I've added 'Box' to the pitch dropdown selector in my dovetail template
generator, so it just draws evenly spaced square tails~fingers. Is this
correct or do I need to change it?
Thanks for any feedback.
You'll want to qualify that after some second thought. The modest
mechanical - in one direction - advantage provided by one full and two half
pins in a six-inch wide 1/2" board provides much less glue area than even a
1/2" box joint, while looking pretty handsome. Go to 1/4" and it's likely
the box joint beats a continuous dovetail made with the standard 1/2" bit.
Fortunately, both look good enough and hold well enough if used properly,
though the box joint is a bit easier to make.
You really need a jig to do either and IMHO, the tablesaw jig is easier
to make yourself than a router jig. It's also a good bit quicker to use
- if I'm making boxes, I'm making _lots_ of boxes.
It's worth having a suitable narrow dado blade (Freud? do one especially
for finger joints) so you have one-pass cutting.
Router easier and less fiddly than a saw. Cleaner looking, too, if your
dado blade overcuts the outside. Both jigs operate on the same principle,
just that with the one you tap the jig relative to the router, with the
other, you can either adjust the finger or move the whole apparatus and
I don't know anything much easier than making a plow cut in a board and
putting in a rib, so I'll say Andy must really have something different for
I've said before that I don't like that simple jig design. Each finger
is guided from the adjacent finger, so errors add up as you go across
the board. It's better IMHO to have a datum bar with multiple guide
slots on it, then cut each finger as one measurement from a different
point on this accurate datum.
I also prefer the saw because I can cut fingers into a bare board. With
a router I have to use a backer board, or else I get splintering on the
edges. That's a simpler, thus quicker, thing to clamp up.
Ah yes, I remember the error of your conception. I suppose you don't like
the standard miter jig type used on the tablesaw for the same reason, which
is to say you don't understand the principles involved.
Sure hope your datum bars don't get sawdust in between 'em or get bent. As
to pushing through with fingers rather than wooden block "backer board," the
second seems a whale of a lot safer, though the use of a spiral bit makes it
Absolutely correct, which is clear to anyone who understands basic
principles of measuring and machining. But how do you do that
on a table saw?
However, for relatively short joints, like a typical drawer,
the practice of indexing off the last finger cut works quite well.
1) The fingers to which Mr Dingley refers are part of the joint, not
part of his hand.
2) A sprial bit can do plenty of damage to a persons fingers, so
even if he was refering to the fingers on his hand, use of a
spiral bit doesn't eliminate the need for a push block.
3) Your remarks about the standard miter jig type used on the tablesaw
are particularly starnge since:
a) No table saw uses a cutter that bears any resemblence to a
cutting router bit.
b) A miter jig typically is used to cut accross the grain whereas
joints are typically cut with the grain.
c) Mr Dingley makes it clear that he prefers the saw because it is
prone to splitting.
I'd say that in regards to understanding principles, or plain English,
Dingley has you at a serious disadvantage.
However, you are quite correct that the use of multiple indices
provides multiple opportunites for failure.
HORSEHOCKY! If you want "accumulating errors, you're talking "datum bars."
You have to control the temperature if metal, humidity if cellulose. Think
Lessee, twenty bars, twenty times the error, take away one is nineteen - get
Then you need remedial English. The fingers _I_ referred to were on the
hand which was now safely behind the push block.
Remedial English. Spiral bit for tearout - or lack of it. Try it.
WTF? Are you on drugs, or are you so ignorant of the standard box joint jig
which is mounted to the miter gage, where the width of each remainder is
determined by the distance between the previous gap and the reference bar.
Do you plan on doing one board and then waiting until after
there is a big temperature or humidity change to do the mating
board? If not, the joint will be fine.
Yes, it is clear that when you wrote "As to pushing thorugh with
fingers" you were refering to fingers on the hand, despite the fact
that "As to" implies that you were refering to the same fingers
as Mr DIngley.
What is the antecedent of 'it' in "though the use of a spiral bit makes
That is a box joint jig, not a miter jig. A box joint jig is for
box joints. A miter jig is for cutting miters. That is the way
works. Pretty simple, eh?
Dovetails are used because they don't fall apart after the glue has
failed. For long-use furniture with traditional glues, then this is a
serious advantage. With modern glues and likely lifetimes, there's a
good argument that the better mechanical strength of the plain finger
joint (no narrowed tail) is better.
I hand cut all my dovetails, because if I'm bothering to do dovetails at
all, I'm doing the best I can. For "cooking" work that I'm cutting by
machine, I use finger joints.
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