Dovetail Jig Setup – A woodworkweb.com woodworking video



hello everyone Kollek Annette here for woodwork web today we're going to be looking at dovetail jigs and this is a commercial Jake and we're going to be showing you the different components of it what it looks like how it works and how to set it up we've had a few requests from people over the last few months who have Jake's similar to this and they've had some trouble making dovetails with them so today we're going to go over some of the characteristics and all of these jigs work similarly although you may there may be some jigs that have some specific ways that they aren't need to be set up or work so you'll need to read your instructions if the instructions are there and if they're good in order to set these up now before we get started when I bought this jig a few years ago I asked the salesperson at the store if this did through dovetails and he said yes it did and so they had the dovetail jig on sale and so I purchased it and not so long after the salesman was gone and the company actually went out of business and guess what I discovered that the jig does do through dovetails but that the extra components to do that aren't included in it so it does something called half-blind dovetails I'm going to show you the difference between through dovetails and half blind dovetails because all of these jigs when you buy them almost every one of them only comes with components to do half what's called half blind dovetails so here we are back at the trusty whiteboard and this is called a half-blind dovetail this is called a through dovetail now the reason that this is called half blind is because from this side this wood you cannot actually see the dovetail and typically if this was a Rory we're making this would be the front of the drawer and there may be a faceplate on top of this or this might actually be the front of the drawer so for making drawers this is quite acceptable to do this is called it through dovetail and when we talk about dovetails in almost all cases we think of a through dovetail very often these are hand-cut and they're they're also used for drawers in this case there there would be a drawer front go on top of this plate go on top of this because you wouldn't want this through to be showing through so that's the difference between a half-blind and a through dovetail and today we're going to be using a jig that makes half blind dovetails but you can get a template extra an option to make through dovetails now before we get started actually cutting some dovetails it's important to go through the anatomy of this jig and today I'm using a CMT Jake and this is a steel Jake it's very very well-made now the Jake on top at the wood will be held down with this clamp on top and it's on those Springs and you need to clamp it down with the twist knobs there's also the same clamping device on the front and we'll put some wood on in a minute so you can see that but what I wanted to show you is that on each side of this Jake there are pins alignment pins and this Jake has a left and right hand side and that's because you can make left and right hand cuts so obviously this is the left hand side of the jig and what's it's up on here the wood that sits up but here is basically what will become say the the front of a drawer the side of a drawer is what goes in here we'll put some wood in a second so there's this alignment pin here and this one you know that they're a little bit offset and that's because the dovetail pins and tails are a little bit offset but when you're ready to cut the other side of the drawer so this cuts the left side this of course would cut the right side so when you are cutting the drawer top if I had a piece of wood here here's some scrap from some former cut so the wood typically goes in here this is the the drawer front and it aligns like this then when you go to cut the right hand side now I should show you that the pins actually go in here like this so you see how they butt up against that one and and the pins actually fit in front this wood here fits in front of the back wood and they need to line up perfectly along the top here nice and tight and and then clamped and that's the kind of cut that you will make with your router when you do that but when you cut the other side you just simply take this wood and rotate it like that now you'll notice there's some cuts already made but this is just a test piece so it would go like this and the new piece of wood would go in here and that's where you would make the right hand cut on the top or sorry the right hand cut on the front of your drawer and this piece here will become the right hand side of your drawer now let's put the template we'll put some blank wood in here it's going to be ready to do it anyway so let's do that and it'll just snug this up a little bit here and same on here now what's missing on this of course is the template and this is the template this is a steel template and it sits down on talk like that and it has the fingers and basically when when you wrote you will be routing in and out of these pins in here so when you're ready to start routing you need to make sure that this wood is firm up here and it's snug down here this template needs to be you need to make sure that these templates are nicely snug down and that this wood is firmly attached and then you're ready to wrote now your router take a very quick look at the router and this wood already has the dovetail put in it but this has a 5/8 collar and this jake cuts half-inch dovetails so in here the way it is set up is it uses a 5/8 collar and these actually the holes in these templates are 5/8 of an inch now not all dovetail jigs are going to be like that but this one has that feature now there's one last thing that I want to show you before we go on to start doing some cutting and that is and this is an important part if you look carefully you'll notice there's an S here and I don't know what the a stands for but you'll also notice that it aligns with the top of this wood and the position of this template is very important to how the wood how the pins and tails come together and this wood here the way you adjust this back and forth is simply on the ends of the template you can see that there's a bolt running through here and there's actually a nut that does the adjusting and there's one of these on each side and as you move that nut back and forth it allows for a little bit of movement back and forth of this template and it's critical that this template is set to the right and and it needs to line up exactly with this wood