Hi all. I am about to a bunch of drawers and want to dovetail them. There
are a bunch of jigs out there and also the Router Table Fence systems (Incra,
JointTech). What do you use and why? Would you do anything different now?
ANy suggestions would be great. I don't have a great router table but don't
want to spend $400 if a $70 jig will work as well. Anyone try the new Jet Jig?
Could you fill in the brand/website of these items as you have them or
would recommend? For those of us who can't distinguish between the many
items that may be called one or the other of the above, such as me, a
newbie in most respects.
I buy all my 'snobby woodworker's tools' at Highland Hardware. I'm
blessed by having them in town here :) All of the below they carry, at
about those prices, and all made by Crown. Crown stuff is fancy and nice,
all rosewood and brass. You can get cheaper stuff, and probably wont
affect the quality of work you turn out in most cases, but there's
definitely something to be said for spending a little extra and getting
For laying out dovetails, I use a Crown deluxe mortise gauge to scribe
shoulder lines, a 4" sliding bevel gauge, 4" try square, and marking knife
to lay out the pin board, an 8" dovetail saw to cut along the layout
lines, a set of Narex chisels to remove waste, and then I use the pin
board and the marking knife to layout the tail board, cut the pins, chisel
out the waste, and fit the joint. With a little practice, you can make
dovetails quickly that fit tight. I recently built a small bedstand with
4 drawers, and dovetailed all the drawers. It was a lot of work, but
Here's a pic of my dovetail tools. I started with a 9" try square and a
7" bevel, but the tiny counterparts are much better for small work.
On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 18:41:58 +0000, Han wrote:
And when you get those tools (though I'm not sure about
the $17 dovetail saw) here's a set of instructions,
based mainly on Frank Klausz's dovetail video, with a
little Ian Kirby along with some suggestions by users
(thanks folks). Download, print at your leisure, take
a page or two to the shop, do what you see and so on.
If you've got more than five or six drawers to do and
they're in ply do the lock miter joint discussed in
an earlier thread. That'll require a router table and
some fence/bit height tweeking but once set up you can
cut the four joints for each drawer in under two minutes.
I was at the Hamilton, Canada woodworking show last year and watched a
dovetail demo by Rob Cosman of Lie Nielsen. When he was finished with the
demo he had people from the audience try to cut a dovetail with various saws
he had. Some of the saws he had were fairly expensive but not one person
could cut a straight line with the other saws. When they tried the Lie
Nielsen saw they had perfectly straight cuts the first try. How good are
your dovetails with he $17 saw?
Rob gave me the sample he created and I can assure you that there isn't a
machine in the world that could create a better fitting dovetail
I'm sure it's not the most fantastic saw ever conceived, but it gets the
job done. And, I might have paid $25 for it, I can't remember.
It cuts straight lines just fine! I took the lacquer off the blade and
took a tiny bit of the set off the teeth, and it cuts just as nice as can
be. Woodworking doesn't HAVE to cost a fortune :P
On Sun, 25 Jan 2004 18:03:00 -0500, Dave wrote:
The reason the LN was the only saw to cut straight was because it's one
of the few western style dovetail saws that comes from the factory with
minimal set. 30 seconds with a hammer and piece of steel knocking the
set out and the $17 saw will cut just as straight as the Lie Nielsen.
The LN will be sharper so it will cut faster but it won't cut any
straighter. If you want to cut fast you can have the $17 saw sharpened
or screw up the courage to do it yourself.
The LN will definately look nicer though.
Scott Post firstname.lastname@example.org http://home.insightbb.com/~sepost /
Do you have a LN saw? I'm curious because I have the hammered cheapies, and
while they do reasonably well, they just don't measure up to the LN. Maybe
my hammer needs to be calibrated so I can do it properly.
