Shop Made Dovetail Jig

I was very intrigued by this shop made dovetail jig I found in a past ShopNotes Magazine, (Issue 43) so I just had to build one. The plans called for 1/2 inch phenolic for the fingers. (An alternative is to used hardwood.) I thought the phenolic was very cool so I went with that. I was not possible to purchase it locally in small quantaties so I went to my old standby…eBay. What a great material! Very hard and durable and easy to machine.

Dovetail Jig Pins 2 - Crop

The instructions for setting up and using the jig called for using two stops, labled “A” and “B”. To be honest, I don’t understand the instructions. They are vague and ambiguous at best, IMHO. Instead, I just used the “A” stop for both sides of the board to cut the pins and then the tails in the same way. It worked great! I just really wish the setup instructions were better. I’m sure there is a good reason for the “B” stop.
Dovetail Jig Tails - Crop
In the ShopNotes plan, the author used cherry, way too precious of a species for me to use for a jig. I used 3/4 inch plywood for the base and red oak for the pressure bars and stops. I already had the red oak that purchased from Home Depot for a kitchen trim project years ago. The plywood was acutally a red oak ply that was on sale for 50% off at Lowes. I bought it 6 months ago just because it was so cheap. I also figured that plywood would be better for the base because it is so stable. It seems to me that wood movement would not be good on a precision jig.
Dovetail Jig Tails 2 - Crop
The knobs were made from some hard maple and cherry I had left over from another project. It was already glued up in that alternating pattern. (I would not have gone through that much trouble for shop made knobs.) I cut the hexagon pattern using the method I posted in Tips and Tricks. Then I drilled a counter bore with a forstner bit a little smaller than the nut and a through hole for the threaded rod. I hammered the nut in place for a very tight fit. (This method does not work well with red oak, it split the knob in half.)
knob in dovetail jig