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Dumb idea doing half blind dovetails. Why would anyone start there! Sheesh! Just setting yourself for frustration and failure. 

On the bright side, my workshop is set up and looking good. I feel like doing stuff in it.

I also had a reminder that you can spend as much time searching the internet for products but when it comes to buying there are only 2 things in stock anywhere and your choice is the less of two evils. '20/'21, like living in a country town in the 70's as far as purchases go.

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On 12/31/2020 at 1:08 AM, Steiner said:

  Precision is key, you'll want a commercial jig.  Even then watch out!  The first jig I used took days to tune in the bit height.  0.001" height difference is enough to change a tight fit to a sloppy fit.  Too loose with the router collet and the bit will move, too tight and the collet will fail; you need to be right in the sweet spot (i.e., experience).  I also learned - the hard way - that the pressure you place on the router will change the joint's fit.

If you use pine, make sure it's OLD!  Pine (a four letter word in my vernacular) has a tendency to load up on tooling which changes dimensions and burns!  When you work it, it smells like PineSol, uck...

The end result is well worth the journey.  The effort will stay with you the rest of your life.

This is all really hitting home after a couple of days of practising.

Bit height, pressure, new pine. Ive been chasing my tail every new attempt. The bit Im using has a deeper cut than I want on the finished product but I have a weeks wait before a couple of shorter cut bits turn up in the mail, so Im just doing practice runs with the deeper bit and fine tuning technique and set up as I go.

Pine is a pain in the neck, Im going to try a tighter grain hard wood.

What jig did you use?

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I started out with a Harbor Freight $40 fixture.  It's quite good considering the price.  I used it on multiple projects with a 1/4" 14 degree bit.

Pine (there's that four-letter word again) splinters and splits Real easy especially when freshly milled and dried.  I'm sure you'll have much better success with hardwoods.  Maple is an economical wood that machines well - especially if it's NOT curly (flamed). 

You do know that every dovetail bit has a few depths that work.  The depth is based on how far apart the jig's fingers are.  Should you find it necessary to buy a Leigh 24" jig, you can set the distance between fingers.  The fixture, with a few add-on goodies are only about US$1,000...  Most jigs come with a "ballpark" bit depth.  if you let me know what fixture and bit you're using, I can calculate the proper depth.  Bottom line, increase the bit length (exposed bit length beyond the router platen) to tighten and reduce the length to loosen.

Just because I can.  Here are some of my favorite corners and the cabs I built for a Fender Concert:

 

20200212_210007-Sm.jpg

DSC_2085-Sm.jpg

DSC_2129-Sm.jpg

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4 hours ago, Steiner said:

I started out with a Harbor Freight $40 fixture.  It's quite good considering the price.  I used it on multiple projects with a 1/4" 14 degree bit.

Pine (there's that four-letter word again) splinters and splits Real easy especially when freshly milled and dried.  I'm sure you'll have much better success with hardwoods.  Maple is an economical wood that machines well - especially if it's NOT curly (flamed). 

You do know that every dovetail bit has a few depths that work.  The depth is based on how far apart the jig's fingers are.  Should you find it necessary to buy a Leigh 24" jig, you can set the distance between fingers.  The fixture, with a few add-on goodies are only about US$1,000...  Most jigs come with a "ballpark" bit depth.  if you let me know what fixture and bit you're using, I can calculate the proper depth.  Bottom line, increase the bit length (exposed bit length beyond the router platen) to tighten and reduce the length to loosen.

Just because I can.  Here are some of my favorite corners and the cabs I built for a Fender Concert:

 

20200212_210007-Sm.jpg

DSC_2085-Sm.jpg

DSC_2129-Sm.jpg

Yeah, I got a version of the Harbor Freight jig and 14mm bit. Same, just rebranded. I finally got a neat set of joins and repeated it, depth and tightness. I used Jarrah timber for practice runs in the end, a bit tough to work with but no chipping and spitting bits out at me .

I almost grabbed the Leigh jig but because Im at the start of this journey I had a reluctance to jump right in. I will use the cheaper jig for other projects, I can see its worth once I have become more proficient using it.

You do great work! Would love to hang out in your workshop with you and try to learn a bit.

 

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11 hours ago, JeffB said:

Yeah, I got a version of the Harbor Freight jig and 14mm bit. Same, just rebranded. I finally got a neat set of joins and repeated it, depth and tightness. I used Jarrah timber for practice runs in the end, a bit tough to work with but no chipping and spitting bits out at me .

I almost grabbed the Leigh jig but because Im at the start of this journey I had a reluctance to jump right in. I will use the cheaper jig for other projects, I can see its worth once I have become more proficient using it.

You do great work! Would love to hang out in your workshop with you and try to learn a bit.

The Harbor Freight jig was the one that taught me about pressure varying the fit.  After a week of trial and error, my wood shop mate couldn't get it to work while I could.  Once we got that sorted out we went ahead and made a number of cabinets.  You can make "corners" like the top right (white) ones in the examples above with the HF jig.  It almost doubles the effort and increases the chance of producing nothing more than scrap.  Leigh has a reasonably priced jig that lays flat on the router table.  It alleviates the pressure issue but creates a new set of challenges.

The Best investment I made was was the Wixey gauge below.  I use it to set the bit height.  I burned out two dovetail bits on a recent project; the only way to continue with a new bit is to have an accurate and consistent bit height.  It cost US$60 and saved me from scrapping US$800 in materials.

Anytime you can make it to the wood shop, Tully, you will be welcomed with open arms.  Don't stop by on our day off; that's when we celebrate Christmas...

Wixey WR200 Digital Height Gauge with Fractions

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16 hours ago, LK155 said:

Wow.  Fabulous work.  Or, as Pressure would say, fab work.

 

Thanks!

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