on top here so you need to put this wood in first this one down and then the template needs to line up and it needs to line up on both sides and once you've done all of that then of course the entire jig needs to be fastened down firmly to your bench and make sure all your joints are or all your wood is firmly attached in there and you're ready to do your first cut and that's precisely we're going to do right now is start cutting so what you're looking at here is just some scrap that I used when I first set this jig up and what I wanted to show you if I go right on the end here if you look at that you'll see that these this back wood is is deeper or it see how there's a space in there this area here in the back that's what that's what they look like when they're cut they're rounded like that they're too deep and the net result is that that fits in now there's also a bit of a faux pas here I don't know what happened there exactly but you can actually see how that is too deep and that's what the template on top that's why it has to be a line if it's too far back or too far forward in on the jig that's what will happen is that's that's the troubleshooting area for this J is this area in here now just to show you how a properly aligned one looks there's again there's the the drawer back or sorry the drawer side this typically would be the are actually sorry this would be the side here this would be the front of the drawer but what I want to show you is how nice and tight those fit now the nice thing with these kinds of jigs is because this is cut with a router and see how this is round in here and if you look at these pins look at how round see how they're rounded they when they go in there they actually fit really snug and when you put some glue on there boy it's a real real tight real nice tight hard joint in there so it's actually a pretty good system okay and back to our jig now what I've done off-camera I've tightened this top so it's got that the top part nicely snugged in here I use the the tightening bolts on each side or tightening nuts on each side and they also tightened the the front part of this and I made sure that these woods met very tightly at the top it's very important that those meet tightly at the top because that's going to make the difference between a good joint and a bad joint now the next thing again off-camera so that you can actually see this I'm actually going to be tilting this up like this because otherwise when we put the router on here you can't actually see what's going on so I'm actually going to tilt this top just like this so that you can actually see what happens underneath so I'm just going to set that up off-camera and we'll be ready to start cutting some dovetails now the one thing that I haven't shown you yet is the this is the router and it's unplugged it's upside-down and I just wanted to show you this is the dovetail that came with the jig and because this Jake makes something called a half-blind RS or a half-inch half-blind it wants to be basically half an inch and I just wanted to show you that I use these measuring bars for quick calibration and this is a 1/2 inch little bar and the very tip of that router bit that dovetail router bit is exactly a half inch above the plate of the router so that's and there's the router and now we're going to be turning that this upside down or right side up rather and running that through the dovetail jig so let's get started and actually cut some dovetails okay here we are looking underneath there's the the router bit right there the dovetail bit and there's the front part of the wood here the top part of the wood you can't actually see and those are the fingers for the template up there just so you get your bearings here and in a second I'm going to put my eye protection and your protection on and we'll actually start cutting these okay let's see how we did okay so there's our test cut and you can see that that's done a very nice job now what you probably can't see is these are just this side here is just a little bit proud and I do that because I when I when I sand this I want this to be a little bit higher here so that it'll sand down with the side so let's have a look at the mechanics of this for just a second now so what we just completed doing was the left-hand side of the drawer and if I pull us apart so this part here is the drawer front and it's sitting here like this now to do the other part of the door front or drawer front you just simply need to turn the wood around just like that and now you put it in the right-hand side and then you'll have a separate piece of wood that will now come up on this side and do the same thing on this side so the you'll cut then the right-hand side of the drawer that the right-hand side of the drawer front and the right-hand side of the drawer and that will give you a complete drawer front and two sides now typically we don't do dovetailing in the back of the drawer you can there's nothing that says you can't but typically there's either a rabbit rabbit that's put in the back of the drawer or even sometimes it's just a board that's that's nailed across the back then and then of course there's the drawer bottom that needs to have a dado put in there to slide the drawer in so that's what this CMT and and pretty much all of these little dovetail Jake's this is how they work and that's the the simple explanation of using these little dovetail Jynx so for those of you who ask us how to use to do a short demo on how to use these commercial dovetail jigs hopefully this will give you enough information that you can go back now to your dovetail jigs and figure out how they work if you happen to have a CMT with the very not very good instructions that they come with I must say I'm pretty disappointed with the instructions the instructions that came with we're not very good I went to the internet and download even more and between the two of them you can kind of get through it but they really need to get a better set of instructions for this particular jig hopefully your jig has much better instructions so hopefully that gives you some ideas on how you make your Jake work for you if you like what we're doing we ask you to subscribe to this channel we also ask you to subscribe to woodwork web and there's always an Associated article on woodwork web that goes along with our videos and sometimes there's links to other areas and this particular one will probably have some links to some of the dovetail Jake sites so that you can check those some of those things out so I'm calling a net for woodwork web thanks for watching

