Dovetail Template

Dovetail Template

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Paul introduces the dovetail template that he has been making and using for over 50 years. It helps you to efficiently mark out the dovetail angle. Making it requires a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail, in order for it to be used as a reference.

33 Comments

  1. Josh on 23 February 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I made one of these, following Paul’s guidance, about a year and a half ago when I started making dovetails. I’ve used it on every set of dovetails (about 25 drawers) I’ve made since and it works great. Handy, simple to use and make. Love it!

  2. Mic van Reijen on 23 February 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Same here. The first one I made was from a piece of wood with very erratic grain which looked nice but didn’t result in repeatable angles *grin*. I’ve later made one from a piece of very nice straight oak from an old table leg and it works beautifully.

    I’m on my 4th dovetailed project (a tool tote) so lots to learn, but the template does make it easier.

  3. cbrogers on 23 February 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Would it be better to over cut the tendon cuts with the saw to leave a little area for debris to go when placing the gauge up against a surface. This way the gauge would always register against the faces solidly with no chance that an errant corner touches the inside corner of the gauge and throws the line off.

    It seems that a little gap of say 0.5-1mm or so in the inside corner of the registration faces might be a good idea.

    Carl

  4. Mark68 on 23 February 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Thank you for this

  5. phillnleblanc on 23 February 2017 at 4:58 pm

    At a time when the world is beating a path to your door, you continue to find ways to give away your knowledge and skill. Thank you.

  6. Wayne Rogers on 23 February 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you so much for all that you continue to share and make available for our development and growth.

  7. Ian Thomas on 23 February 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you for this Paul.

  8. beach512 on 24 February 2017 at 12:14 am

    Great demonstration. The video quality is superb along with the new lighting. Makes it very nice to watch. Thanks.

  9. David B on 24 February 2017 at 1:26 am

    I like this version compared to the other video of you out there making one in 10 minutes for a small group. I learned something important while watching this video–and I love that you really get people to think about wood and engaging the senses and it has gotten me to think more about the process and how and why the wood behaves when tools are applied. Anyway, it dawned on me while you were paring the cheeks that you were chiseling across the grain. For whatever reason, I’ve been paring down the grain of the cheeks, not even thinking about it. Then I noticed you paring cross-grain and I had to stop an think about how that might impact the output. Sure enough, a few minutes later you pared down grain and quickly stopped when you noticed you were going against the grain (which I assume would mean a high risk of tear-out or an otherwise flawed face), and returned to cross grain cutting. Lesson learned.

    I also noticed a minor scratch on your hand and I wondered what your worst injury ever was–and if it was with a hand tool or a power tool?

    Thanks for all of the videos. You are a tremendous resource.

  10. bobnt on 24 February 2017 at 2:12 am

    I love the template, I use it as much as a small square as I do for dovetails. Thanks Paul

  11. jasonz on 24 February 2017 at 3:08 am

    I’ve been waiting for this. Always seemed so simple but I could never get it right!

    Thank you Mr Sellers

  12. ramisdom on 24 February 2017 at 3:38 am

    Great template Paul. I still have my first one, fashioned back in 2005 when you and Joseph were here in Texas. I’ve made a number of them in cherry, walnut, white oak and keep them spread around my shop, handy at all times. Came in handy once more on my fourth set of bookends this week. Thanks for the continued kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (per Paul in Colossians 3:12).

  13. tobiasbilger on 24 February 2017 at 6:02 pm

    i am going to make me one, thank you!

  14. Farred on 26 February 2017 at 2:44 pm

    At the risk of sounding like a heretic, Rob Cosman has a handy dovetail marker as well that I made and have used for years. It incorporates both 1/6 and 1/7 slopes.

  15. David B on 13 March 2017 at 10:13 pm

    I would say that if you are not currently paying, you are not able to access any of the paid content. As far as downloading videos, I think you are only allowed to download videos that are released while you are paying–nothing prior to, as that would encourage someone to sign up, download everything and then cancel, depriving Mr. Sellers and team of the financial rewards that they have worked so hard to get (while providing such a great service to us). If you have cancelled your membership and then re-instated it, I imagine you have just restarted your clock at zero.

  16. Anthony Windross on 19 April 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Just finished 1st attempt at the dovetail template 7/10 i think. Used Oak but one edge split with the grain, will try again using another stock. i have Chestnut do you think it is suitable?

  17. ryan carr on 10 May 2017 at 3:51 pm

    what degree of an angle did he use?

