Joinery. Dovetails. Finger joints. Mortise and tenon.
George asked a question
How do I keep the board orientation throughout a project, to make sure the project comes out right without redoing any part of the joinery?
It is extremely helpful to know which side of a board will be oriented to the inside of a box, once the box is assembled. When finger joints are the joinery, it is not critical, as the boards will fit no matter how the boards are assembled; the only requirement is that the finger board match the socket board. On the other hand, the craftsman must be vigilant when dovetails are the joinery. This is why properly marking the surfaces is critical.
For example, I clearly mark the outer surface of the pins boards, to ensure I place the board on the jig properly:
See the little square with the funny little triangle “below” the square? That is the way I learned to mark the boards — it is the icon recommended by Leigh in their User Guide. I learned to use this little icon on the first day I used the old D4 dovetail jig, close to ten years ago. And I still use it today, as I respond to it immediately when reading the side of the board. But about 5 years ago I also started writing the board orientation. If you thought I miscut that a board, you are correct; I started writing the orientation, because I had erased the little icon almost completely, and inserted the board wrong-side-out. Fortunately, I was able to cut off the pins off that board, and the result was a slightly narrower box (a blanket chest).
The following image will give a more complete picture (pardon the pun…) of the complete markings I use on a project — and how I re-mark the boards as I handle them, to ensure I execute the joinery properly:
I hope this helps other woodworkers as they use their jigs. And I thank George in South Carolina for asking how I do it.
What precautions do YOU take to make sure the boards stay oriented properly?
— Al Navas