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Forum topic by DonS1959 posted 04-07-2021 02:52 AM 528 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DonS1959

32 posts in 65 days


04-07-2021 02:52 AM

OK this is probably a dumb question but here goes the way I was taught is the only dumb question is the one you do not ask

I have never cut a dovetail in anything to join to pieces of wood together, I will be making three or four tail pieces for some gourd banjos that I am building for my grand kids, I will be making them out off snake wood it will basically be a L shaped tail piece with the vertical piece sliding over the dowel that runs through the gourd and the horizontal piece sitting just above and extending out over the head of the banjo.

I was thinking about doing a 45 degree miter cut to tie the two pieces of the tail piece together but have since decided to do dovetail joins instead because I feel a dovetail joint will be stronger then the 45 degree miter joint

I want to make my dove tail joints with a 3/8 in dovetail router bit my question is do they make a jig that will work with a router to do 3/8 dovetail joints I have purchased a set of bushings but again I have never before done dovetail joints to build anything

I am looking at the MCLS dovetail jig will it work for what i am trying to accomplish

Thanks for reading


27 replies so far

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SMP

3813 posts in 961 days


#1 posted 04-07-2021 03:11 AM

I bought a cheap General and had some problems with it, sold it on ebay and bought a Porter Cable, much better in my opinion. I think it was around $200 at Rockler but I had a coupon. Although I guess now General has a 2nd version that is supposedly better than I had.

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LittleBlackDuck

6945 posts in 1876 days


#2 posted 04-07-2021 09:15 AM

Is this going to be a one-off or do you plan to make more in the future… do you want diversity… do you have a deep wallet… Check out the Leigh D4R... the small one sounds more economical, but if you want dovetails, you want the 24”.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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DonS1959

32 posts in 65 days


#3 posted 04-07-2021 09:30 AM


Is this going to be a one-off or do you plan to make more in the future… do you want diversity… do you have a deep wallet… Check out the Leigh D4R... the small one sounds more economical, but if you want dovetails, you want the 24”.

- LittleBlackDuck

those are nice but I do not believe I will be making enough dovetail joints to justify the cost of the Leigh jig

to start I will be making 3-5 for grand kids. you never know after that I would like to purchase a good jig set up, but as I stated I do not know anything about making dovetails so i am open to all suggestions i don’t like purchasing something and only getting two or three uses out of it and then have to purchase again to do the same job

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1769 posts in 2705 days


#4 posted 04-07-2021 10:03 AM

After several jigs, I buckled down and gave up.
This is my current “jig”

https://www.stanleytools.com/products/hand-tools/cutting-tools/saws/434-in-fatmax-coping-saw/15-104

You can search the WEB and find all kinds of DIY one-off jigs for your router. Basically just using a fence and careful measuring. Unless you are spending $300 got the Leigh, you are stuck with fixed spacing and pin size. I don;t know if the $40 Horrible Freight clone of the Porter Cable works.

Of course, one can buy a full set of tools from Rob Cosman. Someday I may step up. I have also looked at the various methods of jigs in the table saw and band saw. I do pretty well roughing on the BS. Ground an old chisel sides into bevels for cleanout.

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controlfreak

1986 posts in 657 days


#5 posted 04-07-2021 10:27 AM

It will take practice but A $100 dovetail saw (Veritas), marking gauges and some sharp chisels can get you there. For what its worth most jigs take a lot of practice too. I hear they can make a preacher cuss.

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tvrgeek

1769 posts in 2705 days


#6 posted 04-07-2021 12:04 PM

https://www.youtube.com/c/RobCosmancom/featured
Rob is new to me, but seems to have a lot of very good information.

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controlfreak

1986 posts in 657 days


#7 posted 04-07-2021 12:12 PM

I have watched a lot of videos and am kind of hybrid and use bits of all. I would say the bulk of how I cut is Cosman method. Instead of cutting the rabbit as the baseline I have been using four layers of tape and cutting it with my marking gauge to create a reference edge. Andy Rauls has a way of marking half blinds with tape that looks interesting that I plan to try soon.

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tvrgeek

1769 posts in 2705 days


#8 posted 04-07-2021 02:02 PM

Don’t know about a preacher, but there is a reason I am learning by hand!
For one thing, the even spaced machine layout just does not look good to me.

Is the Veritas saw a narrow set? I have been tempted for that one.

As far as technique, there is really only one absolute correct way. The way that works for you.


It will take practice but A $100 dovetail saw (Veritas), marking gauges and some sharp chisels can get you there. For what its worth most jigs take a lot of practice too. I hear they can make a preacher cuss.

