Variable-spaced Dovetails by Jig

Two methods to move beyond the limitations of a fixed-space dovetail jig.
By Don Means
Pages: 72-75

From the December 2007 issue #166
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Some of us just don’t have the time, patience or skill to produce hand-cut dovetail joints and instead resort to one of the numerous dovetail jigs available on the market. However, at several hundred dollars apiece, not everyone can justify the expense of a variable-space jig, such as the Leigh D4R. Even if you do happen to own this fine jig, for certain applications I find it easier and more efficient to use a simpler jig. For example, when building cabinets or furniture for my workshop I usually don’t want to spend the time setting up my Leigh D4 (yes, I do own one). However, I still want the dovetail joinery to have aesthetic appeal.

I’ve experimented with a number of dovetail router bit sizes and cutting angles and, using a basic fixed-finger dovetail jig, have refined two techniques that greatly improve the overall aesthetics of the resulting half-blind dovetail joint. In addition, with a bit of planning, and within certain limitations, it is even possible to create “variable-spaced” half-blind dovetails with this “fixed-finger” jig.

From the December 2007 issue #166
Buy this issue now