Dovetail Jig Question (Porter Cable) - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-09-2011, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Dovetail Jig Question (Porter Cable)

I am using a Porter Cable 42xx series jig.....well, about to use it.

I have everything set up on the router, to which I think is a good depth and with the ring guide screwed in. Wood is clamped down and ready to be cut.

I have not used this yet and am wondering how I put the router in to make the cut. If I go straight in, I will be guessing on the vertical piece, to see if I hit the guides on the jig at the perfect angle. The guides do not come that far out. I am wondering if I push the router straight down into the horizontally clamed piece of wood, so I cut straight down and align the guide on the router to the bracket on the jig. Then pull the router out to cut the vertical piece. I hope that makes sense.

I have things on hold right now so I can try and do this right. I am a rookie at dovetails, and basically new to routing.

Thanks.
Rob

Couple saws, some screwdrivers, and a box of screws.......gotta start somewhere.
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-09-2011, 11:18 PM
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Rob, is there a space to the right on the template where you can get your router seated and the guide in place to start without touching any of the wood? I typically do that or I will get down eye level with the template, keeping the bit back away from anything but the base sitting on the template straight and start that way.
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-09-2011, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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There are extra guides to the right, I guess I will try and start to the right and start sluding the router.

I made a few test runs, no good, pieces didn't even come close to fitting. Seems like the vertical piece was perfectly rounded, and the horizontal piece had the dovetail shape.

I'm hoping Im right in trying to cut both pieces at the same time. Seems like the bit will not cut the same pattern with the wood being "stacked" on to of one another.

Booklet that came with it, I can't make sense of it yet. Been searching for videos for the 1/2 blind dovetail for this model, notta yet.....

Couple saws, some screwdrivers, and a box of screws.......gotta start somewhere.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 05:28 AM
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you are clamping one piece in the vertical position, and one in the horizontal correct? I may have to break out the manual now, only done half blinds with mine, are you trying to do those or through dovetails?
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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Am trying the half blind.

I just watched a Woodsmith Woodworking seminar podcast and it showed me how it should be done. He made it look so easy.

#1 I think I had my bit set too deep. and

#2 For some reason I did not run the router along the guides, I was mistaken when I thought I had to pull it out of the grooves and route straight back.

Im headed to the lumber yard now and am going to try again later this morning. I appreaciate any feedback throough your experiences that will make it a little easier!

Couple saws, some screwdrivers, and a box of screws.......gotta start somewhere.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 07:20 AM
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grab some pine, takes some practice!
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post #7 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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This is where Im at now. Things look like they are coming together. But I cannot get them to fit together. The fit is too tight. I have tried increasing and decreasing the bit length, and tried moving the actual jig towards and away from me. Same problem over and over, the fit is too tight to lock together. Any suggestions???
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Couple saws, some screwdrivers, and a box of screws.......gotta start somewhere.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 10:06 AM
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Offhand, I'd say the bit is too deep.

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 10:09 AM
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Are you useing the bit/collar that came with the jig?
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I am using the 1/2" bit that came with it.

Just as an estimate, should my cuts/pins go across 1/2 the piece of the wood?

Couple saws, some screwdrivers, and a box of screws.......gotta start somewhere.

Last edited by musser15; 08-10-2011 at 12:54 PM.
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post #11 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 01:05 PM
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Are you lining up the line on the template with the edge away from you on your vertical piece of wood? You should be able to play with the template from there to figure out the right spot. Also are you using the bit depth stop on the left hand side of the jig?
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post #12 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Yes to both.

I started at "zero" on the bit depth and alignment spot, what was suggested. After several cuts with too tight a fit, I started playing with the depth and position of the template, seeing if I could find a right combo that may loosen up the fit.

Couple saws, some screwdrivers, and a box of screws.......gotta start somewhere.
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post #13 of 18 Old 08-10-2011, 07:51 PM
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Hi,
For Half-Blind Dovetails the total depth of your bit will be 5/8" from the base plate of your router (3/8" for the joint & 1/4" for the template = 5/8" total) this will get you very close to the sweet spot for the depth you need for the bit. The bit depth stop on the side of the jig might not be accurately set. The bit will protrude 3/8" past the bottom side of the template into your material. Once you have your sweet spot this setup will work on all thickness of material from 1/2" to 1-1/8" as the joint is referenced from the inside of the joint. I have a router that I never adjust unless changing a dull bit for a sharp one.

Your side pieces will be mounted on the front of the jig vertically & the front & rear pieces on the top of the jig. Insides facing out, outsides facing against the jig. Line them up with the line in the template.

For Half-Blind Dovetails you will machine both sides of a joint at the same time. You will do two opposite corners on one side of the jig (left side) & the other opposite two corners on the other side of the jig (right side). If you number your corners 1 thru 4 you will do 1 & 3 on one side & 2 & 4 on the other side (or ABCD = A&C - B&D).

For the narrower parts you can use a spacer of same thickness on opposite side of jig to even out clamping pressure. I cut 2 short pieces of scrap with a half-blind joint so it would not fall out when clamp was loosened. Not needed for wider parts.

