Dovetail joints in a piece of furniture are one of the features that make it a “master carpenter” instead of an “IKEA”. Traditional hand-made dovetails require accurate measurements and more accurate sawing and sifting, a skill that can take years to develop. A slightly less technical approach is to use a router and a dovetail template; The router cuts perfectly straight while the template ensures that it only goes where it should go.
If you still haven’t found one of those templates, check it out [Guy Perez]Designed for a compatible dovetail template that is easy to create with a 3D printer. It consists of ten separate pieces mounted on a T-rail, which enable them to slide sideways, resulting in pins and tails of different widths. The T-rail is mounted on a wooden body to hold the target piece with an integrated clamp, as well as an endstop to provide a reference for all measurements.
As you can see in the video embedded below, the resulting jig is easy to use and should result in almost perfect dovetail every time. [Guy] CAD files are provided as well as detailed instructions for their design, so you can easily adjust them if you need a piece with a different tail angle or want to use thicker wood.
While this jig will make common dovetail joints much easier, you can still demonstrate your manual skills by creating an impossible mallet. Want to join metal bits instead? Check out this cute little dovetail cube.