Sunday, 10 February 2013

New Dovetail Guides, Which Angles?.


Despite numerous requests I've always stuck to making my guides at approximately 1:6 (10 degrees). I'm investigating various angles with a view to producing a range of guides.
The traditional 1:8 angle is the one I get asked for most at shows, so I'll definitely be making that one. My initial thoughts were to produce a 1:4 as well although when I saw the difference 4 degrees makes I made a 1:5 sample too. As you can see there is a clear difference between them. Most of my guides have been going to the US in the last year and I know the steeper angles are more popular than here in the UK.
I don't think I'll do a 1:7 even though that was Alan Peters favourite angle.
I would be interested to hear from people as to their favourite angle.


In making these mock ups I had to work free hand without the aid of magnets, I haven't done that for a while! Now I know they're not perfect but they did go together straight from the saw and each was done in 5 minutes. I'm glad I can still saw straight!


17 comments:

  1. I usually go with 1:7 but in your examples I think the 1:6 looks best, the others could mistaken for machine cut, in my opinion!

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    1. Hi Mark, Thanks for your input, perhaps I'll think again!
      All the best, David

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  2. Hi David,

    I'm with Mark; I prefer 1:7 or even 1:8, and I'm in the U.S.! No matter though; don't tell anyone I've already made a 1:7 and 1:8 guide which closely resemble yours. After using the 1:6 guide you sent me, I was so pleased with the results, I decided to make 2 more guides. Mine only differ in the wood used. I had a bunch of Jatoba (a.k.a. Brazilian Cherry) laying around.

    Yes, and anything beyond 1:5 starts to look ugly in my opinion. A bit like the black velvet art work sold off truck tailgates or at corner lots in the summertime.

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    1. Hi Don, Thanks for your comments, I'll add your vote to the 1:7 pile! I'm glad you've made your own guides and I'd like to see some pictures of the guides and the results.
      All the best, David.

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    2. re pics, etc.: as soon as I've run them through their paces... haven't even used them yet. Just finished them last weekend.

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  3. Hi David
    When I first stared dovetailing I was cutting them at 1:8 as that was what I was shown in the evening classes I was taking , which I think look ok. But all my dovetails since then have been done with one of your guides which I thinks look just right for the boxes that I have been making and they have been selling slowly so they must look ok.
    I remember reading in one of your blogs or one of the articles that you had made a smaller size guide for using when cutting on thinner stock, this my be worth adding as I have been meaning to have a go at one myself.

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    1. Hi David, I had the same experience and I still have a wall cabinet with 1:8's on the corner, but it's been a long time since I've used this shallow angle. I'd like to see some pictures of your boxes.
      The small guide was made specifically for a very fine little hand made Japanese saw by Mitsukawa, I should really cut them free hand out of respect for the saw maker!
      All the best, David.

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  4. I prefer the 1:4 dovetail angle since it has a great mechanical lock and is actually quite pleasing to the eye. If you decide to make some in the 1:4 angle, I would definitely be happy to order one.
    Joshua Hall

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    1. Hi Joshua, Thanks very much for your input this angle is growing on me as well. As they say it's all in the eye of the beholder! Watch this space.
      All the best, David.

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  5. Hello David,i usually use 1:7 but i like your 1:5 alot when i looke at the picture.

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    1. Hi Juryaan, Thanks for your feedback, it is beginning to look like I'll have to produce all five variations! All the best, David.

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  6. I have to vote to keep the 1:6 but as for 'selling' more guides, give the customers what they want is my best advice. Having a range just offers people something to purchase in their own preference, rather than yours.

    Who's to say red is a better color than green if you know what I mean?

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    1. Hi Ian, Yes I have been rather stubborn so far, I think it's about time I catered for everyone. Thanks for your advice. All the best, David.

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  7. David, and idea for you. A guide to make sliding dovetails, for both male and female. Works off a straight reference, which the guide slides along, and the guide has magnets to keep saw at an angle. With a slight mod to your existing guide I think it will work.
    Tom

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  8. Hi Tom, I have some other applications on the drawing board but I hadn't thought of that one. Thanks for suggesting it and I'll add it to the list, All the best, David.

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  9. Hello David, I am new to dovetails and keep coming back to your site when searching for information. Thank you. I see you have a number of guides now. Personally, I think 1:8 borders on not dramatic enough and 1:4 too blocky. 1:6 is right between the two, but I have decided on 1:5. It is attractive and as an engineer accustomed to metric, the math works for me. It is very easy to layout without making mistakes.

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    1. I agree with you about 1:8, 1:5 is a good choice. All the best, David.

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