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I'm pretty certain this is a dumb question but here goes… While I'm not completely new to woodworking, I'm not really experienced either. Especially when it comes to joinery. I can do dados and rabbets and I've been practicing my mortise\tenon making and I'm doing okay with that. I started fooling around with dovetail joints on my router recently and discovered that I apparently don't know how to make them. So here is my question… what is the proper way to go about aligning my router to make the dovetail the correct size? I'm talking about the part that slides into the hollowed out slot. (I assume this is called the tail?) I made a sliding dovetail joint on some scrap wood but it took about 100 tries to get a snug fit. I'm sure there's a general rule of thumb here but apparently I don't know it. Some help please - thanks.
 

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Also, remember that the long the wood is, the worse a sliding dovetail joint is going to fit. If the wood has ANY deviation from perfectly straight or flat, the joint feel gets very tight quickly.
I have never found an easy way of making sliding dovetails that eliminates making test cuts and sneaking up on the right size for the tail. I've been at this over 30 years and I still sneak up on the right fit for the job at hand and am convinced that is the best way to do it for me anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well maybe it wasn't such a dumb question afterall. I guess some things don't always have an easy way. Thanks for the insight. Now I'm off to practice dovetails!
 
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