Dovetail jigs

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TBay-Paul

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Hi all
looking for advice on a good dovetailing jig? I’m very new to jointing but looking to make more accurate dovetail joints. Appreciate any feedback.
 

recipio

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Consider a secondhand Woodrat. You can use any dovetail bit you like with it unlike all the others which have dedicated bits. They seem to have fallen out of of fashion but I think they make nice elegant dovetails.
 

Sideways

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Don't rush to buy the usual suspects. Yo'll get bored with them very quickly
A used woodrat is a very different proposition. It's far more flexible.
 

Spectric

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Yes the rat is a handy machine and can cut dovetails that look hand cut, very fine and look good once you have mastered it. I don't use mine as often as I should but it has certainly got me out of some problem situations. One cut is done with the dovetail cutter and the other is done using a straight cutter, and they are HSS not carbide. Also take a look at this thread because if you get a rat then I have attached some files that may be helpful.

 
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Jacob

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Hand cut DTs not difficult and probably about the same length of learning curve, but no expensive kit or noisy routers needed.
 

recipio

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Martin Godfrey makes a persuasive case for the HSS cutters but TCT cutters are now available in the same slim profile - more or less. Once mastered the Woodrat is surprisingly satisfying to use. The only downside is the need to wall mount it and dust extraction can be problematic. I used to see Martin at the shows in the 1990's but not in the past few years. There is an alternative version called ' Router Boss' available in the US which uses peg settings instead of the spiral cams. Worth a look if you have the funds for a new dovetailer.
 
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misterfish

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Most of the cheap dovelail jigs are very limited both in size and flexibility. Another option is a Leigh D4 series which is quite flexible and well engieered. These are often available second hand.

If you look at some of The New Yankee Workshop episodes Norm Abram uses one quite frequently. However, remember this is a US program with a different woodworking ethos and approach to safety. Despite this shortcoming you will be able to see the jig being set up and used, and the results obtainable.
Misterfish
 

poshpaws

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the Kats Moses jigs I found were are a good gateway drug to get you into fairly decent hand cut DT's and use it from time to time

the woodrat does look interesting , I was thinking about going down the Incra route (or Gifkins) except both need a table too
 

Jacob

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Yup, correct Jacob. The ones who like to make a living at it.🤔 :LOL: :LOL:
But not if you are in to trad design and craft, which sells very well. Hand cut DTs are seen as sine qua non, perhaps for no good reason - that's not why they were used in the past, they were just a practical joint.
 

Jacob

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Anyone know a good sharpening technique ?

......:sneaky:
Actually very much to the point - if you do a lot of hand DTs there can be 100 or more in a chest of drawer and more chiselling than in any other op, other than carving perhaps.
So it has to be freehand sharpening, a little and often, or you'd be effed.
And wooden handles - lighter than plastic and the weight starts mattering if you are at it for long.
 
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TRITON

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Actually very much to the point - if you do a lot of hand DTs there can be 100 or more in a chest of drawer and more chiselling than in any other op, other than carving perhaps.
So it has to be freehand sharpening a little and often or you'd be effed.
And wooden handles - lighter than plastic and the weight starts mattering if you are at it for long.
My twin deco drawer units were 280 DT's.
Final year piece, had approximately 6h to cut all the joints.

I used a machine ;)

I even stopped for a couple ;)
 

Ollie78

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The Gifkins jig always looked simple enough to me and I think you could probably make your own if so inclined.
I have an incra router table and have used that with good results before, but mostly if I do dovetails now its for a decorative box or something so I do them by hand.

Ollie
 

rogxwhit

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A trouble with jigs is that you often seem to need a degree in mathematics - which isn't my aptitude! I've never had a jig, but I've made quite a lot of dovetails that I had to get out of the door to a quoted price ... all different ...

coffer-009.jpg


(Corner of chest in native oak)
 
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