12

When I first started woodworking I went out and got a router jig too. It seemed a lot easier than hand tools (of which I lacked good quality ones). Like you I was never really satisfied with machined results. More recently, with more time to pursue my hobby, I decided to bite the bullet and learn the traditional hand tool way. My first attempts were ...


10

What is the significance of the numbers? They represent ratios that determine a dovetails angle. So in the case of 1:6 - for every unit you move up you also move 6 units over. These ratios are not usually mixed or changed on a single project. A simple trick to getting perfect angles, and to illustrate my point, uses a bevel guage and square. The always ...


9

I'd say that 1/16'' tolerance, or 1.5mm respectively, is actually pretty bad. You should rather aim for 0.1mm tolerance, not 1.5mm. The final piece should have no visible gaps. How to do that? First of all, of course diligence, proper tools, proper technique, and practice (well, duh). But second, there's a few tricks you can apply, too. As a beginner, use ...


7

There are numerous good tips and suggested ways of approaching this already in the replies so I wasn't going to add another Answer but I found that what I wanted to add was too long for a Comment. How do experts make dovetails by hand that fit so well? Same way they do everything so well: practice, practice, practice :-) It sounds trite perhaps but that ...


6

The one advantage that seems to get people excited? Variable width / spacing. If you have a fixed width / spacing jig then you either have to design your projects based on the spacing, letting the tool determine the design, or you end up with a partial dovetail. That partial dovetail may or may not be ugly, especially if you can center it on the piece, but ...


6

My rule is to use it if it can be flattened with no more than moderate hand pressure. Dovetails in particular are forgiving, because the joinery forces pieces into contact along the entire joint line. The wood will continue to move over time anyway. Also, just by looking at the ring orientation, these pieces are going to bend that way. You'll want to be ...


5

The normal versions of this tool are simply marking aids (see page 34 of Charles Hawyard's How to Make Woodwork Tools here on Toolemera for the classic example of this type). They've always been user-made apparently. They're used simply by laying over the edge of the workpiece you'll be cutting your tails or pins on (either one can be cut first) and then ...


5

I have a pair of dovetail templates. They came with a pair of bits to do the cutting. These are some of the 'cheap' ones but still cost me enough. The first problem I had was they just sent the aluminum template. It was my job to mount them on wooded blocks (for clamping to the board) and adjust them so that they fit snugly (the pins and tails). This ...


5

He uses a special blade that has a 90˚ fold and a progressive teeth line. This blade is not well known outside Europe and then it's mostly known in Germany and Hungary. The name for the blade varies, try googling for "zinkensäge" or "zinkensägeblatt", there are close up images of this particular blade. Attached image is courtesy of a ...


5

A few points: 1) You can make a frame saw yourself from scratch or from a kit (https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/store/item/GT-BOWS.XX/Gramercy_Tools_Bow_Saw_Kits_and_Parts), buy one on ebay, etc. 2) The process in the video isn't as clean as you may think (see 2:25 of the quick dovetails video you linked to. If you zoom in you can clearly see the uneven ...


3

When fitting a joint it's clearly necessary to remove a little wood where the joint doesn't fit yet. But, best not to remove wood that doesn't need to be removed since (e.g.) this can make the joint fit more loosely than necessary. Yes this is very important with most glues used today. Some glues have good gap-filling properties but the three main ones in ...


3

I have tried several different router-dovetail jigs with varying levels of success. I have had the most success with the Keller Dovetail system. I was at a woodworking show a few years ago, and saw it being demonstrated by the inventor. I was pretty skeptical about it being better than the others I had tried, but he handed me the jig, took about 1 minute ...


2

Generally speaking, if you put a piece of scrap lumber on the outside of the piece you are cutting with the router before you put it in the jig clamp (I'm guessing it is a clamp system as I do not own such a jig) it will stop tear out due to slight variations in the router bit path due to controlling it by hand. What this does is instead of the tear out ...


2

I'm of the jig school. I love working with wood but just the thought of cutting dovetails by hand I find daunting enough I don't want to take the time to perfect. (I do admire those that do though!). I used to cut finger joints on my bandsaw and that was tedious enough. So I bought a simple jig to do dovetails. I do find dovetails to be so much more ...


2

Adding to what @ashlar said: Second both practice and watching how others do it. There are some tricks like using a slight rabbet to help hold the pieces in alignment while transferring marks, using a coping saw to make the root cut when doing this by hand, some hybrid techniques that use power tools for the rough cuts and then finish the work by hand.. ...


2

In addition to using scrap to support the wood during a cut, as Bert said, grain direction can affect tear out. In your photograph above, the cuts are being made on end grain, which greatly increases the odds of tear out, unless you can change the direction of the cut in some way to avoid pulling at the grain as you leave the cut. I don't have any ...


2

If it's just an aesthetic decision, it comes down to what you think looks better. For my money, pins are more visually interesting than tails, so I'd face the pins forward (meaning tails are cut into the front and back, pins are cut into the sides).


2

That joint looks strong enough to me. The bigger problem, though, is that you will have wood movement issues. The top will get bigger and smaller seasonally (in the front-to-back direction) while the board you're joining to it will not. This is because the grain in the top is running perpendicular to the other board. I would suggest redesigning this as a ...


2

I use the same saw and am quite satisfied with its performance. I might be wrong, but I don't think adding weight will help. While a chiseled line helps, I do not depend upon it to control the blade. I make the first few draws with only the weight of the saw to begin the track for the blade, cutting into an edge rather than across a face of the board. My ...


1

I would just cut this with a handheld router and an edge guide. Stand the board on end and clamp it to your workbench so that the edge is flush with the bench top or clamp a thicker board to it so that your router doesn't tip back and forth. As long as your edge guide has a microadjust it should be easy enough to dial in the fit. You might want to cut ...


1

Yes, this will have an effect on the strength of the joint. Since the "spine" (I like your name for it) is one piece of wood, with all of the grain running in the same direction, one of the sets of pins will be cut across the grain, instead of along the grain, making it pretty weak in that dimension. Also, if there's any looseness in the fit of the joints, ...


1

Considering the low loads and the dimensions you established there should not be any problem with making the dovetails extend 1/2 the depth of the shelf. A More Technical Discussion: My statement above is based solely on my subjective experience, so I tried finding some more factual engineering information for evaluating this type of condition in wood. If ...


1

for all things like this, it helps to have the right kind of lighting. A low raking light is useful for highlighting subtle differences in wood surfaces - like this burnishing or in preparing a surface for finishing. it can also help to rub some soft pencil lead on one of the mating faces. When you try to push the joint closed, the lead will come off on the ...


1

The obvious answer to this: It is tearing out as I bring the router back out of the jig. would be: "Well, don't do that then". Yeah, very funny, I know. But there is some truth in that. After reading the first three lines, I was going to suggest a climb cut, but then realized that you are already doing that (at first, I was assuming a climb-cut spiral ...


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