In Tricks of the Trade

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Photo 1.

Equally-Spaced Dovetails Every Time

When laying out dovetails, I always start by marking the centers of the pins so the distance between them is approximately the same. I came up with this trick that allows me to position any number of equally-spaced pins (or tails) very quickly, without the use of a ruler. I use this fan-shaped series of lines marked on a piece of plywood about 36″ x 24″.

To make the pattern, first mark the center point of one of the board’s long sides. On the opposite long side, make a mark every 3″. Make lines connecting all of those marks to the center point on the opposite edge (Photo 1).

Photo 2.

To mark pins or tails, I slide the board over the fan shape until the desired number of lines intersects the edge of the board (Photo 2). Mark a line at this point across the length of the fan board parallel to the long sides. This way, the marks on your pin board will be equally spaced. -Alejandro Balbis



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