Layout

Laying out a dovetail joint — the size and placement cf the tails and pins—is worth some time and thought. If the layout isn't on the plan, it's best to draw it out on paper. Then, it can be transferred to the workpieces.

wl dt h o f PtN vs. tail It's a matter cf individual preference, but I prefer the pins to be narrower than the tails. Generally, I lie the widest part of the tails to be about four times as wide as the narrowest part of the pins.

angles. The angles of the dovetails is also a matter of personal (visual) preference within limits. The general rule is that the angle should be somewhere bet-ween 78V2° and 83°.

When setting up to cut dovetails on the band saw, I found it easiest to build the jigs at an 80° angle. This works out to a ratio of about l:53/i.

symmetrical layout. There's one more thing to consider. When using this technique, the layout has to be symmetrical. That is, one half of the layout has to be a mirror image of the other half. As long as the layout is symmetrical, you can still vary the width of the tails.

ready to cut. After you've decided on the layout, you can transfer it to one end of the board that wiil have the tails (see the next page). Then you're finally ready to start cutting your first dovetail joint. (Well, almost. You still have to make an auxiliary band saw table and the jigs. Instructions for building the band saw table appear below.)

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