Dovetails: getting started.

I'd like to start doing dovetail joints, but don't have a jig, and I don't have the knack (or time) to hand cut. I have 2 routers, a PC 3HP, and a 15yr old Craftsman 3/4hp (1/4 shaft). What is a good kit that contains "everything" (including the bits I'll need). 10" max or around there is fine, and this is not for production, just hobby/garage time things. If there is no kit that has everything, could someone pick an example kit and explain what else I need.
I've seen kits in stores, but it doesn't list what else you need to do it, nor do they sell "dovetail bits". (Osh).
Thanks in advance for any time you spend explaining this. (I've done some web seaches, but haven't found the complete reference yet...)
C
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Kellerman Journeyman inckudes bits for through DTs. Snap to setup and use. Only requires clamps and vise and method of cleanup. Ten minutes setup for guide for clamping and away you go!
On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 16:49:47 GMT, "C Wood"

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I have a Porter Cable model 4112. It does stock up to 12" wide, comes with guide bushing and bit. Does a good job and everything you need comes with it (though the bit is HSS. Cuts well but won't last as long as carbide).

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: I have a Porter Cable model 4112. It does stock up to 12" wide, comes with : guide bushing and bit. Does a good job and everything you need comes with it : (though the bit is HSS. Cuts well but won't last as long as carbide).
Thanks, I just bought that model, and got the extra carbide tip. I'll let ya know how it goes this evening.
When I asked someone about it in the store, they knew nothing about it. They just sell stuff... Go figure.
Only snag is if that bit will (guide) will fit my router, if not I'll get another just for that.
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If the template guide does not fit, do a Google search on Pat Warner. He makes sub bases for most any router that will take PC sandart template guides. The jig works great but take your time setting it up. It has to be right.

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Never hurts to have another router. That is, of course, the best solution but if at some time you do need a base for something odd, talk to Pat. He either has it or will make it, though it may not be listed on his site.

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: Never hurts to have another router. That is, of course, the best solution : but if at some time you do need a base for something odd, talk to Pat. He : either has it or will make it, though it may not be listed on his site.
Of course, an unbudgeted tool is going to cost 20 days of no beer. That's the only consequence.
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C Wood wrote:

Do you have a "woodworking" store locally? If so, they should be able to point out everything you need...even if it doesn't come all in one box. You're better off with a carbide bit, anyway. The bits in those kits are frequently HSS :(
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You'll need an insert for your router that fastens to your router plate, straight-cut and dovetail bits. There are different sizes depending on the kind of joints you want. "Leigh" is the Cadillac of dovetail templates and the one to get. I'd avoid anything less. The Leigh directions will explain this and you will need to spend the time to learn this jig and spend some time setting it up properly.
Still, the most versatility is with handcut dovetails and a quality dovetail saw. I've cut perfect angled and decorative dovetails after just 30 hours of practice. You really should consider gaining this basic skill.
On Mon, 25 Aug 2003 16:49:47 GMT, "C Wood"

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Greetings:

I'd just like to express my agreement with this statement. Given the right tools, hand cut dovetails are easy to learn. I've seen dovetails for a drawer cut in a couple of minutes. I sure can't do it that fast (but I'm a putterer in the shop), but it's something I'm working toward.
You do need a good workbench, well-squared workpieces, a sharp chisel, and a well-tuned hand plane.
Mark
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The problem is that hand cutting seems to be a perishable skill. I took the time to learn and then didn't do it for awhile - took along time to get it even close. I'm sticking with a jig. To me, it's like an ax and a chainsaw, I feel confident that the pioneers would have used a Homelight if they had one.
Don
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V.E. Dorn wrote:

BUT For the same price of that jig that will only do one thing, I can buy the tools I need to handcut DT and they will do many other things.
Kevin
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You say that like it's a *bad* thing. Handtool skills are acquired and honed (no pun intended) through practice. Rather than simply firing up a machine and having it do the work for you, you actually develop the motor skills that go into sawing, chopping, planing, etc.
Personally, I think that is something any woodworker would be well-served to learn. And I expect that my hobbies will require some effort on my part to achieve a certain level of proficiency. Whether it's woodworking, playing a musical instrument or flyfishing, *all* of the above involve "perishable" skills.

No doubt they would have for survival purposes or to put a roof over their heads. However, I expect there would still be some craftsmen who would recognize the unique nature of a handcut dovetail, and would choose to carry on that tradition.
So I guess it comes down to what you expect from your hobby. If you simply want to get something that holds together, machine-cut are certainly as good. If you think of woodworking as being about the process, then handcut would be the way to go.
And I firmly believe that *every* woodworker would be well-served to acquire some basic handtool skills. If nothing else, when the power goes out you can keep working by candlelight. :-)
Chuck Vance
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