Economical Through Dovetail Jig - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Economical Through Dovetail Jig

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Forget worrying about limited dovetail jig capacity. The ChestMate dovetail jig allows cutting through dovetails anywhere on boards of any width. The process is pretty simple. The jig has an indexing pin that fits 1/8-in. kerfs sawn in a story stick that you make: You mark the story stick as you lay out the pin locations on the board and then cut the kerfs. When the story stick is indexed and clamped onto each workpiece, the saw kerfs position the jig for  each socket and pin. The jig has dedicated inserts for cutting the sockets and the pins. You cut the sockets first with a dovetail bit (top photo, at right). Reposition the story stick on the second board to cut the pins (bottom photo). Install a straight bit in your router and the pin insert in the jig. The pin insert allows adjusting the pin width to fit the sockets you've already cut. Once you've dialed in the perfect pin width on a test piece, you're good to go. To orient the joint with half-pins at the ends, instead of half-tails as shown, you'll need a longer story stick with kerfs at the ends of the workpiece. Routing dovetails with this jig is precise, but it isn't very fast, because you have to reposition the jig to cut each socket and pin. For widely-spaced pins, a third routing pass is required to clean out the waste. The ChestMate is designed for use with 3/4-in.-thick stock and routers with 6-in.-dia. bases. Inserts for 14-degree and 7-degree dovetail bits are included with the jig. You supply the router bits and guide bushing.

Prazi USA,, (800) 262-0211, ChestMate Dovetail Jig, PR3900, $99.


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