Dovetail Machine

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against hand tools or using them exclusively, but I do find the attitude it fosters in some people to be somewhat annoying. Offset the cauls from the dovetail joints and ciamp them (offsetting aliows the joint to ciose if it’s cut slightly deep, so the ends of the pins protruding beyond the outer surfaces of the tailboard don’t Interfere with the ciamp). And if you use a combination dovetail jig infrequently, you may have to relearn it every time you pull it off the shelf. The joint mechanically resists tension, meaning that the tailboard can’t pull away from the grooved board.

Care must be exercised whilst cutting away the core to ensure the chisel being held nearly perpendicular; if too much lead (or bevel) be given, a faulty and undercut dovetail will be the result. I use an upside-down V pointing toward the joint to mark the inside of the board, and I filled in the marking gauge lines with pencil to make them more apparent. I’ve seen people stand on top of their bench, climb ladders, even clamp the board to a second-story deck railing just to get the thing vertical so they can use a backsaw to cut the joint. This lavishly hand-carved cabinet from about 1890 shows structural dovetail joints on the back side.

As shown in the illustration above, a dovetail joint consists of two interlocking pieces — one cut with tails and one cut with pins. It can be fun and informative to try cutting some of the more elusive dovetail joints, such as single- and compound-angle joints or the so-called rising” dovetail. To keep the jig from sliding beyond the point where the saw blade passes through the exit blocks, clamp a stop block into both of the saw’s miter slots.

JointCAM gives you the freedom to design an infinite variety of dovetail joints, regardless of the bit being used. The tails and pins interlock, which in itself provides a flush and secure fitting, but are also bonded together using highly adhesive wood glue in order to make the dovetail joint extremely strong. Also make sure that you make chisel cuts from both sides of the piece, in such a way that you work towards the middle of the material, as Craig demonstrates. The dovetail joint is also commonly used to build handmade wood boxes or are a fundamental traditional joinery connection, because they are simple and incredibly strong.

I set my depth with a combination square so I laid the template on the router base and measured from that surface. When the pins on the drawer front have been sawn, the waste material is cut away, as at Fig. It is not uncommon for a frustrated woodworker to insist the joint they produced is too far off for a simple change of bit height to be the answer.

At first I thought the Keller was the poorman’s dovetail jig, but in reality, its super efficient and produces excellent functional dovetails with the absolute minimum of set up. I use mine in conjunction with the router table and its definately the get r done dovetail jig. Like a dovetail, the finger joint is visible after it’s assembled—a plus i f you like to show off your handiwor k (and what woodworker doesn’t?).

Thankfully I was able to glue in some strips of wood and re-chisel out the joint to the proper width. Once the pieces are cut to size, lay them out and label the bottom edge of each piece, as shown left. Learn three approaches to the fundamental dovetail joint in the Craftsy class Three Essential Dovetails , taught by expert woodworker Kyle Kwiatkowski.

Set the angle to the right or left, then cut all the pins on that particular side. To my eye the dovetail machines lack that hand made look which I find appealing. One tip for cutting sliding dovetails: The tapered sides of the dovetail slot tend to trap chips in the slot as you cut. Sounds fun, I would love to see it. Get your tools out then send me a photo of the finished joinery. You may not be able to afford a dovetails-only router in your shop, but realizing the importance of bit depth and the sensitivity to change, can help make setup faster.

Dovetail joints appear hard to make but in truth they are not that difficult to accomplish with a little practice. A quality furniture retailer will be keen to point out the dovetail joints, so if there is no mention of them they probably do not use them. I followed the jig manufacturers instructions step-by-step, including their recommendations for initial bit depth.

It may be difficult to learn how to get your bit height set correctly, which is where a router lift comes in handy – gaps in pins and tails are solely dependent on bit height and have nothing to do with the jig itself. The drawer front is laid flat on the bench after it has been sawn, and with a mallet and sharp chisel the corner of the dovetail is knocked off as shown. Learning to make this storied joint involves learning the anatomy of the dovetail, as well as how to design and lay out the joint for maximum beauty and strength.

