Dovetail question.

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    What is the difference between using a dovetail marker, or just taking an arbitrary measurement by eye?

    I have seen videos where people don’t mark anything, and then others where careful marking out is taken. I refer in part to Paul’s exhibition-type dovetails where he does it all by eye/feel.

    Does the angle of the tail matter, or is it just aesthetic? Is is]t recommended to use a gauge as a beginner?


    Franco, this is a good read on the subject

    Dogmatic About Dovetail Angles

    Greg Merritt

    Politics, religion and dovetail angles…all dangerous topics. The article Ken linked to pretty much covers it.


    That’s great, thanks to you both.

    Mark Armstrong

    Thanks Ken for that link.I think I have read it before still a great insight into angles of dovetails.
    Dovetail really strong joint what ever angle you use and good fit.
    What pleases your eye counts for a lot.
    I have tried pulling my test piece apart 6″x7/8″ Ash but I cannot budge it by hand. So I have no idea what kind of force it would take to break tails in other direction.

    Dagenham, Essex, England


    Franco, When I started to get serious about woodworking, dovetail joints was the first thing I wanted to prepare for. I bought a really nice dovetail jig and a router…. Needles to say I wish I had saved my money and bought a few more hand tools.. The jig had a router bit that cut a 7deg angle. and what I have found in playing around with different angles is that the les angle you have the more forgiving the joint. Paul Sellers showed a really nice idea for a dovetail marking jig and I have a couple of those now. It helps me because I’ve found if I don’t use something to guide me, the finished look of my dovetails was pretty wacky looking. They just look better in my opinion if what ever angle you decide on, be constant… I like the 15deg angle and it works well for most of my projects.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein


    Thanks for sharing that Sanford. I think I will be using a gauge for consistency too; I don’t trust my (lack of) skill at this stage.

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