Dovetails On The Tablesaw

Hand cutting a dozen sets of dovetails in heavy slock can be a real chore. Long ago. 1 took to cutting the tails on a tablesaw with the stock held vertically and the blade angled. Nobody told me not to. Then it's easy to mark out and handsaw the pins in the usual way. I find this method takes only half the time of hand cutting, and you end up with clean, accurate surfaces that need minimal fitting.

If there is a choice, I always cut the tails in the shorter piece of wood. Holding a long board vertically for sawing can be awkward, even dangerous. (If you're making the bookcase, cut the tails in the end pieces rather than in the shelves.)

Start the dovetails in the same way you would if you were cutting them by hand. Square the stock, set a marking gauge to the thickness of the stock and scribe a line across both sides and the two edges.

Now draw the tails in pencil on the ends (only one end if you're making the bookcase) and square the lines across both faces. Accuracy is essential here. Mark the waste in crayon so you don't saw on the wrong side of the line.

Next, make a new wooden fence for the miter gauge. It should be 2 or 3 in. high so it supports the stock and will not be cut in half by the saw blade. This fence will also help reduce tear-out by backing up the cut. Now set the tablesaw blade to the dovetail angle—usually about 15°. Place the marked board vertically on the table and raise the blade until it is '/it in. below the scribed line on the end of your stock.

Make some trial cuts in a piece of scrap wood until you feel confident to begin. Hold the board vertically

Killing a joint after the laiU have hecn cut (»11 llie lal»le*a* i* much less» time-coiiMifiiiiig than hand (Milling ill«* joint.

Killing a joint after the laiU have hecn cut (»11 llie lal»le*a* i* much less» time-coiiMifiiiiig than hand (Milling ill«* joint.

with the blade on the waste side of one of the marked tails and move the sliding fence over to act as a stop. The cutting process is shown in the drawing.

Some people prefer to clamp stop blocks to the miter-gauge fence rather than use the sliding tablesaw fence. I've done it both ways and found that it depends on what works best with my particular setup.

Using this method, you'll find the saw blade removes most of the waste. The little that remains can be severed with a chisel or cut out with a coping saw and then chiseled. Continue in the usual way, marking the pins from the tails, sawing them out, and chiseling the waste.—S.W.

cutting tails on the tablesaw

Make 3-in. high wooden mrter-

STEP 1: Set stop block and cut edge of first tail.

STEP 2: Flip board and cut edge of last tail. Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the other end (if required I.

Set saw blade to dovetail angle (approx. 15°). Set blade height Vi6 in. be km scribe line.

Use stop block to position board.

STEP 3: Move stop Nock and cut edge of second tail Repeat steps 1 and 2 with new stop btock setting until all tails are cut

STEP 3: Move stop Nock and cut edge of second tail Repeat steps 1 and 2 with new stop btock setting until all tails are cut

Make 3-in. high wooden mrter-

STEP 1: Set stop block and cut edge of first tail.

STEP 2: Flip board and cut edge of last tail. Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the other end (if required I.

Set saw blade to dovetail angle (approx. 15°). Set blade height Vi6 in. be km scribe line.

Use stop block to position board.

Ml it pulling I In* joint« together uitli |>iI>«* or liar clamp*, check llial the Imo rial pieces art" square to tlic shell*.. Mark out a curve with a beam com-^ pas«.. If you don't have one. improxisc \>illi a jH'iH'il anil niecr of lliin wire.

The first step is to rip the shelves and end pieces to final width, and then crosscut each piece to its finished length. (See drawing.)

Next come the holes for the dowels. It's essential to exactly align the holes from one shelf to the next. If vou

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment