I have the Leigh dovetail jig and I practiced on some scrap and the joint
came out perfect the first time. I'm cutting 1/2" long tails and the
sockets on the pin board are 1/2" deep (I don't move the bit so that makes
sense). The only adjustment I could see that you can make on the template
is to move it forward or back which only changes the depth of the pin
sockets, not the width of the sockets (or tails).
My problem is when I went to put the tails in the sockets they were too wide
and ended up getting crushed (pine) instead of sliding in like the scrap
test piece did.
Another thing worth noting is that I changed the finger layout for the final
piece (it was wider) but did not change it between cutting the tails and the
Rob Cosman shows chamfering the hidden edge of the tails with a chisel. He
doesn't chamfer the whole distance of the tail, he leaves about 1/8" not
chamfered. This will minimize crushing the pins when assembling the
dovetails. I tried it on white pine and it worked really good!
I don't see why it wouldn't work on machine cut dovetails as well.
I have the Leigh jig as well.
That was it. Of course since I was cutting the final drawer pieces and
don't want to use different stock (I like the grain patterns) I got lots of
practice paring the tails with my chisel. Ended up being good practice. By
the time I got to the 2nd side I was WAY faster and more proficient (except
for the part when my brother-in-law called and I kept paring while on the
phone and stuck the chisel in my pinky -- at least it was sharp, it didn't
hurt, just bled everywhere -- DOH!).
In case you did not see the relies to you outer post here is my solution
Ok, with any jig that is this style, if your tails are being crushed during
assembly, you are cutting too deep. For looser fitting joints make a
shallower cut. Too loose, cut deeper.
The problem is that you are cutting too deep and this makes the slots too
narrow. If you raise the bit to cut shallower the slots will widen and the
tails will be narrower. When you get it just right always use this depth of
cut for "this" bit. If you buy another bit of the same size, start with
this depth setting and adjust from there.
And by the way... as you know now, you cannot reroute blind dove tails.
Once cut, that's it. Work on scraps until the fit is right.
Leon (and Toller),
Thanks for your reply (again -- for whatever reason my news server didn't
download any of the responses, weird). I'll definitely keep that in mind
for the future (guess my luck on the first try wasn't good luck since it
made me think I didn't need to do anything to get the fit correct). I'll
use the chisel for now since I've cut these on my final wood and I like the
drawer front pattern the wood presents and I don't want to start over.
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