Dovetail jig -- why?

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Phisherman wrote:

With my D4, it literally takes 5 minutes to set it up to cut half blind, or through dovetails. Takes much longer to mill the wood than to cut the dovetails.
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They buy them, doesn't mean they use them! I don't think there are actually that many cut in total, by any means.
IMHO:
People buy too many tools.
People buy the wrong tools, the tools they're _sold_, not the tools they actually need.
Dovetails are "scary". You can't cut them without an expensive jig (sic). You can't cut them without a router, which of course implies a jig.
Hand cut dovetails "take too long". They're also "too hard".
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Alex, I hear ya. I am a firm believer that hand cut dovetails are the mark of a true craftsman. However, I do have a jig that is used solely for production work. After learning to cut them by hand, I consider it a sin (almost as bad as staining cherry) to use the jig for a couple of drawers. Hand cutting takes a little patience and small learning curve, but for a couple of drawers I now can hand cut DT's maybe faster than the time it takes me to set up a router and jig. Furthermore, if the hand cut dovetail has some small imperfections (ones you have to look closely to see) I think it gives the piece some "personality" as opposed to a dovetail that looks like a drone working a machine made it. I take much more pride in my work because my dovetails are hand cut. In fact, when I look at a piece of fine furniture anymore, seeing machine cut dovetails kinda ruins things for me. Just my $.02 --dave
wrote:

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I agree with you both.
BUT My intent here was not to start a religious war. It was to better understand why some folks spend so much money on something I think I would find of marginal value. And this discussion has pointed out an interest in productivity that I had mistakenly assumed was important only to those working for remuneration rather than fun.
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Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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Andy's post touched a nerve, but not in a bad way. LOML & I were discussing tool use (and storage needs) this evening, and she, delicately I thought, brought up a rather expensive tool purchase I (we) made several years ago. It's a tool that I bought, with stars in my eyes, dreaming of all the wonderful things I would build.
She said she wondered at the time, if it was a good choice, but was supportive, because of my enthusiasm, and because of the creative possibilities I saw. And I asked why she hadn't objected, because I, since then, have regretted spending that amount of money on such a tool.
She said something of great insight: "I would not have limited your hope for anything. We could and have afforded the money." And I have become a much better, and better equipped, artisan. By no means perfect.
Marketers know quite well that we reach for the stars, in small steps.
She said something else, too. She said to give the Shopsmith to one of our sons, but not to sell it, or give it away elsewhere.
It is, for now, a reminder of lessons I'm learning.
There is another reminder in my office: A Titleist 990 1-iron. A reminder that you cannot buy a game, and that Lee Trevino was right.
Patriarch
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She sure sounds like a keeper to me. Good for her.
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32 years last month. We think it's going to last. ;-)
Patriarch
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On Thu, 26 May 2005 02:48:33 -0500, Patriarch

Shopsmith ? Take up making post and rail chairs. Nothing like a Shopsmith for doing the awkward boring, and it's enough of a lathe to turn them too.
My biggest white elephant is the Incra fence on my router table. Can't cut a dovetail on a wide board, too slow at dovetailing compared to a finger jig for production work, and too floppy to replace my home-made MDF box as a general fence.
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"Patriarch" wrote in message

Great driveby ... you suck!
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www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 5/14/05
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On the equipment I've acquired over the last 5 years, I've had very few clunkers.
And my wife has been very supportive. Every function of the Shopsmith, except for the disk sander, has been replaced with reasonable to professional quality equipment, as my skills and projects required. Seldom has she had a complaint. And we've been fortunate enough to have the funds.
And for the driveby: I'd been grousing about the limitations of the Shopsmith as a lathe, last winter. She asked what a 'good one' would cost, and I threw a OneWay number in the air in frustration, saying that we couldn't afford one of those. But a Jet 1442 became available at an excellent price, and quietly found a place in a corner of the shop. The quality of what I turn improved by an order of magnitude. She came in the shop Saturday, and recognized the new machine. "What did you have to pay for that?" She was quite relieved that I'd spent only $800 without discussing things with her, rather than $4000 plus.
There are more than a few bowls-to-be, waiting in the wood pile, but today's project is a bathroom vanity & drawers. And tonight, I need to design a closet system.
BTW, Swing, I really enjoyed your taking the time to post the progress pics on your latest kitchen. Thanks!
Patriarch
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wrote:

