Dovetail Template Sets

Dovetail Template Set WWMC

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These dovetail templates are perfect for creating fine dovetail joints, and the method Paul has developed for making these guarantees a well-made and beautiful template for laying out dovetails accurately and repeatedly every time. They are quick and easy to make, and in this set, you have the opportunity to make three different angles at the same time.


  1. Mic van Reijen on 29 May 2020 at 3:27 pm

    And I’m sure prying one loose from the bed gives you a great sense of achievement..

  2. James Kleineck on 29 May 2020 at 3:30 pm

    This is fantastic! I literally was just starting to make one last night as I following along Woodworking I and II. Thanks for the timely post!

  3. eric cartman on 29 May 2020 at 4:17 pm

    3D printing is nothing ! – I can materialize these things out of mid-air by means of mystic mental powers. However, if you cannot, then Mr Sellers’ gentle, generous, handmade woodwork process is a VERY worthy substitute.

  4. Austin Conner on 29 May 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Mr. Sellers, what was used to “stamp” the pitch angles onto the faces of the templates? Assuming they were stamped and not handwritten.

    • peterjonespipeorgans on 29 May 2020 at 8:42 pm

      To Austin Conner: You can buy steel number and letter stamps for this purpose. I have used a set of numbers for years and found them very useful: stamp in the number, then fill in the outline with a sharp pencil, and it is there, permanently.

    • Paul Sellers on 30 May 2020 at 9:26 am

      They were handwritten, Austin.

  5. TimB on 29 May 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Mr Teroo, are you spamming us?

  6. Jonas Ericson on 29 May 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for this and other videos.
    I wonder however about the ratios 1:6 – 1:8.
    When I measure on my old furnitures, the dovetails all ends up somewhere between 1:4 and 1:5, never higher than this. Is there a reason to deviate so much from the traditional ways? Mine have obviously served my family for four generations without failing.

    • Bill Anderson on 29 May 2020 at 11:13 pm

      Yes, I’ve noticed this as well and wondered why.
      I vaguely remember reading somewhere saying it was a cultural thing: so a cabinet makers from different parts of Europe were trained to make different angles as the “correct” way. Perhaps the woods commonly available in the region work better with certain angles.

      • Jonas Ericson on 30 May 2020 at 5:44 am

        Seems plausible. Pine, birch and oak are the most common woods used in Sweden, veneered in more advanced furniture. Again, I wouldn’t think this should differ very much from UK? Beech may of course be more common, but I assume woods like walnut, cherry, pear or other “expensive” species would be used as veneer also in UK? And I guess alder would call for the steeper angles?

        Interesting enough are the machine-made dovetails in my kitchen drawers (1946) also 1:5.

        Let’s hope that the master himself have some ideas and time to delve deeper into this issue.

    • Larry Geib on 30 May 2020 at 6:07 am

      1:6 ( softwood) and 1:8 ( hardwood ) are traditional.. Those were the numbers in the Audels guide, which was the industry standard reference for almost a century. When I started in the 60’s there was a reference shelf right in the shop with the 1923 leather bound volumes on it. I only ever found the 1950’s version for myself. Same numbers.

      when you are dovetailing a hardwood to a softer secondary wood, 1:7 is sometimes used as a compromise. You don’t have to think too much and it looks good.

      Really small pins is sometime done and considered an “Elite” look for fine furniture, and 1:8 makes the small pin cutouts easier.

      But in practice , “traditional “ is anything the craftsman thought looked good. I’ve seen Chippendale with 1:5 and 1:8 angles.
      Every time I go to a furniture museum I ask the docents to open drawers to see the side. You’d be surprised what you find. Somewhere in my video file I have a picture of a Thomas Chippendale drawer side with four pins. Each pin is diferent from about 1:5 to 1:8.

      Craftsmen in the past often cut dovetails by eye without layout. Drawer sides weren’t considered something you viewed, so random tails and secondary wood were OK.

      • Larry Geib on 30 May 2020 at 6:40 am

        Here’s a file with 243 traditional dovetails,

        The “where is Waldo” are the 1:1 tails.