44 Comments

  • Samuel Norfleet

    April 12, 2019

    I received one of these types of jigs from a purchase i made and the gentleman threw them in the deal last minute. I haven't had a manual or anything to figure them out. this is super helpful.

    Reply
  • Kevin Shandrew

    April 12, 2019

    Yes practice first

    Reply
  • Jose Manuel González

    April 12, 2019

    NI idea de ingles pero la imagen es muy ilustrativa . Gracias

    Reply
  • Richard Habicher

    April 12, 2019

    Fine Video! I like it and will learn from You, Sir! Colin You are the best of instrks. and fine to learn from. You tell the good and not so good, that is so good!

    Reply
  • Mohammad Awaisbutt

    April 12, 2019

    from where buy this cmt jig ?

    Reply
  • Žarko Germek

    April 12, 2019

    What is the speed of routing?

    Reply
  • Žarko Germek

    April 12, 2019

    Your video should be suplied with jig…

    Reply
  • KillerSugar

    April 12, 2019

    Your videos are really great. Well thought through and very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    Reply
  • Cecilia Kern

    April 12, 2019

    wow, this was incredibly helpful. Thank you!

    Reply
  • garry smythe

    April 12, 2019

    brilliant colin as always, just one small suggestion, if each outward face had a coloured referance (tape maybe) and each joint was colour referanced, I think the understanding of your video would be idiot proof, I should know, I'm that idiot lol, keep posting Colin and once again, a big thanks. from Garry from the UK

    Reply
  • John Considine

    April 12, 2019

    Thank you for posting this. I'm about to buy a used one and it's great to see how to use it, you have given me confidence. I'd like to see the through dovetail template, and also how to make box comb joints.

    Reply
  • Andrew Church

    April 12, 2019

    Best explanation that I've seen on u tube

    Reply
  • Jim Ellison

    April 12, 2019

    I am learning how to make a dove tail joint—- this vid was REALLY a lot of help… Thank You!!

    Reply
  • Mauro Dis

    April 12, 2019

    Very very beautiful. The best video over CMT 300 I saw.

    Reply
  • Tom c

    April 12, 2019

    Best tutorial I have seen on this, legend.

    Reply
  • Martin Blomberg

    April 12, 2019

    Hi! Thanks so much for the tutorial! I just bought a simple jig from Lee Valley but I can't figure out how to make through dovetails. Do you know anywhere I can find a similar video on that with a jig like this? Thanks again!!

    Reply
  • David Brigden

    April 12, 2019

    Congratulations on the correct spelling of 'through'. 🙂

    Reply
  • mohamed ibrahim

    April 12, 2019

    hi, i'm from egypt and i want to ask you how much does it cost ? [email protected]

    Reply
  • Alexander Schrepfer

    April 12, 2019

    How many degrees is your dovetail bit?

    Reply
  • sunil shukla

    April 12, 2019

    Nice Explanation and detail Video , Thanks

    Reply
  • Geoff Semon

    April 12, 2019

    Nice clear video. Glad I bought a Gifkin jig. So much easier to use for dovetails

    Reply
  • 莊政勲Buddha

    April 12, 2019

    <3

    Reply
  • Aaron Chambers

    April 12, 2019

    Thanks very much. Extremely helpful.

