David Barron Tools Dovetail Guide

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Review by rdwile posted 01-18-2013 01:40 AM 26773 views 12 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
David Barron Tools Dovetail Guide David Barron Tools Dovetail Guide David Barron Tools Dovetail Guide Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought the David Barron Dovetail Guide last summer when I ordered a couple other things from David. I played with the guide and watched David's YouTube video on how to use it.

So then I figured I was ready to cut some dovetails!

I tried it out to get the hang of it on some scrap and then moved right into cutting the dovetails on my Tommy Mac Tool Chest. The fact that this was my first dovetail project ever in carcase construction is a testament to how easy this guide its to get used to. As long as you pay attention to alignment and are meticulous in cleaning out the waste material this makes easy work of cutting dovetails.

Before I bought this guide I tried out the LV guide which I found painful to use with its screw attachment which required a pile of fiddling to make every cut. The DB guide has a sandpaper type back that holds it in place while cutting and a strong rare earth magnet to hold the saw. You can use a dovetail saw,but David recommends a Japanese saw which cuts a very thin kerf and is effortless in even the hardest of woods, I tried both and agree that the Japanese saw is the way to go.

I cannot emphasize enough how easy this makes cutting dovetails, combined with a nice set of chisels anyone can makes nice dovetailed projects. You will not be disappointed.

-- Richard D. Wile, IG: @rdwile

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12 comments so far

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#1 posted 01-18-2013 02:01 AM

good looking dovetails! I too find the LV jig clunk. David Barron’s videos are great I wish he’d post more

-- John - Central PA -

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201 posts in 4758 days

#2 posted 01-18-2013 03:40 AM

Here’s a link to an article on how to make your own. I made several without the magnet. Works OK but for me, I actually seem to do better on my own and doing tails first. Yeah, the ole tails or pins first argument.

Hope the link works.

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469 posts in 4071 days

#3 posted 01-18-2013 11:37 AM

I was looking on his website and didn’t see any place that you can order one of the guides. Is it possible to order one from the States?

View rdwile's profile


167 posts in 3116 days

#4 posted 01-18-2013 06:05 PM

Because of shipping variations and I think the size of his operation, you can email him and he will confirm the total via email. Pretty sure Paypal is how I paid.

-- Richard D. Wile, IG: @rdwile

View abie's profile


920 posts in 4775 days

#5 posted 01-19-2013 04:47 PM

Lee Valley has a similar device
I am not associated with them.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

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3613 posts in 3482 days

#6 posted 01-21-2013 03:30 AM


-- Please check out my new stores and

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#7 posted 01-22-2013 10:35 PM

Nice looking dovetails. Is there some way to use this in the making of half blind dovetails?


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146 posts in 4279 days

#8 posted 01-22-2013 10:56 PM

I have seen David demonstrating these at a show. The beauty of the it is in its simplicity. No clamping and you can place the saw on the line and slide the guide up to it. Much quicker than the Veritas clamping one.

He also makes a dovetail alignment board which makes it easier to transfer the lines from tails to pins (or vice versa if you are so inclined) . This was shown in an issue of Furniture and Cabinetmaker with instructions on how to build one.

Also I purchased a small ebony palm smoothing plane from David which is a beautiful tool to use and look at. He does a very nice range of wooden planes with lignum vitae soles.


-- Ollie, UK.

View rdwile's profile


167 posts in 3116 days

#9 posted 01-22-2013 11:50 PM


You can only use this guide for the side pieces in half blind dovetails. You can use it to make some starting cuts on the blind tail side, but does not help much. I just use it for the tails and do the rest freehand.

Hi Ollie,

As I mentioned in the review, the Veritas dovetail guide is a challenge to use, getting it positioned for a cut takes some work. This guide is very slick to use. I made some drawers (draws to you) today, and all you need is a small mark on the side piece, drop the guide in place and start cutting, could not be much easier.

I also have one of David’s small smoothing planes and it is always on my bench.

I have to make one of those alignment boards since David won’t ship the one he makes, it can really help with ensuring the pieces are at 90 degrees when doing layout which is a challenge with long narrow pieces like drawer bits.


-- Richard D. Wile, IG: @rdwile

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271 posts in 3403 days

#10 posted 01-31-2013 05:35 PM

Looks like a nice guide. I checked out his videos, very meticulous…and great results.

View davebkenn's profile


2 posts in 1711 days

#11 posted 07-27-2016 12:01 AM

It sounds like this jig does whats it designed to do. I guess i’m in the minority, but I’m against using jigs for dovetails. Learning to saw to a line and fine tune a joint with a chisel, when necessary, are good woodworking skills to acquire. Those skills are transferable to other areas of woodworking. The dovetail is just the by-product in this example. I see the jigs more as “training wheels” that allow lesser skilled woodworkers to produce a nice joint. If that’s the goal, then this jig is probably a good investment. I would rather take the time to learn the necessary skills. If you fail to develop essential woodworking skills, it will show up in other areas of you work. If i were to ask a craftsman to show me how to cut dovetails and he pulled out jig, I would be very disappointed.

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140 posts in 3282 days

#12 posted 02-15-2017 10:19 PM

When you’re 73 years old and eyesight and steadiness are not what they used to be having this device really helps in dialing in perfect cuts. Sometimes our skills we took so granted have a way of wandering off and leaving us to wonder where they went!!!

-- Bill eastern Washington Home of beloved ZAGS

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