        • drmick on 30 May 2020 at 4:10 pm

          you will find waldo on page 4 first pictures

        • Phil Davis on 4 June 2020 at 7:05 pm

          Thanks, those were fascinating images. How things have changed, these old guy didn’t care about the quality of their joints on the inside like we do today. It seems today it’s a new religion on dovetail quality a process to be worshiped. But, these guys haha, had the scribe marks showing, deep too, all over the joint, the cuts went past their lines, etc. I found it absolutely fascinating. I would not have assumed this to be so.

          • Colin Scowen on 5 June 2020 at 12:27 pm

            I suspect that was more to do with time constraints, and the market they were selling to.
            Yes, those pieces are antique and hand made, but they may have been journeyman level, rather than master craftsman, and may have been needed by a particular date, rather than in pristine condition.
            Ford vs. Rolls Royce sort of thing. Nothing wrong with a Ford, far more affordable than a Rolls, but definitely not as well finished.

      • Jonas Ericson on 30 May 2020 at 7:05 pm

        So possibly we shouldn’t bother about templates at all, just practise our eye-sight?

        Small, tiny pins are very rare in Sweden. It rather seems like the ideal was to get tails and pins as equally sized as possible. Also when there are few pins, they are normally the same width as the thickness of the board. When you’re used to this, tiny pins looks like the craftsman has kept on cutting and cutting to get the righr angle and finally ended up in too small pins and then have to make wide tails.

        • Larry Geib on 30 May 2020 at 9:27 pm


          If you think you can pull it off, go for it. Master craftsman Franz Klausz comes from a Czech tradition of woodworking and advocates tails first layout by eye with no template.

          His results are certainly a testament that the method works. I don’t think anybody has beaten him at races at the woodworking shows, and the work is neat. He does leave a scribe line across the board, but so did many cabinet makers of renoun.

          And you will note his dovetail spacing is not of the skinny pin type, so you will be happy.
          I need lines to cut a decent tail. I keep thinking I should cut a drawer every day for a year, but I don’t.

  7. ehisey on 29 May 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Mr Teroo-
    Really, considering these are cheaper, any handtool worker already has what they need to make these, they are hardly obsolete.

  8. Gcooper on 29 May 2020 at 5:18 pm

    I was an Engine Room Artificer in the Royal Navy. Our training establishment, HMS Fisgard had the motto ‘Non Mainibus Solem Sed Corde’ – ‘Not only with the hands, with the heart.’ Mr Sellars is an exemplar of that.

  9. jurgen01 on 29 May 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Once again, very nicely done. Excellent project.

    Thank you!

  10. Terry Morley on 29 May 2020 at 6:01 pm

    And how much does the 3D printer cost that you make this with?

  11. Roberto Fischer on 29 May 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Easy, people, he’s just being ironic.

  12. Mr Teroo on 29 May 2020 at 7:24 pm

    Wow! Welcome to hissy fit central.

    Terry Morley on 29 May 2020 at 6:01 pm
    And how much does the 3D printer cost that you make this with?

    £190 incl delivery. Cheaper than the handtools, bench build cost, this method will use.

    Roberto Fischer on 29 May 2020 at 7:13 pm
    Easy, people, he’s just being ironic.

    Nope. Being deadly serious. Who are these “people” you refer to?

    Mic van Reijen on 29 May 2020 at 3:27 pm
    And I’m sure prying one loose from the bed gives you a great sense of achievement..

    It’s a guide, not a sonnet. Knowing I can reproduce it time after time, exactly the same and use the time I save to do something else makes me happy though 😉

    • peterjonespipeorgans on 29 May 2020 at 8:51 pm

      To Mr. Teroo:
      If you don’t make by hand, but rather by machine, you miss the experience and hand-practice. So you might become a skilled machine-operator but not a skilled hand-craftsman, nor will you have the satisfaction of rising to the challenge that hand-working provides.
      It is for this reason that, in my case, I always strive for perfection of finish, even when it is unnecessary, in cases in which the piece will never be seen: every attempt is a rehearsal for the time when it *does* matter.
      I presume that most people watching these excellent videos are looking to further their ability to work by hand – otherwise they wouldn’t be here.
      The 3-D printer is quicker and less bother, but far, far less versatile than a pair of skilled hands.