- controlfreak


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BurlyBob

8730 posts in 3321 days


#9 posted 04-07-2021 05:44 PM

Don I bought that Leigh dovetail jig several years ago and have only used a few times. It’s got quite a learning curve and it’s not very forgiving. You’ve got to be dialed in precisely. Somewhere I saw someone suggest it would be best to have two router set for it. One with a dovetail bit the other with a straight cutting bit. If I ever get around to another project with it I might consider that.

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controlfreak

1986 posts in 657 days


#10 posted 04-07-2021 06:05 PM

The Veritas saw is nice for the money and it is a narrow blade fine tooth dovetail saw. Only negative is the handle that looks somewhat like wood is plastic. I had a Japanese pull saw but wanted the pistol grip for more control.

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northwoodsman

526 posts in 4802 days


#11 posted 04-07-2021 06:26 PM

The Leigh is fairly simple to use once you understand their design and the instructions are great. There are 2 main things to dial in and both have to be PERFECT: 1) the depth of the bit itself, and the adjustment of their concentric bushing. And don’t even think about rotating the orientation of your router during the cutting process, the router must be orientated the same way for each cut because if it’s not your cuts will be slightly off no matter how centered you think your bit is to the guide bushing. Lastly, I don’t understand the science, physics or whatever behind this but just when you get everything dialed in perfectly in your cheap pine and insert your walnut, cherry, maple, or oak that you are using for your finished project, your joints won’t fit and you’ll need to fine tune them again. That’s when the preacher starts cussing. But then again it all depends on how much of a perfectionist you are. I have seen people that are proud of joints that looked like they hacked them with a chainsaw while blindfolded.

-- NorthWoodsMan

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LittleBlackDuck

6945 posts in 1876 days


#12 posted 04-07-2021 11:33 PM


Don I bought that Leigh dovetail jig several years ago and have only used a few times. It s got quite a learning curve and it s not very forgiving… Somewhere I saw someone suggest it would be best to have two router set for it.,,

- BurlyBob

... There are 2 main things to dial in and both have to be PERFECT:...
- northwoodsman


I believe the OP has already made indication that he doesn’t want good (a Leigh) but opting for cheap. I write this to prevent dissuasion of others reading comments in this blog that may contemplate a Leigh.

  • All jigs have to be PERFECT to get satisfactory results.
  • There is an “inclined” learning curve (it’s gradient is governed by the readers cognitive ability), but that’s same with most jig… However, Leigh are renowned as one of the best instructions manuals out there… so it’s all there… just off your arse and read before using.
  • Any router that does not have a perfectly centered bit in the following template will cause issues if you rotate the base… this is true for any dovetailing jig… and to me, it seem that people complaining about the cost of the Leigh would probably have cheap routers which would exacerbate this issue… and for this reason, I do not recommend use of 2 routers.
  • The Leigh will permit your own kinky dovetail outlay and pin/tail sizes (width)... that’s why I recommend the Pro.
  • Once you’ve done the tail, test cut a pin board with just a few pins… no need to do a full board width cut as it’s just to test the tails depth and width… test fit and adjust the pin to the tail… the manual is precise in how to adjust… If you “move” in the right direction, you can re-cut the test piece till it fits… using the scaled markings.
  • Great dust collection… 95%+, and that’s being pessimistic.

The only issue I have with the manual is their ”triangle” marking system for inside/outside boards. I have devised my own method... you may need to devise one that suits you.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6482 posts in 3365 days


#13 posted 04-07-2021 11:49 PM


Is this going to be a one-off or do you plan to make more in the future… do you want diversity… do you have a deep wallet… Check out the Leigh D4R... the small one sounds more economical, but if you want dovetails, you want the 24”.

- LittleBlackDuck

those are nice but I do not believe I will be making enough dovetail joints to justify the cost of the Leigh jig

to start I will be making 3-5 for grand kids. you never know after that I would like to purchase a good jig set up, but as I stated I do not know anything about making dovetails so i am open to all suggestions i don t like purchasing something and only getting two or three uses out of it and then have to purchase again to do the same job

- DonS1959


If you are running a business you have to justify expenditures. A hobby is about fun and relaxation. There is no room for the nasty word “justification”.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

1986 posts in 657 days


#14 posted 04-07-2021 11:49 PM

Sounds complicated, give me a saw and marking gauge for limited cuts. Batching out drawers for production, give me the most expensive jig I can get.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2509 posts in 1644 days


#15 posted 04-08-2021 12:06 AM

Snake wood?! Thats like rock. Polishes up nice with 2000 grit automotive wet/dry sandpaper tho.

Are you locked into dovetails? For under $150 you can get a Fast-Joint Mini that will do four types of decorative “dovetails.” I got good results on the first try — read my review HERE


CROWN pattern in wenge and padauk.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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