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I finally got a chance to use my Kehoe jig tonight, aka the dovetail spline jig available from our faithful moderator, Texas Timbers. I bought it awhile ago, so the easiest thing to do was watch the video link on this site. That refreshed my memory.
The video is a little bit easier to understand than just reading the directions. Between the two of them, it is a pretty easy setup to use. The video shows you how to center the jig on the corner of your project and how to use a small scrap of wood as a story stick so you can easily duplicate your dovetails on each corner of your project without having to keep measuring. I'm all for that.
The jig fastens on with a couple of spring clamps, which came with the kit. I used a third clamp only because I couldn't put the other two clamps exactly where I wanted to because it would have interfered with the two slots I was using on the jig. There are a couple of sandpaper strips adhered to the inside of the jig to help keep it from slipping. The jig stayed in place and was simple to move from corner to corner.
I used one of the two dovetail bits that came in the kit. It was the smaller of the two, 1/2", with a 14 degree angle. It also has a 5/8" guide bearing on the shaft, which is what rides in the slots of the jig. If you wanted to use your own bit without a bearing, you could do that, as long as you have a 5/8" guide bushing to use in its place. There is no pre-determined depth for your router bit. You basically mount it and set the depth so the bearing just stick out of your base. I tried it on a scrap piece of wood I had just to see how it works and how deep the dovetail would be.
It took less than ten minutes to cut three dovetails in each of the four corners, and I was taking my time at that. The slots in the jig are made in such a way that you start the router on the left side, cut throught the wood, and then move it over slightly and come back down the right side. This provides a 1 degree taper in your slot. The only thing you have to be careful not to do is lift the router up while it is still in the cut. You will ruin your dovetail in that slot if you do.
There is a small table saw sled in the kit for cutting your splines. Basically you clamp or screw it to your miter gauge, making sure the miter guage is at a true 90 degrees to the slot it rides in. You then angle your sawblade to whatever angle your dovetail bit is. I set my saw at 14 degrees. There are a couple of strong magnets that you place in front of the sled to be used as a stop, so you don't go to far and cut the sled in half. There is a slot in the base of the sled that you straddle your sawblade with. This should be done and then you clamp the sled to your miter guage. Pretty simple way to locate it. There is another pair of magnet fastened to a small stick of wood that you use as a stop once you get your size right on the splines.
You need to use some stock aprox. 2- 2 1/2" wide, with the grain going in the 2" direction. In other words a crosscut of a board. Make the first cut which will leave you with a 14 degree angle on the end. Flip the piece over, move it over aprox. the width of your dovetail, in this case a heavy half inch. Set your magnetic stop up against your piece of wood and then make your cut. Test fit it. If it's too big or too small, just bump your stop over a little bit at a time and make another cut until they fit. The other thing you want to check when test fitting is the sides of the splines in relation to the sides of the dovetails. If you see any gap at all with the spline snugly in there, you may have to adjust the angle on your saw. I had to adjust mine just a hair to get a tight fit. Then go ahead and cut as many as you need and a couple of extras just in case.
Apply some glue to the dovetail and a little bit to the spline and insert them one at a time. I used a rubber carving mallet to tap them in. A few light taps are all that are needed to seat the spline. Don't beat the hell out of it or you may crack your wood. Let is sit overnight and cut most of the excess spline material sticking out with your bandsaw or a handsaw. Use an orbital sander to sand whatever is left sticking up.
All in all, the jig worked well, is simple to use, and provides a neat way to strengthen corner joints and add some neat decoration at the same time. Here's some pics to go along with it. I will cut the excess off tomorrow and sand everything flush, and then post a few more pics.
Thumbs up on this one.:thumbsup:
Mike Hawkins;)
 

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where's my table saw?
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Great job Mike

Those are nice tight miter joints there guy. What wood did you use for the splines? Nice combination of woods. :thumbsup: That's a cool jig too. I think we all should have one of those. I keep threatening to get one, maybe I'll have to now! :yes: A few more pictures with the splines sawed off to see the contrast....Thanks, bill

BTW, this would make a nice box for the family Bible, since I don't smoke, drink, lie, cheat or gamble....:laughing:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Woodenthings,
The wood I uses for the splines is blood wood. Pretty dense stuff. The humidor is canary wood. The last pic with the pile of splines were the rejects that didn't fit right. After tweaking the sawblade angle and width stop, I got them to fit. I probably cut up about 10" of wood in that pile, not a big deal. The only thing I did which I didn't realize till after I posted, was that I had a strip of blood wood lying around that was about 5' long and just over 2" wide. I cut a couple of pieces about a foot long off of that and made the splines. I actually cut the splines across the grain, instead of with it. I don't think in this case it will present a problem, as this blood wood is dense and very solid. It doesn't seem to have a tendency to split with the grain easily. I'll be a bit more careful next time.
Mike Hawkins;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I cut most of the excess spline material off on the bandsaw and finished up with an orbital sander. Here's a few more pics. The joints turned out nice and tight. In the third pic it looks like the dovetail angle on the top and bottom spline are flattened out or distorted. That's just from the camera angle.
Mike Hawkins;)
 

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