For the Half-Blind dovetails the bit you should be using from your jig is a 17/32", 7 Dovetail Bit #43776PC with a 3/4" O.D. Template Guide, #42040

For centered joints (traditional half pins top & bottom) on this jig your drawer parts need to be certain sizes. This jig uses 1" increments + 1/4". Your height sizes will be for example: 2-1/4", 3-1/4", 4-1/4", 5-1/4", 6-1/4" etc. Use these guidelines for making boxes or drawers. Example: If you are making drawers & the drawer opening is 5" then you need to go down to the 4-1/4" drawer sides to fit a 5" opening with half pins top & bottom of your joint.

This drawer is 4-1/4" high in a 5" opening. It has a 1/4" bottom mounted in a dado that is 1/2" up from the bottom & is installed using under mount soft close slides. Mounting the bottom with a 1/2" recess under the drawer will hide your dado in the joint behind the bottom tail & not be seen when assembled as shown in the picture. This hides under mount slides also.
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James
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Last edited by jlord; 08-10-2011 at 08:19 PM.
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post #14 of 18 Old 08-11-2011, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thx for the informative post jlord, I will set it up and give it another go around this evening.

Couple saws, some screwdrivers, and a box of screws.......gotta start somewhere.
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post #15 of 18 Old 08-11-2011, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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OK I am getting closer. I adjusted the router depth just a tad and the pieces are fitting together, not perfectly but they are together. Also cut the wood to 3 1/4". The wood Im using isnt all that great, hoping that has a little to do with it.

I now have to figure out what pieces go with each other after the first cuts are made. I labeled my pieces 1 (1 horiz) and 3 (3 vertical) on the left side of the jig, and 2 (2 horiz) and 4 (4 vertical) on the right side. Cut those out and they fit great. I then goofed.

I switched around 1 and 3 and cut the opposite sides of them together, then cut the opposite sides of 2 and 4. Which makes no sense to me now. I need to figure out if 1 will then go with 2, and 3 with 4, or what, after the initial cuts are made. Thx for all the input.
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post #16 of 18 Old 08-11-2011, 09:05 PM
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Hi,
It's looking better.
Set your pieces up on the bench as it was put together. Mark the top edges & number both sides of each joint with same number to keep in order. Do corner #1 first with the mark for the top edge facing towards the center of the jig. The side piece is clamped vertically in the jig & the front piece is clamped on top of the jig both with the inside of your drawer facing up (I assume for example #1 corner is a front corner numbered clockwise or counterclockwise.). After machining joint put back in place on bench. Then do corner #3 placed in jig same as #1 corner. Then machine #2 then #4 on the other side of the jig with your mark for the top edge facing towards the center of the jig. Numbering each corner with same number & marking top or bottom edge will help you keep parts straight. You can even mark which is the side or front or back so you know where to clamp in jig. Mark the top clamp with fronts & backs & the vertical clamp with sides to help you keep them straight. Watch the Woodsmith podcast again & you will probably find tips you missed the first time.

James
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Last edited by jlord; 08-11-2011 at 09:10 PM.
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post #17 of 18 Old 05-24-2016, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlord View Post
Hi,
For Half-Blind Dovetails the total depth of your bit will be 5/8" from the base plate of your router (3/8" for the joint & 1/4" for the template = 5/8" total) this will get you very close to the sweet spot for the depth you need for the bit. The bit depth stop on the side of the jig might not be accurately set. The bit will protrude 3/8" past the bottom side of the template into your material. Once you have your sweet spot this setup will work on all thickness of material from 1/2" to 1-1/8" as the joint is referenced from the inside of the joint. I have a router that I never adjust unless changing a dull bit for a sharp one.

Your side pieces will be mounted on the front of the jig vertically & the front & rear pieces on the top of the jig. Insides facing out, outsides facing against the jig. Line them up with the line in the template.

For Half-Blind Dovetails you will machine both sides of a joint at the same time. You will do two opposite corners on one side of the jig (left side) & the other opposite two corners on the other side of the jig (right side). If you number your corners 1 thru 4 you will do 1 & 3 on one side & 2 & 4 on the other side (or ABCD = A&C - B&D).

For the narrower parts you can use a spacer of same thickness on opposite side of jig to even out clamping pressure. I cut 2 short pieces of scrap with a half-blind joint so it would not fall out when clamp was loosened. Not needed for wider parts.

For the Half-Blind dovetails the bit you should be using from your jig is a 17/32", 7 Dovetail Bit #43776PC with a 3/4" O.D. Template Guide, #42040

For centered joints (traditional half pins top & bottom) on this jig your drawer parts need to be certain sizes. This jig uses 1" increments + 1/4". Your height sizes will be for example: 2-1/4", 3-1/4", 4-1/4", 5-1/4", 6-1/4" etc. Use these guidelines for making boxes or drawers. Example: If you are making drawers & the drawer opening is 5" then you need to go down to the 4-1/4" drawer sides to fit a 5" opening with half pins top & bottom of your joint.

This drawer is 4-1/4" high in a 5" opening. It has a 1/4" bottom mounted in a dado that is 1/2" up from the bottom & is installed using under mount soft close slides. Mounting the bottom with a 1/2" recess under the drawer will hide your dado in the joint behind the bottom tail & not be seen when assembled as shown in the picture. This hides under mount slides also.
This is the best explanation/guidance I've come across after lots of looking and lots of dumb responses (sand, screw, keep trying, etc.). Bless you.
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post #18 of 18 Old 05-24-2016, 08:47 PM
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Wood grain orientation is important as well
The bottom picture is wrong way
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