Now that the setup of the R9Plus jig is complete, it is time to machine through dovetails. The following steps are essential to accomplish good, tight joinery. It seems like a lot, but I have broken down all the steps you will see in the 4:47 minute video. No kidding – it takes only a few minutes to do it all — it is that simple to cut dovetail joinery. Once you try it, you will wonder why you waited so long.
OK, enough waiting. Here goes the way I did it on the video. Here is the procedure for
Through dovetails on the R9Plus
Update: I must change from a numbering sequence to bullets, as the formatting is not working properly.
- Make sure you have square work pieces. This is a requirement. You won’t be a happy camper if these are not square. Be nice to yourself, and use a “nice” wood. I would avoid white oak for the initial tests. I used walnut. Pamper yourself. Use cherry, if you feel like splurging. But don’t be overly tough on yourself for the initial tests. Later you can do it — heck, use poplar, if you feel like it.
- Mark the work pieces properly, and learn which side of the work piece faces you during machining. I will be giving a test.
- Make sure the latches are locked – always. You will fail the exam if you don’t lock the latches.
- Clamp the first work piece so it is flush with the template, and also solid against the side stop.
- With a pencil, mark the thickness of the matching work piece on the clamped work piece.
- With the eBush on the router base, mark the router base permanently with a small arrow where you wish to always have the “5” on the eBush as the starting point. Tighten the eBush with the arrow pointing to the “5”.
- With the router disconnected, adjust the router bit depth to split the line you marked in Step 5 above.
- Put on eye protection, and hearing protection. Don’t overlook safety in the shop.
- Machine the dovetails — or the pins — first, if you prefer. It’s your call.
- How closely to splitting the line did you get? It you split it nicely, add 100 points to your score.
- Did the backer board prevent tearout? Are the cuts nice and neat?
- Great! Keep going.
- Undo the latches, and remove the template.
- Rotate the template 90°, and insert the latches in the key holes on the rear of the template. Don’t do like I did…I felt silly for not paying attention; one ended on the rear, and one on the front…
- Now clamp the other work piece in place, using the same steps: flush under the template, and snug against the side stop.
- Using the part you machined earlier, mark its thickness on the new work piece now clamped in place.
- Change router bits, and adjust the router bit depth to split the line you marked above.
- Put on eye and hearing protection.
- Machine the pins — or tails — this time. Take your time, and make sure you machined all.
- OK, take a breather. I did. Remove the work piece from the jig.
- Try assembling your first dovetail joint made with the R9Plus. How does it fit? Too loose? Too tight?
- The fit of the joint can be micro-adjusted using the eBush provided with the R9Plus.
- This is the reason you marked an arrow on the router base: Turn the eBush clockwise to make the joint tighter; or counter-clockwise for a looser fit. Which way to turn is marked right on the eBush.
- I normally tighten or loosen in 2-division increments (0.004″ for each cut, or 0.008″ total joint fit adjustment) following my very first try. Much of the time that is all that is required to fine tune the final and “perfect fit”.
Let me know what you think
- Does it look easier to make dovetail joinery with the R9Plus than with your jig?
- Which jig do you now use to make dovetails?
- If you don’t currently have a dovetail jig, will you now consider buying this one, given its nice price point?
— Al Navas