Quest about Dovetails and Cutter Angles


Scanning over the Leigh D1600 manuals online - and I'm not quite getting what Chapter 14 is trying to tell me about the relationship between cutter angles (8 degree, 12 degree, etc.) and depth of cut. (http://www.leighjigs.com/data/D1600-Ch14.pdf )
The simple question I have is: does the stock thickness dictate cutter angle?
In other words, if I'm doing HB dovetails on 1/2" thick drawer stock, do I grab the 12 degree cutter? And if I'm doing HB dovetails on 3/4" thick stock do I grab the 8 degree cutter?
I think the answer is "no", but I'm looking for confirmation. Thanks...
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HB dovetails on 1/2" drawer stock would require the 18 degree cutter. You can't use the 12 degree on 1/2" stock because the depth of cut is 1/2", the same as the thickness of the wood. In such a case, the cutter would go all the way through, and your dovetails would no longer be half-blind. You'll want to use a cutter whose depth is at least 1/8" less than the thickness of you stock. On 3/4" stock, you'd use a cutter with a depth of 5/8" or less, so you could use anything in the 10 to 18 degree range.
For this reason, the 18 degree cutter is the most versatile, since it can be used with pretty much any thickness (as long as it's more than 1/2"). If you have thick stock, you can use the shallow high-angle cutters, but the low-angle deeper cutters will give you stronger and larger dovetails. Plus, dovetails are often used as much for their looks as for their strength. Larger dovetails are easier to show off.
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I suppose their jig arrangement comes with cutters all that matters as I see it is the cutter face depth is at least the same or more than the drawer front thickness
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I thought angle choice was determined by the type of wood you are joining - at least that's the way I was taught for hand cut dovetails.
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

Hand cut are a completely different story, Bob. That's why you do them that way.
The very best jigs out there are limited as to what they can do, because of the geometry of the templates, the guide systems and the thickness of the router bits.
There is room for both kinds in this world, but be aware of strongly held and expressed opinions.
Patriarch, firmly in both camps. ;-)
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