This is truly an improvement over the template jigs because it allows you to get closer to the look of hand cut dovetails by forming narrower pins and wider tails, it allows you to vary the spacing, and it also allows you to work with any width of stock, up to the capacity of the jig. The router is removing very little material, so it’s easy work, and you can use a light touch. If you really want to challenge yourself, master woodworker Paul Sellers shows you how to cut dovetail joints by hand. As shown in the illustration at right, there are four basic types of dovetail joints: the through dovetail, the single-lap dovetail, the double-lap dovetail and the secret-miter dovetail.

The most important part when you’re learning of how to make dovetail joints is to ensure that you make good and accurate pins and sockets so you will have accurate fitting dovetail joints using a dovetail jig. No matter what jig you use or even if you cut them by hand, there’s no denying the cool factor” surrounding dovetails. A great insight into the skill and craftsmanship involved in building a timber frame would be trying to cut a dovetail joint. Personally I still prefer to make them with hand tools and do not use the machines even though they are very accurate and faster.

AKEDA Model DC16 Drawer Construction Jig (P/N 1600) has a 1” x 16” capacity, and AKEDA Model BC24 Blanket Chest Jig (P/N 2400) has a 1” x 24” capacity. It should be said again that when cutting the tails and pins be sure to cut slightly on the inside of the lines you mark and everything should fit nice and tight. Place the tailboard with the jig into a vise and clamp it firmly so the jig is not allowed to slip on the tailboard.

I personally cut them by hand (with a dovetail saw, $10 at Sears, and chisels) which is pretty quick for one-offs (no setup really required) and doesn’t require any special jigs. Cut just on the outside waste side of the lines, and down exactly to the depth marked. If the dovetail cuts do not permit a perfect fit, use a small chisel or sandpaper to remove debris or wood from the crevices. The text is somewhat vague so without good illustrations it’s difficult to set the jig up.

When the router has come to a complete stop remove the offset block and continue cutting the box joints on these pieces. 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. That is life in the shop – you have to pay attention, you have to block out those things from work or what ever and as you point out sometimes it is not easy and that is when we make mental mistakes that as in this case are not easily fixable!

To start the cutting, use a hand saw and cut your marked dovetail edges down to your shoulder line. If the jig fits sloppily, place a piece of masking tape on the tailboard side to take up the space. Some work with the block plane to flush it up, and hand sanding with my sanding block to smooth it out. Dovetails don’t need clamping but housings do, so make sure you have enough clamps ready to go. Once the joints fit correctly, repeat the operation for the other corners of the box, drawer or case.

Fortunately I was able to save the joint as I mentioned earlier by gluing in some strips of wood and re-chiseling the joint until I got the neck seated so that the top of the neck was flush with the top of the sound board. Move the bar to the other miter slot and cut in the second slot, then flip the sled around and cut in both registration slots on the tail fence side. As a result, I rabbit the edge off the bottom of the ½ ply to make the thickness approx. Step 8: Finishing begins by sanding the drawer boxes to achieve perfectly smooth joints over the dovetails.

If you want perfect dovetail joints every time from the first piece of wood then your only other alternative is a CNC machine or a high production 3 thousand dollar dovetail machine, and with a machine, the joints will look like they came from a machine, instead of hand crafted. I am a novice woodworker and couldn’t seem to master the traditional dovetail template.

Impossible dovetail joint puzzle is a rectangular block, composed of two different pieces, which are so fitted together that each side of the lower part appears to be dovetailed into the corresponding side of the upper part. On a dovetail jig, the bit is below the base, the jigs fingers, and is housed by a guide bushing. To form the through dovetail pins, you also need one315” x 1” long straight bit (P/N 3880). NCiamp the board in a vise and use a dovetaii saw to make the cuts down to the scribed iine.