Although dovetails can be cut almost anywhere, it's nice to set up a little work area — a place where the work goes smoothly. In our shop I tend to work best on the comer of our large workbench. The bench is heavy and solid so I don't have to worry about things jiggling around.
On this workbench I have set up three aids that help when cutting dovetails. First there's a woodworker's vice (ours happens to be a Record vice, purchased from Woodcraft Supply catalog, address below). Any vice will work as long as it holds the board in a vertical position.
Second, I attached an adjustable light to the bench. The one I use was purchased at an art supply store, but any kind of lamp that moves where you want it will work. (One of those mechanic's lights with a hook on the end wrould be nice.)
One other thing that helps is to clamp a small piece of Masonite to the workbench. I clamped it on with the rough (back) side up to protect the bench during the chiseling phase and also to provide some friction to keep the boards in place.
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