Tablesaw Dovetail JigComments (0)
This article is from Issue 75 of Woodcraft Magazine.
Achieve the look of hand-cut joinery with a machine-made start
Dovetail joinery is an important feature on many of my projects. I like the look of hand-cut dovetails, but the time required to make them is a luxury I often can’t afford. With the dovetail jig shown here, I can duplicate the proportions of hand-cut dovetails with some time-saving help from my tablesaw.
I always cut the tails first, then use my tail board to lay out the pins. This jig gets the joinery off to a good start, enabling me to make perfect tail cuts. I usually remove the waste between tails using my scrollsaw to cut just outside the base line. Then I pare to the line with a chisel.
You’ll notice that the jig’s fence includes a T-track with an adjustable stop. If the layout happens to be symmetrical, I set the stop and simply flip the tail board to make my matched cuts. The stop also comes in handy when identical tail boards need to be cut.
A sled that slides on two runners
My jig has many of the characteristics found on tablesaw crosscut sleds: a pair of runners that slide in the top grooves, a fence set at 90° to the cut line, and a T-track that holds an adjustable stop. To make your own version of this jig, you can stick close to the dimensions given in the drawing, or opt for a broader base and fence to handle larger projects. You’ll have to decide on a tail angle and stick with it, because changing the tilt of the blade will create a wide opening in the base that complicates cut alignment.
Order of Work
- Cut parts to finished size. Make sure runners slide smoothly in table grooves, but without slop.
- Groove main fence for T-track and install the track.
- Align base over runners and tack base to runners. If base slides smoothly across table, screw runners to base.
- Screw front fence to base. With saw blade tilted to planned tail cut angle, cut through base from front to back.
- Fasten main fence to base with only two screws, using a square to set the fence square to the cutline. Make test cuts and fi ne-tune main fence position if necessary.
- When main fence position is square to cutline, attach fence permanently with at least four screws.
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