    • Terry Morley on 29 May 2020 at 9:04 pm

      My problem is that I have all the tools required to do this project so wgy would I spens another £190 pound and then end up with something plastic instead of some well crafted wooden templates?

  13. Rod Jackson on 29 May 2020 at 8:03 pm

    There is a satisfaction in actually shaping the wood with your own hands. The point of these projects is to create something using hand tools not to be able to crank out thousands without touching a tool.

  14. Paulo Teo on 29 May 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Mr Teroo, however many cents you get from promoting said 3D print or whatever little jolt of endorphins you get from ‘trolling people online’, you’re selling your soul very cheap.
    Your contribution does not make the world a better place.
    Try the dopamine of being kind to somebody, you’ll feel better.

    Users of Mr. Seller’s sites are not the right audience for promoting technological replacements of craftsmanship nor negative bonding anyways.

  15. grover on 29 May 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks Mr. Sellers for doing your projects not only with your hands but also with your heart.
    Keep this way

  16. paul jay on 29 May 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Not nearly as much fun though, also electrickery not required.🤔

  17. Dennis Lauritzen on 29 May 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Now that was a very educating video as always – and so many “angels” in the details. And I have to say I love the pace in your videos and how you do things more “imperfect” when explaining the details and then impressing with your accuracy when doing the bulk work showing you doing everything the same way.
    Thank you so much!

  18. pqken on 30 May 2020 at 12:06 am

    3-D printer….end product of a powdered wood or polymers…. just doesn’t cut it for me. I choose real wood.

  19. Al on 30 May 2020 at 1:26 am

    I have made a couple of the original of the dovetail templates from your older video and they work great! I really like the looks of these though and I have some cherry and maple scraps that are looking to be put to use.

    I know it is not critical, but wondering about the width and thickness the stock used. I am guessing 1″ to 1-1/4″ wide by 1/4″ – 5/16″ thick (each)?

  20. Bo Asher on 30 May 2020 at 4:03 am

    Thanks for yet another awesome project. I love these small projects like this and it’s a great way to practice and hone your skills and you get a great tool out of it. It amazes me how easily you can come up with these amazing techniques on how to do these projects. Thank you again Paul for sharing and allowing us to use your knowledge and designs. I really enjoy and appreciate it.

  21. Graeme Cook on 30 May 2020 at 4:06 am

    Nice design and demo, Paul.

    But why did you put a right angle on one side of each template instaed of angling both sides?

    • Tad on 30 May 2020 at 8:54 am

      Graeme, the 90* side is for marking the cut line on the face of the pin boards after you scribe the tails to the pin boards. You can watch Paul’s video on how to make dovetails and it will become more clear.

  22. Larry Geib on 30 May 2020 at 6:27 am

    Your 3D printer does mahogany and oak? Impressive. Post up your results.

  23. Jean-Christophe Groussin on 30 May 2020 at 10:28 am

    Thank you Mr Sellers. Thank you for re-thinking the making of the dovetails template. You could have stopped after the 2 videos already made on your original template and the numerous blogs. But not. You keep on helping us all with a new way to make it. I am loving these small “lockdown” projects.

  24. John Carruthers on 1 June 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Thank you Paul, I shall modify your technique and make a set in brass, something to put in the grandson’s toolbox for him to ‘grow into’ 🙂

  25. robertparsons81 on 1 June 2020 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks Paul ,l have just made four templates,1:6,1:7 ,1:8, and 1:9, that look and work great thank you very much .

  26. Matt Mahan on 3 June 2020 at 3:06 am

    Wow, so much to love about this video. The first of which, of course, is how Paul and the team remain committed to sharing the craft and continuing to produce great content in creative ways during these challenging times. Another part to appreciate is that, having followed Paul now for several years, he is never afraid to change up the way he goes about something or to explore a new method of creating a past project – always evolving.

