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Thread: What’s everyone’s preferred angle for hand cutting dovetails ?

  1. #1
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    What’s everyone’s preferred angle for hand cutting dovetails ?

    I know what they say about hardwood angles vs softwood angles, not concerned with that, just want to know what YOU typically use

  2. #2
    I use the angle of the Golden Triangle - 18°. It's relatively extreme but it looks good to me.

  3. #3
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    I don't think you'll find any agreement, it seems to be more of an appearance preference really.

    I, right now, like how the LV 14-degree marker dovetails look. If I space them so both the pins and tails have some heft it looks to me like I have a sturdy joint and leaves me satisfied.

    Someday I may evolve to where I'm confident, as we're told, the joint is overly strong. Then I may want to emphasize they were hand cut and switch to those sliver thin pins that seem fashionable these days. That'll be OK too (I'm sure.) Don't over think it and use what looks good to you.

    ETA: I fortunate to take a handtool class with Chris Gochnour which specified 1:6 dovetail markers in the tool list. I'm sure my 14-degree would have been fine, but I bought and used a 1:6 just in case. Those dovetails looked fine to me too.
    Last edited by David Bassett; 09-15-2021 at 11:38 AM.

  4. #4
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    Jeff, I shall repeat here what I wrote on WoodNet ...

    It is not so much the ratio (I prefer 6:1 and 7:1). It is also the width of the tip of the tail (I am not sure what to call this). And the spacing of the tails.

    In my opinion, dovetails are a part of the whole design, and they need to fit in. If you are aiming at higher end work, they are not something that one does as an after thought. In my experience, those that do not take the time to plan their dovetailing are producing more pedestrian work.





















    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 09-15-2021 at 11:33 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff vanek View Post
    I know what they say about hardwood angles vs softwood angles, not concerned with that, just want to know what YOU typically use
    Oops got the question wrong, rewrite.

    Many years ago a hardwood supplier in Emeryville/Berkeley had a pair of dovetail guides by Joseph Marples:

    Square Panel.jpg

    They are the two in the lower right corner. One is a 1:6 the other is a 1:8. My tendency is to use what is at hand.

    Of course different angles come into play when something else is being done:

    Rosewood handle & Lovetails.jpg

    More on that here > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?135061

    jtk

    The below image is extraneous.

    Fret Saws & Dovetails.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 09-15-2021 at 2:53 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys

  7. #7
    If you are copying fine period furniture use the narrow type . After 1840 ,or so they got fatter. If you are making your own modern designs,
    then it’s just your choice.

  8. #8
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    My "preferred" angle....hmmm....usually what looks "right" to me....other than a 14 degree router bit...about anything else will depend on my MK 1 eyeball. And what the bevel square comes up with...which I can adjust to suit my eye. Not really "Rocket Science" now, is it......some make them for the task needed done...others simply to show off and then proclaim theirs is the "only" way.

    Just set up a bevel gauge to an angle, draw a few lines with it..adjust the angle until it suits YOUR eye.
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  9. #9
    I like dovetails to look like dovetails so 8:1 looks little to straight for me. Never thought of using 7:1. I prefer 6:1 which is a 9.462 angle or rounded off to 9 1/2 degree angle. And 9 1/2 is close to 10 degrees so I use 10 degrees. It is easy to make your own gages and fixtures.

    DSC03405.JPG
    Last edited by Tom Bussey; 09-21-2021 at 10:31 AM.
    Tom

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