    Reply
  • Norman Ridgley

    April 12, 2019

    Thanks.  Getting back to woodworking and was trying to remember about the commercial jig I purchased a long time ago.  Also, liked your later video on box joints. First rate.

    Reply
  • Loris Matheny

    April 12, 2019

    Thank you for your detailed explanation. I have been afraid to attempt dovetails. With your help I am ready to do it.

    Reply
  • Anton Bouchette

    April 12, 2019

    Damn, this guy is jittery and nervous.

    Reply
  • Reggin Amabo

    April 12, 2019

    Don't understand why the RIGHT Side needs to be different than the LEFT Side ???

    Reply
  • navanarun

    April 12, 2019

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • eye brows

    April 12, 2019

    I own a Trend (UK) router, table and dust collection unit so it made sense to purchase the dovetail jig as well. It looks identical to one you are using so might pay to check out the through dovetail jig to see if it will fit your unit.
    After watching your video a few times and making a couple of dummy runs with scraps I have just made my first project of a shelf unit (four sides) with inlay shelves. Pleased so far thanks to you and the clear instructions from the video (also the tips)……eye

    Reply
  • Bill Parker

    April 12, 2019

    Hi could anybody PLEASE if they have one see if a 16mm guide will fit in the jig I know it says 5/8" but I can only buy 16mm locally in a sealed packaging so can not try it and 5/8" = 15.875 so it is very close Thank you.

    Reply
  • Bill Parker

    April 12, 2019

    Hi I watched this video and found it so interesting that I went and bought a second hand jig but the s mark is not on it could anybody please give me the distance from tip of the fingers to the s mark Please.
    Cheers
    Bill

    Reply
  • Chris Wilson

    April 12, 2019

    Thank you. This has been of more use than frustrating hours of mistakes following MLCS manual's instructions accompanied by poor photos of setup. Could I ask that you show your technique marking up the drawer pieces for routing (beehive box, in my case)? And loosening or tightening the dovetail joints… Thanks again

    Reply
  • Richie Thewles

    April 12, 2019

    Thanks colin, another great video,you've taken a lot of the mystery out of that jig, finally going to have a go at the weekend. Richie.uk.

    Reply
  • WoodenCreationz

    April 12, 2019

    Thank you for explaining all this. The instructions that came with the craftsman jig from the late 80's left me in the dark. This came in very handy. Now off to the shop to make some dovetails.

    Reply
  • D P

    April 12, 2019

    Thanks for the video's and information.  Have had a dovetail jig for a few years now and its been collecting dust.  Instructions are lousy for it as well.  Heading down to shed now to play around with it.. Thanks again.

    Reply
  • Michael Larsen

    April 12, 2019

    Very nice , video…. thx from Denmark…  (in Danish : meget fin video – tak fra Danmark)

    Reply
  • Carlo Astone

    April 12, 2019

    bravo

    Reply
  • Sunil Dixit

    April 12, 2019

    Very informative video. I have just bought my first Jig from MLCS which came with both through and half blind dovetail templates.  I will keep your video handy when trying !.  Thanks for a great tutorial…

    Reply
  • Kenneth Fjelde

    April 12, 2019

    Is it possible to use this jig as a finger/box joint jig ?
    Thanks for all your videos!

    Reply
  • Warren P Clark

    April 12, 2019

    Today, I watched the video then went to the workshop and unpacked my Harbor Freight dovetail machine for the first time. I found no manual, but I managed to complete my first dovetail joint. There is no way I could have done this without the video. Thank You.

    Reply
  • Warren P Clark

    April 12, 2019

    I have a good bit of butternut wood that has been planed to 5/8 inch (unfortunately). I am thinking of planing it down to 1/2" and making jewelry boxes. If I put half inch stock into your jig, would I end up with full depth dovetails rather than half blind? 

    Reply
  • Andrew McIntire

    April 12, 2019

    great video! I've had a jig for two years and have not been able to get usable results until I watched this video.  THANKS!!!!!

    Reply
  • Daniel Smith

    April 12, 2019

    thanks for this vid!

    Reply
  • Charles Jackson

    April 12, 2019

    Finally FINALLY KISS (Keep it simple stupid) finally somebody has explained dove tail jigs that didn't sound like "mumbo jumbo" THANKS

    Reply

Leave a Reply