    A silver lining to your one-man camera crew, Paul: the CLOSE UP shots are FANTASTIC! Getting that super close “Paul’s Eye View” would be so great in many circumstances for really demonstrating the finer techniques of handling tools.

    • Izzy Berger on 4 June 2020 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Matt,

      Thank you for the kind words, it is great to hear you’re enjoying the videos. I’ll be sure to pass on to Paul that you’re enjoying his filming too, I’m sure he’ll be very pleased!

      Kind Regards,

  27. Ermir on 3 June 2020 at 8:07 am

    Great video! Again!

    What’s the difference between beeswax and furniture polish?

    • Izzy Berger on 12 June 2020 at 2:41 pm


      Paul says:

      Beeswax is a pure wax that comes from the beehive where the bees create the wax and form them into the holes for depositing their honey in. When the honey is extracted from the wax, it leaves the wax which has no real purpose to the bees. In times past, beeswax was used to surface polish furniture. It’s not a very durable finish but it is easy to replace. To make a furniture polish from beeswax, we mix turpentine and heated beeswax together using a double burner for safety because the turpentine is volatile. Once combined, this is furniture polish.

      Kind Regards,

  28. woodturner on 4 June 2020 at 6:41 am

    Very Nice. What is the size of the wood pieces?

    • Izzy Berger on 12 June 2020 at 2:42 pm


      Paul says:

      12⅛” long 1¼” wide ¼” thick, this cuts for 3 templates.

      Kind Regards,

  29. Alec Cicciarella on 16 June 2020 at 8:33 pm

    12 minutes in Paul says to transfer the angle on the protractor to the second mark on the template bland whats the second mark the sixteenth?

    • Izzy Berger on 18 June 2020 at 4:32 pm

      Hi Alec,

      Paul says:
      This is where I transfer the angle on the opposite piece of wood, the two outside pieces will then have the same angle.

      Kind Regards,

  30. Alec Cicciarella on 16 June 2020 at 8:39 pm

    I don’t understand the step Of laying out the angles at all. Where do the angles go on what measurement and why only do one side per angle?

    • Izzy Berger on 18 June 2020 at 4:31 pm

      Hi ALec,

      Paul says:
      This first angle is going on the first piece of wood and once it’s all glued together it gets transferred around the piece on the opposite side later. This ensures that the shoulder lines are all perfect.

      Kind Regards,

  31. Julio T. on 21 June 2020 at 9:46 pm

    What a fantastic work, Paul! I must suppose that you have done all the filmation work, what gives the final result a very special value. I wonder if there is any task out there that you cannot do…

    Thank you very much, to you and to your team, for all these things, specially for your efforts in maintain WWMC even in this special and awful situation. You are the best!

  32. John Hannon on 9 September 2020 at 12:47 am

    Finished my set yesterday. Used oak and maple. I look forward to learning to use them in the other projects.

  33. Fernando Munoz on 15 April 2021 at 1:11 am

    Could anybody tell me what dimensions you recommend for the initial stock for the templates? I barely starting in woodworking and I have fell in love with the content Mr. Sellers share, but I still don’t trust enough in my skills.
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  34. Larry Geib on 15 April 2021 at 7:15 am

    Paul gives all the stock dimensions in the first minut and a half of his video

  35. Parker White on 5 November 2021 at 5:06 pm

    What is your favorite: 1/6, 1/7, 1/8?

  36. Parker White on 11 December 2021 at 11:00 pm

    Hi Mr. Paul,
    I just took Wayne Miller’s jointery class and I would like to know why you cut the tails before the pins on a dovetail? If you wanted to make a Christmas present for a certain great-grand parent who first started you in woodworking, what would you make?

  37. Benoît Van Noten on 14 December 2021 at 9:59 am

    the answer is in Paul’s blog
    “Tails and Pins – Which is Best?” dated 19 May 2013

    “more on tails and pins” dated 20 May 2013
    “more pins than tails” dated 21 May 2013
    “last tale on tails first” dated 24 may 2013

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