Welcome to part 2 of our Getting Jiggy With It series. Today we’re going to make a Dove Tail jig for the table saw.
I was inspired by the plans found at the Rockler Website, you can find them here.
To help you on your journey of putting this together, I’ve created the following for you!
Here’s a cut list, based on a single sheet of 1/2″ plywood. You can actually pick up 2′ x 4′ sheets at your local big box home center, which is all you need for this project.
Cutting all the pieces
The first step on this jig journey is to cut all the wood.
I had enough ½” plywood to cut most of the pieces.
To cut the triangles, I set up two stop blocks on either side of the saw to give myself some safe distance, and then eyeballed the centerline.
I didn’t have enough ½ inch plywood to do the ramps so I actually just followed the instructions from Rockler and used ¾ inch plywood.
To get the 8-degree taper, I simply took my 2” x 14” ramp piece and drew a line from the bottom point of one side to the top point of the other side. This gives me a close enough to an 8-degree angle to accomplish the task here.
I then popped the wood onto my tapering jig and ran it through the saw.
Click the link to learn how to make your own tapering jig. It’s really easy!
After a light sanding, it’s time to put it all together.
In the long run, using the ¾ inch ply to do the ramps was probably better.
In the long run that’s probably the better idea to get to that 1.5” thickness. Gluing three boards together is a lot riskier than gluing 2 together.
The rest of the assembly is pretty straight forward. Here’s a color coded layout to help you out:
At this point, it’s just gluing, and in some instances nailing everything together.
I just eyeballed the location of the triangle braces, I needed to account for the opposite side braces, as well as where my kerf cuts would land. You’d think I’d be a little more methodical about measuring that out, but, I like to guess once in a while. It keeps things spicy.
The ends of the pin fence pieces were cut at 8 degrees on the table saw, to match the 8-degree pitch of the tail fence on the other side.
To make the miter bar I used a piece of 1×4 that I had laying around. The 1×4 is actually ¾” x 3.5”, so it fits perfectly into the miter slot with very little wiggle.
I just used a few screws to hold the miter bar on just in case I want to swap it out later.
First cut and blade protector
To identify where the blade will meet the wood, I ran the empty jig through on all four sides to get registration marks. This will help out when I put my stock wood on to cut the tails and pins.
Another important safety tip is to add some 2x4x4 blocks to the blade exits. This will keep you safe as you’re running wood through the jig.
I had some 1×4 pine laying around so I decided to use that for my test.
I started with the pin board, finding center, and then drawing two, one-inch tails to cut out. Leaving the pins behind.
Also, the height should be the thickness of your tail board, not some arbitrary height.
Learn from my mistakes.
To get my blade height correct, I used a scrap of ½ plywood left over from my base, put my 1×4 on top, and then raised my blade to the line.
Here goes nothing.
Note that you shouldn’t cut on the line, cut close to the line. This makes joining the boards later on easier, allowing you to get a closer fit with the chisels.
Once I got as far as I could on the left side, I moved everything to the right and repeated until all the wood I needed to remove was gone.
Time for the tails.
To mark those out, you just place the pin board onto the tail board, and with a sharp pencil, trace the pins.
Then mark them out on the board so you know which ones to cut out on the jig.
Oh, and again, the thickness should be the thickness of the board.
This is where I first noticed my screw up. Womp womp.
Cutting these out is pretty much the same as before, except you’re doing it at an angle.
The same rules apply though. Don’t cut on the line, just proud of the line.
When you go as far as you can, switch to the other side.
Now with just some clean up, everything should go together…
Welp. It didn’t go as planned that’s for sure.
The cuts were ragged and uneven, and when the two pieces of wood were joined together it just didn’t look right.
I’m going to try a few things if I decide to pursue this:
- Get a better miter bar. The current one is wood and it kept jamming up as I slid the jig on the deck. I think 90 percent of my issues came from this. If I upgrade to a metal or plastic miter bar I’ll probably achieve more stable slides.
- Upgrade my saw blade to a flat top or grind blade, this makes a nice smooth flush cut that will make fitting the pieces together much nicer.
Let me know if you decide to give this a go. Send me pics and let me know about your journey and if you faced the same issues I did. And if you have any tips on how to improve the cuts, please let me know in the comments below!
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