    • Mike Kreinhop on 27 May 2017 at 11:16 pm

      Finally…I get to use my Trigonometry. With a 1:7 ratio, the angle is 8.13 degrees, but I think 8 degrees is close enough.

  18. Roy Richardson on 16 November 2017 at 10:44 am

    I didn’t know it off the top of my head either, but 1/3 of 7/8 inch is 0.2916666666666667 inch, I would think 0.291″ is probably close enough. 7.391mm rounded to 7.4mm maybe.

  19. Tad on 3 February 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Who else stopped to figure out what 1/3rd of 7/8 was when it came up in the video? Yes, I have to omit I did, For those who are able to stay more focused, I’ll save you the effort, it is 7/24th. Now, try and find that on a tape measure?
    I am continually reminded of the need to switch to the metric system here in the states

    • Craig on 3 February 2018 at 6:52 pm

      Tad,
      Why torture yourself.
      Draw a straight line, measure over 7/8 inch, draw a parallel line. Place a rulers 1 inch mark on the first line set the 4 inch mark on the second line and mark at the 2 inch mark.
      Set the marking gauge to the distance between the first line and the 2 inch dot.
      Took about 30 seconds.

      Bobs your uncle
      Craig

      • prbayliss on 4 February 2018 at 3:43 am

        Craig,

        But why torture yourself 🙂

        You could just set your marking gauge to what looks to be 1/3 of the thickness.

        Fanny’s you’r aunt
        Paul

  20. David B on 3 February 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Some retain maths better than others! ;). You could decide fractions, sure, but as you point out, the resulting measurement is not easily transcribed from a ruler of any kind. But Craig is right, the easiest approach by far is to simply do rise/run and connect the points. The correct angle will take care of itself.

  21. Larry Geib on 4 February 2018 at 10:45 am

    “I am continually reminded of the need to switch to the metric system here in the states”

    I’m reading my metric calipers.
    I have no idea how to use it to divide 22.225 mm in Thirds.
    That’s what is equivalent to 7/8”.

    Maybe you can tell us how the metric system makes this easier.

    • Peter George on 4 February 2018 at 4:13 pm

      I don’t think we’re looking at exact measurements here. Paul says about a third. So for 7/8th stock, that would be 1/4 inch plus a bit. If you want exactly 1/3rd then there are ways of doing that with geometry: no measurement required.

      It’s the same with the dovetail angle. The angle is not critical as long as it’s the same on the pins and tails.

      In my view, the difference between hand work and machine work is just this. The exact measurement in inches or centimeters is not important. The joints and pieces of the project are sized to fit rather than being machined to a thousandth of an inch.

      • wrstew on 10 January 2019 at 6:22 pm

        Peter, I agree you on the degree of accuracy required for this project. TLAR= that looks about right is what I have noticed in many of these videos. If you have a gauge that is equally made on both sides it’s correctly made. Life’s too short to get the slide rule and micrometers out for a hobby in wood. Titanium and milling machine maybe, but not handsaws.

  22. Tom Wright on 18 March 2019 at 4:34 pm

    6″ x 2″ x 2″ Patagonian Rosewood / use of same hand tool methods as Paul Sellers. CA-glued end grain for strength against splitting. Use of such a dense, wildly figured material was an adventure, but it worked out. Just had to slow down and make sure the tools were kept sharp during the whole process. I would suggest making one first out of a softer hard wood (perhaps cherry), at 1:6, then make a 2nd one at 1:7 with a fancier, denser hardwood. Thanks to Paul Sellers for this!

  23. Michael Eleftheriou on 11 December 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Try as I may, I just can’t get the blank exactly right (cut from oak door frame): is it me, or is it hard to get small bits of wood dimensioned properly than larger ones?

    🙁

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 16 December 2019 at 9:13 am

      Hi Michael,

      Paul says:
      The smaller the component the more exacting it becomes as you don’t have a large surface of wood to register the plane against. So it could be you, if you don’t have good experience using hand planes.

      Kind Regards,
      Izzy

      • Michael Eleftheriou on 23 April 2020 at 3:12 pm

        Thanks for the reply!
        I just tried again, and the results are better this time–I think my little template is fit for purpose this time around.

        Be well,

        Michael

  24. Fernando Munoz on 16 October 2021 at 12:04 am

    I’ve been watching Paul’s content for about three years now, and it’s up to this point that I’m barely getting the courage to give this a try. I’m not very confident in my skills (specially when it comes to sharpening tools, but Paul’s the right man to encourage anyone to start into woodworking.

    Best regards from Mexico.

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