My LN is far superior to any saw I've picked up except for the Adria. There
is a lot going on with these saws besides set and appearance. It is
expensive, but cheap compared to the dovetail jigs on the market and it will
be an heirloom after I pass. :-)
It also does a great job of cutting mortise shoulders. If you can afford
one, you probably will enjoy having it.
OBTW, I do sharpen my LN myself.
Actually, I have the Independence from Pete Taran and Patrick Leach from
before they sold out to Lie Nielsen. I believe it's stamped serial #12.
I've also tried an Adria.
They're both great saws but someone on a budget could do just as well with a
cheapie and a bit of work. I knocked the set out of a piece of junk from
Woodcraft that I probably paid about $12 for and it cuts just as straight
as my good saw. Not as fast, but just as straight. If I was ambitious
enough to take a file to it I could have it cutting just as fast also,
but it's not worth the work - it's only used for carpentry type jobs.
A cheapie can be made to cut just as well, but will certainly never look
Scott Post email@example.com http://home.insightbb.com/~sepost /
You don't suppose the other saws had their sets off a bit do you? Nah, that
just wouldn't be right. A rep from one company trying to impress everyone to
buy his saw wouldn't bring all the competitors' saws in unable to cut
straight, would he? No, no, no that just wouldn't happen. Sales reps are
much more honest and ethical than that. I guess the only saw produced that
is able to cut straight must be the one he demo'd that coincidently was the
one he wanted you to buy. Hmm, figure the odds of that.
Larry C in Auburn, WA
"Dave" <Paul_nospam firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
I would never expect a sales rep to do anything like that ;-)
Also, the vender of one the saws he was comparing top had a HUGE booth at
the show. I would think they would have said something if he was lying.
He took the name off the competitor's saw but it was no secret whose it was.
I am sure there are many people who read this newsgroup that have been to a
Rob Cosman seminar. Has anyone checked the other saws to see if they have
I didn't buy a saw and I didn't do the demo so I can only go by the
volunteer's samples. I was also at the competitors booth where a
salesman was doing a little demo on dovetail's and I bet a 10 year old could
have produced better dovetails. I can't imagine anyone buying a saw by
watching the results he got from using it. Obviously, in the hands of an
expert, that saw would have produced amazing dovetails
Just another example of how tools don't make up for lack of knowledge no
matter how expensive they are. To be frank, I don't do any better work with
my cabinet saw than I did with my contractor saw, eventually I will, but I
suspect the reason will be experience.
I was also at the competitors booth where a
Or if you want to take the NORMal approach:
"Mastering Woodworking Machines" by Mark Duginske: $22
Wood and hardware for table saw jig: $5 (and about 1 hour labor)
Being able to quickly cut quality dovetails on your tablesaw:
AN invaluable tool is the book "The Compleat Dovetail" by Ian Kirby. I had
the fortune (or Misfortune, depending on your take on Ian) of taking a
dovetail course from him... one Saturday and I was making really nice
through dovetails. A little more practice and half-lap dovetails were
Find a course to take, or get a book (not necessarily this one) and
practice, practice practice... BEFORE YOU RUIN A PERFECTLY GOOD PIECE OF
CHERRY OR MAHOGANY.
I guess I'll go ahead and be the first jig user to chime in here. Not that
theres anything wrong with cutting them by hand, I'm just offering another
angle here. I recently bought and used the Jet half blind jig and it worked
flawlessly throughout the construction of 24 drawer boxes. It took me about
1/2 an hour out of the box to get it tuned in and after that I have not
touched a single adjustment. If you are in need of more information I can
post pictures of the results for you. I did these in cheapo 1/2" birch ply
from the Borg. Tried to explain to the customer the difference in this ply
and quality cabinet grade stuff but they wouldnt go for it so I was left
using the cheap stuff. Anyway it worked ok with the exception of some
tearout once or twice which honestly I think was because I was rushing it a
bit near the end of 48 operations! I also experimented with variable spacing
and got great results. By shifting the pin board in the jig you can get some
cool variations of the dovetail layout.
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