Hopefully most problems with using the "Perfect Dovetails" method can be avoided if the instruction in the "How To" guides are followed. Printable guides for both the jig and the spacer methods are provided. The design tool also has extensive context-sensitive help as well as a separate help sheet.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides answers to some common questions

Should I use the spacer or jig method? If you are going to make more than just a few joints then the jig method will prove to be quicker in the long run as well as being more reliable. You can make perfect dovetails with the spacer method, but you do need to take care (a) in checking that the boards are exactly the same width and (b) in setting the fence for each set of cuts (see the 'how to').
Is my bandsaw suitable? You need a saw with the following characteristics:
  • tiltable in both directions up to the max angle you want to use;
  • (for the jig method) having a slot or able to register a sliding jig against both sides of the table;
  • big enough to cut the joints you want (see below);
  • properly set up and square with a good sharp blade.
What is the maximum width joint I can cut in my bandsaw? If you are using the spacer method then the maximum board size will be approximately the distance from the fence to the blade when the fence is on the 'pier' side (usually the left hand side).
If you are using the jig method then you need to do a few sums:
  1. Measure the distance from the blade to the pier - call this 'w';
  2. Roughly design your jig (use scrap wood on the bandsaw table - call the distance from the left hand pivot (when tilted anti-clockwise at a typical angle) to the pier 'x';
  3. Work out the fence allowance and fence width of your proposed jig (see "how to") - call these 'y' and 'z' respectively
  4. Calculate (w - x - y - z/2) - you can cut a maximum board width approximately equal to this plus the width of the half pin on "edge B".
Alternatively, design your jig and enter the details in the design tool. Enter some board/joint details - if the board is too large a warning will be given. Note that it is possible to cut boards twice the normal width using the jig method - see the how-to for more details.
Why do I need to register in order to save joint and jig details? The details are kept in a server database. Registration is necessary to prevent overuse and abuse of this facility by trolls, bots and other denizens of the net.
What about the security and privacy of my personal details? No sensitive data is requested or kept - the database is just to store details of your dovetails and to allow the author to communicate with you when necessary (for important messages only - not for marketing). No access to the database is given to third parties. Passwords are subjected to one-way encryption, but there is no end-to-end encryption, so it is advisable not to use a password that you use for sensitive applications such as internet banking.
Is there or will there be a charge for using the system? At present the system is completely free. However the author reserves the right to introduce an appropriate charge for certain facilities if this becomes necessary to cover the costs and time in maintaining the system for the benefit of users. Registered users will be notified in advance if a charge is to be introduced.


Read this before posting comments

I have a gap in my joint - what have I done wrong? This could be down to a number of things. The main causes are:
  • inaccurate fence setting, if using the spacer method;
  • unequal board widths, if using the spacer method;
  • failing to keep the workpiece against the fence and stop block, if using the jig method;
  • workpieces not square;
  • shoulder marked too deep on tails board;
  • incorrect saw kerf used in calculations (make sure the test pieces are clamped tightly when measuring this).
  • if using the jig method, check that the fence is flat on the jig base, at the correct angle and is not moving when you cut. See the "add-ons" section of the jig how-to for ways of ensuring this.
I still have a gap, what can I do? Double check your jig dimensions. See the section on verifying the jig set-up in the jig how-to.


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