Adjustable Dovetail Gauge

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I use a lot of hand-cut dovetails for my furniture, and for two good reasons: they’re strong and, when the joinery is exposed, they’re beautiful. To make laying out easier, I designed this shop-made dovetail gauge that ensures accuracy and speeds up the process of marking tails or pins. As a bonus, it’s a beautiful addition to any hand-tool collection. This gauge is made with a mahogany head and a rosewood blade. An angled mortise in the head registers the blade at one of two favorite dovetail angles (in my case 5° and 14°), or it can be set to any angle in between. A friction-fit allows pivoting the blade without tools. The head provides bearing on both sides of the blade, so the tool can be flipped to mark out complementary angles. The long blade allows marking out dovetails for everything from typical drawers and cases to wooden vises for a workbench, and other thick pieces that demand long tails and pins. Construction of the gauge is simple, as there’s no fussy mortising involved in making the head. Instead, you simply laminate four strips of wood together, mitering the two in the middle and leaving space between them to create the mortise. For the critical frictionfit of the blade, all you need are a few swipes with a sharp plane.

Adjustable Dovetail Gauge

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