular braces to keep it perpendicular to the base, as shown in Figure 3. Set the jig aside to let the glued parts dry overnight. Separate adjustments for upper stock thickness and guide template elevation, offers noticeably improved rigidity for improved, repeatable precision. Make an auxiliary table that is wide enough to accommodate the width of your stock out of some shop grade plywood or MDF, and clamp it to your band saw.