A dovetail joint is made up of a series of pins cut to extend from the end of one board interlocking with a series of tails cut into the end of another board. It is highly regarded for its resistance to being pulled apart (tensile strength) which is why it is commonly used to join the sides of a drawer to the front, and its attractiveness, allowing a feature to be made of the joint itself with an infinite number of variations.
One thing that most woodworkers can agree on is that a dovetail joint is one of the most attractive joints around, plus it’s incredibly strong. However, if you’ve ever tried cutting one by hand, you’ll know it’s also one of the most difficult. However, with a router and a dovetail jig, creating accurate, good-looking joints is within the capabilities of everyone. So what should you look for in a dovetail jig?
With a router and a dovetail jig you can cut perfectly-fitting dovetail joints easily – just so long as the dovetail jig is set up properly in the first place. What this means is that setting up to rout machine-cut dovetails is always a trial and error process. There will always be lots of test cuts on test pieces and adjusting of the jig to get a perfect fit.
There’s no shortage of dovetail jigs on the market, and it’s not always easy to pick out the best one for your needs. To help make your decision a little easier, we’ll take a look at some of the features that can make the difference between a jig that isn’t bad, and one that makes dovetail joinery the trouble-free experience it ought to be.
You may be asking yourself why do you need a dovetail jig anyway? And the answer is, if you’re as good as this guy, then you probably don’t. I get the feeling though that he’s probably done this once or twice before.