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dove tail joints

Post #56131 by mistystarz » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:30 pm

Can anyone please tell me what is the easiest way to make dove tail joints and
what tool is the best to use ? Or should I with my limited knowledge use some other type of joint to make a box?? I sure like the way dove tails look tho..

Post #56133 by kartoffelkopf » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:00 pm

In my humble opinion hand-cut dovetails are the way to go. They are not really that hard to learn (just do a Google search and you'll turn up some good how-to videos.) Initial investment doesn't have to be that big of an outlay (you can upgrade later of course.)
The reason I say this is three-fold: 1) dovetails are a skill and portray a finer level of woodworking. Aren't we all about learning new skills? 2) dovetails cut by a machine and jig always look like they were cut by a machine; and 3) the personal satisfaction of having hand-cut the joinery. Any monkey can be trained to use a template and router. Watch people ooh and aah when you say that the dovetails were hand-cut.

I make the above comments having spent a fistful of money on the Jointech Cabinet Maker System. I have no beefs about their setup, but the results always and only looked as though they came from a machine. Hand-cut dovetails allow whatever spacing or configuration YOU desire, not what the jig dictates.

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Kartoffelkopf… because no one expects much from a potato head.

[SIZE="1"]SS 520, Power Station, scroll saw, Pro Planer, DeWalt 746 Table Saw w/ Jointech cabinet maker's system, Jet JJ6CSX jointer, Jet 22-44 Closed Base Drum Sander, Grizzly G0513P Bandsaw, Powermatic PM1300 Dust Collector[/SIZE]

Post #56138 by shipwright » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:29 pm

I'm definitely a fan of hand cut dovetails and have used them to make some nice stuff..but... When you are building new cabinets for your kitchen and you are looking at making 22 drawers (Neither my wife or I enjoy cupboards with doors and shelves below counter height) Jigs start to look pretty good. The only jig I had owned before the kitchen project was a small sears jig that did only 1/2 blind dovetails and had several limitations. I researched on the internet and found that there are a couple of leaders and a lot of variety in this field. Leigh seems most popular probably because they advertise the most.
After carefully matching the things I wanted from a jig and the amount of use it would get among other factors I chose Akeda (http://www.akeda.com). For me it does everything I ask and the learning curve is easy.
On the subject of appearance, I think 1/2 blind dovetails always look like machine jobs because they almost always are. With through dovetails on the other hand, given the customization options of a modern jig you can't tell because they are when cut exactly what you would have if you hand cut them.
I have a lot more beautiful dovetail drawers and such around my place because I bought the jig. My advice to you would be to do your homework online. Research and read up on as many jigs as you can. There are several good ones but one will be the best for you. No one can pick one for you but if you get one of the quality models on the market today you will never regret it

My humble opinion

Paul M

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Paul M ........ The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese

dove tail joints

Post #56140 by dusty » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:45 pm

That would be:

http://www.akeda.com

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"Making Sawdust Safely"
Dusty

"If one's words are not better than silence, one should keep silent." -Caine

Post #56143 by cv3 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:00 pm

I got a really helpful DVD on hand cutting dovetails at from Woodcraft.
It is called "Rob Cosman Hand-Cut Dovetails". I think they are on sell on line. We had a Woodcraft Store here in Mobile but it went away with the the econemy.

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Make today a day that lets you smile!
CV
Mobile Al.
MARK V 520 - Band saw and Jointer. DeWalt scroll saw.

Post #56144 by 8iowa » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:03 pm

I would love to become proficient in hand cut dovetails. For projects where the dovetails show, such as a large box or chest, they are absolutely beautiful. Good equipment is necessary. You will not get good, or possibly any, results with a $12.99 back saw that came from Lowes or HD. A good dovetail saw will run about $100 and up. (better results will be with the "up") You will also need a good fret saw, and a set of good scarry sharp bench chisels. Marking tools and gauges round out the list. Oh. and don't forget a good work bench with a quality shoulder vice that won't rack and let your board slip. I'd also include some good reading and perhaps a Rob Crossman DVD. Cheap? Not really, but I would never discourage someone from going this route.

