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  1. #1
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    May 2019
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    Canberra, Australia
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    Default Router to cut dovetail into the end grain

    I want to join 2 long pieces of wood (2m long) end-to-end with a sliding dovetail joint. The boards are too long to position on top of the bench or under the bench. I need to lay the boards flat on the bench and position the router horizontally to cut into the end grain. Is there a way to do this so that the router can make a guided cut?

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  3. #2
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    Jan 2014
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    Default

    I had a similar problem when cutting mortises and had to resort to this method. It worked fine. Home made jig to hold the timber.

    IMG_0926.jpg

  4. #3
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    Albury
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    I can't think of a way you can do this with the boards horizontal on the bench without building a fairly complicated jig. I suspect that Lappa has used a guide bushing to guide the router across the end of the board in his pic.? Like Lappa I've also used this method for mortising the end of a long board, but I just screwed the guide board to the stock. I don't remember having to stand on a ladder though.

    If you end up using this method you'd need an appropriate sized guide bushing and a piece of flat board with a slot cut in it for the guide bush to run in. Screw a piece on either side of the underside of your flat board to snugly locate the stock to be routed. Clamp the unit to the board. Cut an appropriate sized slot with a straight bit first and follow that up with the dove tail bit. Relocate the underside pieces to the flat board to rout either side of the the other piece of stock. Do some test cuts on scrap first to confirm your setup before undertaking this second step. And yes, you'll probably need to stand on a ladder.

  5. #4
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    This is the mortising jig I built. No guide bushings required - Tom will be disappointed

    Dan Phalen mortising jig

  6. #5
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    Canberra, Australia
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post
    I had a similar problem when cutting mortises and had to resort to this method. It worked fine. Home made jig to hold the timber.

    IMG_0926.jpg
    yikes! WCGW?!!

  7. #6
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    If you've got the stock clamped to the bench or some other equally sturdy item it's not as scary as it might seem. Besides, you asked how and he told you.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gawler, SA
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    29

    Question Dovetailing the end of a length

    On similar lines, I'm thinking of cutting a male dovetail across the end of a workbench (made of two banks of 10 lengths of 90x45 glued into two 90 deep x 450 wide slabs with a tool well in the centre), onto which I propose to slide the female dovetailed end cap. The intent is to allow some movement along the dovetail to accommodate expansion (using the centre tool well to take up the slack), while holding the ends in alignment. My options seem to be:
    • Hand-cutting all the 20 pieces of 90x45, hoping to get those cuts identical at both ends before gluing up the slabs
    • Jigsawing each piece to a template before gluing up
    • Routing each piece with a 50mm straight template-follower) against a template before gluing up, hand-finishing the internal corners
    • Using a jig like Lappa's with a router and dovetail bit on each piece before gluing up
    • Using a longer jig like Lappa's with a router and dovetail bit along the slab after gluing up
    • Coming up with some way of holding the 2m lengths (or slabs) at 7 to vertical so I can pass the end through the table saw (Bevel attachment on Triton workcentre?)
    • Using a circular saw with a guide rail clamped across the face of the slab to define the shoulder and cut stepped kerfs that approximate the dovetail, hand-finishing the cheeks
    • Stop pushing mud uphill and just cut a nice square tongue across the end of the slab, fitting into a square channel in the end cap


    I'm probably missing the simplest and most obvious solution: what are the thoughts of the Brains Trust?

  9. #8
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    Does it have to be dove tailed?

    Any reason you cant just half lap it, put a couple of dowels through it if necessary.

  10. #9
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    Mar 2007
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    Gawler, SA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by havabeer69 View Post
    Does it have to be dove tailed?

    Any reason you cant just half lap it, put a couple of dowels through it if necessary.
    No, that is an option. I thought the dovetail would look nice on the exposed sides, and I was hoping to avoid through-bolts or pins. Hence leaving the last of my options on the table.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  11. #10
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    To me, dovetail is the classic method. Id stick with it.

  12. #11
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    I think this could be done fairly easily...

    After the piece has been assembled mark out the dovetail and rough it out using a handsaw to define the shoulder, then chisel out the majority of the waste. To refine the edges of the tail along the full length you can construct what is essentially a big-assed scratchstock from some leftover 90 x 45; the blade could be made from any fairly thick (2mm-ish) steel plate you can find.

    The matching recess in the cap can be initially defined on the table saw and finished off with either a hand router, or a power router if you have a long enough router bit of the correct angle.

    Opinions anyone?
    Nothing succeeds like a budgie without a beak.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Default

    (ah, sheet F pisso . My long post just F'n evaporated. WTH).

    Anyway, here is a brief of what I wrote:

    I saw a Japanese Instagram I follow do this only yesterday. I'll find it and post it up.

    One solution is a circular saw on a jig to cut to the line and 95% into the corner. Chisel and saw the remaining out.

    This is the method I think might be appropriate: My Ultimate Workbench Build #7: Trials and tribulations in sliding dovetail end caps... - by RS Woodworks @ LumberJocks.com ~ woodworking community

    and here is a Benchcrafted post covering part of the job: https://www.benchcrafted.com/downloa...ndor_tails.pdf


    lp0x8fl.jpg

  14. #13
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    Mar 2004
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    Brisbane (western suburbs)
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    Default

    All you need is a bit of horizontal thinking, not a ladder. Here is the jig I used for cutting sliding dovetails on shelves, etc., back when I used the screamin' demon for such tasks - it doesn't get much simpler. Tail cutting jig red.jpg

    The sockets were cut by running the base along a fence (keep the same depth setting to maintain the fit). Ignore the straight slots in the base, they were for something else. You only need a small amount of adjustment in the fence, I gave mine a wide arc so I could hang the base in the tail vise & use it as a small router table.

    The board to be 'tailed' is clamped to the bench top with about 50mm overhanging the front and the router run along the end of the board. When cutting the tail, any error in the setting is doubled because you cut from both sides, so it can take a bit of fiddling on a matching piece of scrap to get it to fit the socket, but centering is guaranteed. A light router makes it easier to hold the thing square & flat, and there is a limit to how narrow a board you can manage comfortably with this setup.

    Use the same jig with the same bit exposure for the socket though again, setup will be a bit of a trial & error thing to get it dead centre. Pre-cutting a straight trench before running the D/T bit through will give a neater socket, but you can get away with doing the whole thing in a single pass for a small socket.

    I've moved on to doing my sliding dovetails with hand tools, so I gave the jig to a friend & with no further tutoring from me he produced a wall full of bookcases in a weekend......

    Cheers,
    IW

  15. #14
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    Default

    Are you holding the router on its side and cutting horizontally Ian?

  16. #15
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    Apr 2006
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    Hobart
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappa View Post
    I had a similar problem when cutting mortises and had to resort to this method. It worked fine. Home made jig to hold the timber.

    IMG_0926.jpg

    I did something similar to Lappa, but, rather than use a ladder, I hung it in the stairwell outside the top ballustrade. Never thought of taking pictures! But I cut dovetails on both ends of 110 shelves plus matching sliding dovetails in the stiles.

    Bookshelves.JPG

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