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Safety Tips For Using Dovetail Jigs


Nov 11, 2019 #Motoring

As with any machinery, there are specific safety measures that you need to employ while operating the machine.


  • Your priority is safety for your dovetail jig and yourself. You must always be eye and hearing protection while operating the router. Wood parts are typically replaceable, but your ears and eyes are not. The dovetail jig must be set below eye level since you are at risk of having small cuttings or dust thrusting into your eyes and face, a situation that is not only dangerous but also unpleasant.
  • Ensure the dovetail is fastened to the workbench securely. The best way to clamp it firmly is by attaching it to a base which is large enough.
  • When you are routing, the jig must be protected by holding the router flat on the jig’s fingers until the machinery has come to a complete stop. When the router is lifted from the jig while still spinning, you can sustain damage to the fingers which will influence the quality of future projects, or you may have to replace the fingers. Sometimes, you will have to rout a vertical piece which is not exceeding the height of the workbench. If this is true, you’ll have to build a solid bench extension to assist in raising the jig to the required height as well as a set of plywood steps for you to stand on. Never attempt routing from a ladder since it is too unstable and can jeopardize your safety. Check out dovetail jig reviews for more information on the subject.

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Best Practices For Using A Dovetail Jig

  • The board ends must be cut precisely square otherwise, you will end up with an imperfect fit when assembling the joints.
  • If the jig has moving fingers, ensure all the finger screws are tightened, including the ones on fingers you’re not using. The vibration from the router can work them loose, and they can fall in a pile of sawdust on the floor.
  • Once the work piece is inserted in the jig, ensure it is fitted squarely and firmly against the left-hand stop. Double-check that you’ve lowered the jig’s fingers to the appropriate depth and that all the knobs are tightened. A backer board must be used behind any boards that are mounted vertically and ascertain that it is resting firmly against the work piece.
  • Thin, exotic, or sensitive woods can cause issues since they are more prone to splitting or tear-out. You can resolve this by sandwiching the work piece between two other boards to secure and protect it. Keep in mind, though; you have to accommodate for the extra width of the sandwich when you’re cutting the pin boards. You can do this by moving the fingerboard towards yourself by the thickness of the section of the sandwich in the closest proximity to the jig.
  • Keep notes of the jig’s setting for future reference when cutting dovetails. With a Leigh jig, make sure you mark the depth settings in one of Leigh’s measurement charts. Also, save the final test boards and mark them with the information used so that you can reset the bit by utilizing the test boards next time you are working with boards that have the same thickness.

By ozfetch