This got me to thinking.. hypothetically, what if there were a machine that would do dovetails such that there were slight variations in the tail angle in addition to the variable spacing already possible, maybe such that you could even set how much variation you wanted. Would this give them a "soul", as it was put earlier? I know it wouldn't be the same feeling having been the one making it, but how would anyone looking at it when it was done know the difference?
I'm doing a blanket chest right now and I wanted to dovetail the corners, and my skill level doing them really isn't up to it but I went for it. Nowhere near perfect, but they're mine. I wonder 10 years down the road when I look at it whether I'll still be proud of em or go "Gah, how'd I ever let *that* out of the shop"
-Leuf
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snip

For some it's the destination
For some it's the journey
And some never leave home
Stuff I make are postcards, reminders of stops along the way
The quiet sound of a pull saw cutting at 2 AM
The pleasing swoosh while planing,
The smell released by a sharp edge.
The satisfying click of a joint closing just so.
The Ahhhhh! as a finish pops the grain
The lingering image of the piece just after I turn off the light.
The surprise of I made that?!
Fun stuff this woodworking
charlie b
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<snip>

You mean like a bandsaw? Well-tuned, right blade, works fine, according to folks with impeccable pro/artist credentials... Enough variation to suit you, I would think.
The notion of 'soul' really relates to the connection between artist/craftsperson and the work. How that connection occurs, and what form it takes, is personal. A screaming router does tend to interfere with the karma. ;-)
It doesn't mean I won't use the right tool for the job at hand. Or take it as an excuse to buy something I think I want.
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I don't quite understand the question. You seem to be asking why I would buy a jig rather than use a saw I probably already have to cut the dovetails by hand.
If I cut the dovetails by hand how do I justify buying the jig to SWMBO?
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LOL!
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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Alexy:
since your e-mail address doesn't look quite kosher I guess I'll have to ask you here.
I'l like to include your "1/2" stock taped to the end of a part to be dovetailed (pins specifically) on a bandsaw" trick with my dovetail web page stuff. Before I do that I'd like your permission to do so AND send you an illustration (gif file) that I think illustrates the idea to confirm that what I think you described and what I got are the same thing.
Sam Maloof uses this idea when he's horizontally boring dowel holes in his chair seat parts. As is often the case, there's usually a simple method and a complicated method of solving most problems. In general, simpler is better.
Bandsaw tables are built to allow tilting - but only in one directection. Why don't the bandsaw manufactures provide both plus and minus tilting capability?
Anyway - thanks for the simple solution.
charlie b
my e-mail address is the real one.
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Just curious--did you try it, per instructions in sig line? That should work, but I haven't tested it. If you tried, it doesn't work. :-(

Well, my attorney said that if I would pay $3,000 up front, he would do a patent search on "1/2-inch stick and double sided tape" to see if I could make my fortune off of this. But what the heck, I guess I will release it to the public domain. <g>
Send what you've got, and I'll email you some photos.

Look at the geometry. Center of pivot is on the outside edge of the wheel. There is room for the left side of the table to tilt up, since their needs to be space between the upper wheel and the table. But you want the table close to the bottom wheel, bottom guides, etc., so no room for left side to tilt down.

That's part of the fun of woodworking for me.
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On 26 May 2005 11:25:27 -0700, the inscrutable "Phillip Hallam-Baker"

You don't buy the jig. You buy the nice new Japanese style saw and some brand new chisels instead. ;)
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REMEMBER: First you pillage, then you burn.
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Come to think of it, the last time I did hand cut dove tails, I cheated. I made two sleds for my table saw. They were angled at 7 degrees, one for the right side, and one for the left side of the pins. Now all I need is a saw blade with the teeth angles at 7 degrees to cut the tails. I actually saw one that someone had made in Fine Woodworking. robo hippy
Larry Jaques wrote:

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