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Workshop tip: Dovetail sled makes brief work of pins

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It is a fundamental crosscut sled with a twist: It has a pivoting fence that delivers clear, exact cuts for dovetail pins in minutes, with no difficult structure. All you have to information your cuts are centerlines; the sled does the remainder.

dovetail sled construction


The fence pivots on a hex head bolt at one finish and on the different has a sliding barrel-bolt latch—obtainable at any ironmongery store—which drops right into a collection of holes for cuts at totally different angles. Begin with the fence at 90°, and place the workpiece so certainly one of your centerlines aligns with the sting of the blade farthest from the pivot level. Clamp the workpiece there. Then merely pivot the fence ahead and again to chop either side of that pin. There are two units of holes in every path—one for 1:8 dovetails and the opposite for 1:6.

using a dovetail sled

The sled tends to make slim pins within the conventional fashion, and the slim finish is all the time the identical width, whatever the thickness of the board, given the identical blade thickness and the identical chopping angle. With a 3/32-in.-thick “thinkerf” blade, the slim ends might be 3/32 in. extensive on the 1:8 angle and 5/32 in. on the 1:6 angle.

angled cuts on dovetail sled

For fatter pins, add a spacer board behind the workpiece to push it farther from the fence axis—or use a fair thinner blade. For narrower pins, use a standard-kerf (1/8-in.) blade.

finishing dovetails on sled

To construct the jig, begin with any tablesaw crosscut sled. Make a 1-1/2-in.-thick fence, middle the sliding-bolt latch on one finish, and drill a comfortable gap for a hex bolt precisely 24 in. from the middle of the latch bolt. Insert a T-nut within the base under the hex bolt gap to safe the pivoting finish.

whole and half pins on dovetail sled

You’ll must drill holes for a collection of fence stops. First mark and drill a gap within the sled in order that the barrel latch will maintain the fence sq. to the sawblade. To arrange the angle stops, measure 3 in. and 4 in. from the 90° axis, back and front. Rotate the fence till the middle of the latch bolt precisely aligns with every of the traces and drill holes for it there. As a result of the fence is basically 24 in. lengthy, the 3-in. and 4-in. offsets produce the above-mentioned dovetail angles.

—PAUL WILLIARD, Windfall, R.I.

Illustrations by Dan Thornton
From High quality Woodworking situation #292

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