Dovetailer’s Dream Vise
Treat yourself to the secure, even grip that’s essential for precision work.
By Brad Holden
Cutting dovetails by hand is satisfying and rewarding work, but securing the boards for sawing and chopping is anything but. Face vises typically don’t grip boards firmly enough for sawing, because they rack. The solution—adding a spacer of equal thickness to the workpiece on the jaw’s other side—prevents racking, but it’s a hassle.
Securing boards for chopping—wide boards especially—is also awkward, because it usually calls for two clamps and three hands. This two-position vise solves both of these problems, and it’ll hold boards up to 18" wide.
Glue up three layers of plywood to make the platform (A, Fig. A and Cutting List, below). When the glue is dry, cut the platform to final dimensions. Saw or rout a groove for the T-track and install it (see Sources, below). Then drill holes near each corner to allow clamping the vise in the vertical position.