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.
The simple question I have is: does the stock thickness dictate cutter
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.
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.
Hand cut are a completely different story, Bob. That's why you do them
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
There is room for both kinds in this world, but be aware of strongly held
and expressed opinions.
firmly in both camps. ;-)
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