Hand Tools Archive

Thoughts on the C. Schwartz Dovetail Ruler trick *PIC*

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
In the recent Popular Woodworking Chris Schwartz states a seldom discussed point, namely, that it can be harder to successfully transfer the dovetail pattern from tail board to pin board than it is to saw it. Amen to that insight. He then describes what I think is a better approach to dovetail marking than the cut-a-rabbit- on-the-end approach, a tedious solution at best. I used the approach described for the last chest of drawers I made except I clamped the “rabbit-making- strip” rather than nailing it. It works as advertised. Clamping has the advantage that the alignment of the strip with the base line can be adjusted by tapping it with a hammer. But if one can successfully nail without skidding, nailing will be faster.

However! I am facing making 18 drawers for the spice boxes, 72 dovetail joints. I need a reliable marking procedure that is quicker. I think I found it and it may be transferable to be built into the Moxon vise that some use. (I haven’t thought that through )

Picture 1 and 2 shows a walnut guide black with an alignment strip glued to one edge. This guide is made to be at right angles to the vise jaws. This alignment is easily done by clamping a flat board in the vise and using a square to align the guide, which is then fixed to the bench with the clamps shown. A pin board is shown in position ready to be marked (actually this one has already been marked to make it obvious to spot).

Picture 3 shows the tail board in position for marking the pin board which is fixed in the vise as shown in the previous pictures.

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