Has anyone done flush offset half blind dovetails? In finishing my
Stickley chest of drawers, the only major difference in its design I
found when comparing it to the one in the store was the store model
used flush offset half blind dovetails (sides about 1/16 in from the
width of the drawer front). What procedure do you use? Do you cut
the dovetails 1/16" further in on the sides and plane or dado an
offset after it is assembled?
I have one of those blue half blind dovetail jigs, heavily modified to
get rid of the potential shift that each of the clamps tends to do if
not registered properly. It now works very well and you don't feel
like you could use 4 hands to clamp the parts.
Don't know about them blue jigs. On my d-4 I cut the rabbets first, then cut
the blind tails flush with the depth of the rabbet, then follow with cutting
the pins. Seems like that order would work for most any guide system.
I have the D4 also but I do not cut the rabbets first. Simply clamp the
drawer front past the normal location the amount of the desired offset.
The bit will do all the work. IIRC the manual indicates to do it this way.
I just got a blue jig and downloaded a proper and readable manual for it.
Haven't used it yet but noted the awkward wrench adjustments and potential
for clamps shifting. Would you care to share the details of your
modifications ? Any chance of some pictures on ABPW ?
I am afraid that the D4 directions will do me no good. Since the
drawer parts are turned "inside out" to route them on the blue
monster, the full edge of the drawer front is against the drawer side.
I can push the top bar back to allow the router to cut deeper into
the edge of the drawer front. I think it would be better. Then I
would rabbit the edge of the front once the drawer is together.
However, I would like someone with experience to provide me with his
The method I use to keep the two clamped bars from shifting is to
mount a pair of machined rods (read 1/4" shoulder screws with the head
cut off) to the jig at each end of the clamp and drill a hole in the
clamp the size of the rod. You have to be carful to align the rod
mounting hole and hole in the jig so the rod slides smoothly in the
clamp hole. You also have to make sure the rod is not in the way of
the wood or knobs. It really works well and allows you to keep your
mind on aligning the wood instead of all the jig pieces also. I can
take a picture and email it to you. I have never been able to use the
The cut-off shoulder screw part is clear. However, a picture of the
locations you found workable would indeed be helpful. Incidentally, it
might be good to ensure that we are both talking about the same jig. Mine
is a Harbor Freight model
Other suppliers also import and market this jig. As suggested by previous
rec.woodworking posts, I had downloaded a decent manual from
If you email pictures to me, file size is not a problem, I have cable
broadband; but be sure to remove the 'DOT' spam blocker from my email
address. You might consider doing something similar to your email address
to foil the spam merchants. If you use MS Outlook Express, edit your return
email address in 'Tools - Accounts - News - Properties - E-mail address'.
Thank you very much for the photos. They prompted me to discover slop in
the HF fixture that I might not have noticed until much later (still
building my basement hobby shop).
The overall weight of the fixture creates the illusion of precision that
isn't quite there. The basic problem seems to be the classic but pervasive
poor design practice of using threads as locating surfaces, as in the case
of the fixture's work clamps and dovetail template brackets. This is
particularly unfortunate where the material containing the mating holes is
thin relative to the pitch of the threads, hole clearances are sloppy, and
male/female thread fits are sloppy.
Be advised that there are inconspicuous design differences between my HF
fixture and your fixture -- thinner, shorter knobs, absence of stiffening
lip/foot on forward flange, etc. Looks like the 'value engineers' have been
at work, reducing manufacturing cost at the expense of functionality, while
maintaining the outward, store-shelf appearance of good functionality. I
have noticed this in comparing other HF products with the seemingly
identical item marketed by competing importers -- not just manufacturing
quality differences but actual design shortcuts that do reduce
functionality. Price, admittedly, usually seems to reflect this. I rarely
buy anything from HF unless it is at a significantly reduced sale price and
I am confident of my ability to 'make it work', as you have.
All this said, I haven't yet actually used the fixture to fully appreciate
the practical significance (or lack thereof) of it's sloppiness.
Freight model >is identical to my Woodstock International.
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