That said, this past Summer I made two twin chest of drawers. Each had five fully dovetailed drawers. In this case, the dovetails didn't show, and are purely functional, providing the necessary strength for these rather large drawers. I used a Rockler dovetail jig that was on sale for $119. It came complete with router bits and a guide bushing that screws into the bottom of your router plate. I used the PC690 router, a good tool for this kind of work. The Rockler jig comes with templates for both thru and half blind dovetails. I'll also recommend their dust collector accessory, as the router converts the wood into fine dust......lots and lots of it. The dust collector accessory connected to my DC3300 sucked up at least 90%.

My son-in-law has the Leigh dovetail jig. It's wonderfully made, and will cut more different type of dovetails than any other jig on the market. It is also a complex tool. The Rockler jig is simpler, and will get you "up to speed" quicker.

Post #56146 by soggysawdust » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:20 pm

I am sure enjoying my Incra Ultralite jig for making dovetails and box joints. Once you get the hang of this little gem, they are a piece of cake. It will make dovetails (both blind and half blind), box joints, double dovetails, double box joints, variable spaced joints of all kinds and it didn't cost an arm and a leg either. The only drawback, if it is one, is the size of the router table you need to make it work.

Happy Sawdust to all,

Phil in the not frozen Northwest

Post #56162 by kartoffelkopf » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:10 pm

I'll slink back to my lurking. Mea culpa for the intrusion.

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Kartoffelkopf… because no one expects much from a potato head.

[SIZE="1"]SS 520, Power Station, scroll saw, Pro Planer, DeWalt 746 Table Saw w/ Jointech cabinet maker's system, Jet JJ6CSX jointer, Jet 22-44 Closed Base Drum Sander, Grizzly G0513P Bandsaw, Powermatic PM1300 Dust Collector[/SIZE]

Post #56163 by a1gutterman » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:17 pm

kartoffelkopf wrote:I'll slink back to my lurking. Mea culpa for the intrusion.
What you mean by that??? You did KNOT intrude!!! You participated!!! Keep it up! please :)

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Tim

Buying US made products will help keep YOUR job or retirement funds safer.

Post #56170 by Ed in Tampa » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:09 am

8iowa wrote:I would love to become proficient in hand cut dovetails. For projects where the dovetails show, such as a large box or chest, they are absolutely beautiful. Good equipment is necessary. You will not get good, or possibly any, results with a $12.99 back saw that came from Lowes or HD. A good dovetail saw will run about $100 and up. (better results will be with the "up") You will also need a good fret saw, and a set of good scarry sharp bench chisels. Marking tools and gauges round out the list. Oh. and don't forget a good work bench with a quality shoulder vice that won't rack and let your board slip. I'd also include some good reading and perhaps a Rob Crossman DVD. Cheap? Not really, but I would never discourage someone from going this route.


I have to disagree.
A dovetail saw that is up to the task can be bought for around $22 at Woodcraft. I suspect even a Lowes Backsaw would work. Yes sharp chisels can refine the cut but so can a sharp utility knife costing a couple bucks.
As for the bench and shoulder vice, I don't think so. I have seen both Roy Underhill and Dave Marks cut dove tails with little more than a hold down.
I have cut them using only a wood clamp. What I find essential is an exacto knife or high dollar scribing knife to accurately lay out the dovetails.
I have never used a fret saw on dovetails nor do I think I have ever seen one used for that purpose.

Incidently I have seen perfect fit dovetails cut on bandsaws with the waste then chiseled or cut out.

On this one I have to agree with what Kartoffelkopf said. And I will add one caveat. There are far superior joints that are easier and much faster to make than dovetails.
Box joint that had a dowel running the length of it doesn't even have to be glued. Frankly I tend to shy away from dove tails as I see them as little more than bling. That said I have cut my share with nothing more than cheap back saw, utility knife and work table.

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Ed in Tampa
Stay out of trouble!

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