Podcast #20: Machine-Cut Dovetails

During this week’s Woodsmith Woodworking Seminar podcast, you’ll get to see a great new fixture that’s featured in ShopNotes Issue No. 93. Bryan Nelson (who is managing editor of ShopNotes magazine) will be routing machine-cut dovetails using the Porter-Cable 4212 dovetail jig.

And to make it even more interesting, he uses the new Dovetail Jig Workcenter. The workcenter is loaded with features that provide storage for the jig and all its accessories, imporved accuracy, and added comfort as you work. Once again, the jig is featured in the lastest issue of ShopNotes (on newsstands now).

After the podcast is finished, stop by the Woodsmith Podcast Store. You’ll find links to project plans, the seminar guide, and a few of the tools and accessories that Bryan used during the seminar.

14 Responses to “Podcast #20: Machine-Cut Dovetails”

john leonard said,

great podcast. the camera operator needs some practice.

Dan Chan said,

I got valuable info. from the podcast. Particularly about routing a light scoring pass before actual slot cutting to prevent tearout and also the reason why raising the bit will loosen the fit.

I have an unrelated question. What shop apron is Bryan Nelson wearing? I like the over the shoulder design. Looks like a “Bucket Boss”, but I’ve searched all over and can’t find that one. Can someone name it?

Bryan Nelson said,

Dan, the apron is a Bucket Boss, unfortunately, I got it a long time ago and don’t know the exact model. I did a search and saw a couple that looked like it but weren’t an exact match.

The main reason I like it is the over-the-shoulder design, as you noticed. It doesn’t pull against the neck, which I can’t stand.

Sorry I couldn’t point you to an exact match.

Bryan Nelson

Mike Lee said,

Looking to buy a new dovetail jig, found info in this viedo very helpfull. Thank you!

Jack Coleman said,

Really got allot of good information from this podcast as I bought this Porter Cable model for dovetails. Look forward to putting this podcast info to good use. I wish I could get a response from this website about the jig table.

Joel Hess said,

Hi Jack,

Glad you enjoyed the podcast. Let me know what you’re interested in regards to the Dovetail Jig Workcenter.

Joel Hess

Chris Morgan said,

Hi Joel,
In regards to the Dovetail Jig Workcenter how do I get a copy of the plans to build the Workcenter. I am a member of Plans Now but cant find it.


Joel Hess said,

Hi Chris,

I’m forwarding your request for the Dovetail Jig Workcenter to the manager of the PlansNow website. It looks like it is not available through PlansNow at this time, but I’m pretty sure it can be. In the meantime, you should be able to contact our Customer Service Reps and I think they can sell it to you. Their number is 800-333-5854. Explain to them exactly what you’re looking for and where you heard about it.

Hope this helps,

Joel Hess
Associate Editor
August Home Publishing

Chris Morgan said,

Thanks Joel they were able to email me a PDF of the plan for $5.00.

Thanks Again
Chris Morgan

Paul said,

Very good podcast! You need to get a LOT better camera operator though!
I just tried my new Porter Cable jig and ended up with tails almost half the size of the pockets, and that was with the setup jig on the end. (1/2″ material used) Adjusted and ended up with just the opposite, tails twice the size of the pockets. Ended up rabbiting the corners. Will test out the jig when I have the time. Most of my problems was due to such a POOR manual from Porter Cable that does not explain anything in detail.
I found the podcast was lacking in some areas that will matter to many, such as the degrees and sizes of bits and when they are used. What happens if you use a 3/8″ bit with a 3/4″ collar, or a 1/2″ collar in place of the 3/4″ one?
I love the magazine and these podcasts are very useful, BUT the Woodsmith TV program is really on the poor side with beginner-type information presented as if the viewers were totally ignorant of anything more than a hammer.

Joel Hess said,

Thanks Paul, I’m glad you liked the podcast. I’m not sure about the problems you’re having with your P-C jig, but when you have tails and pins that are that far off in size, I suspect it has quite a bit to do with setup.

Where you lose me though is the last comment. I’m not sure how you can love the magazine and not like the TV show. We use techniques and projects from the magazine and so they should be very similar in the way they are presented.

Be safe and good woodworking,

Joel Hess

Paul from Pa. said,

The magazine is very professionaly done, especially when it comes to having complete info on and about each project. At least 95% of them are. The TV show comes across as being very amateurishly directed. Your podcasts are poorly videoed, but come across 10-times better presented than the TV show. (I’ve worked enough in the movie industry in Calif. to know when a show looks like it came from a first-year video class project, and when the people sound more like they are reading from a script than actually talking to each other, which is what you guys “pretend” to be doing.)
I also have a problem with the projects where you guys tell a lot of the facts about doing a job, but so many times you skip showing what you are talking about. That forces the viewer to have to go somewhere else to get an answer. That makes that project incomplete on the show and NOT very professional!
I don’t really see any of the same projects as in the magazine. Parts of them yes, and ways to make jigs for different projects, but not full projects. Real woodworking projects as the magazines has would take 2 or 3 programs to complete, (which is one thing that I think you should be doing). The little bits and pieces the show has gets boring after a week or two of the same things. A lot of what there is each week is more what beginners need and the rest of us are falling asleep until something interesting to us comes along.
In short, the magazines is geared towards advanced woodworkers, and the TV show looks like it is all beginners info. I mean, what else can you call sections that have to explain to the viewer what power tools they should have in their shop and how to pick them?

Will said,

Speaking as an outright amateur, I found this podcast very educational. I’ve viewed virtually all of the Woodsmith podcasts now and I find they provide a great “insight” into each topic, encouraging further detailed research on any questions raised. From the viewpoint of a more experienced woodworker, I could see that more specific detail would be expected – I guess you reach a level of proficiency where the “basics” have been practiced so many times that they have become second nature and are assumed to be tools of everyones everyday arsenal…….no doubt I too will arrive at this point in the future. I have questions too, unanswered by this podcast, such as the implications of using dovetail bit sizes (diameters & angles) other than those supplied with the jigs. Within minutes of watching this podcast, I was back surfing for the answers and found the LEIGH website answered all of my questions…..and more. I also found the Porter Cable 4210 manual and was able to run through each setup, step by step in my head, to get a thorough understanding of what the setup procedure was actually acheiving. Before I watched this podcast, a dovetial jig looked such an intimdating piece of equipment, now I understand it looks a LOT more complex than it actually is – it’s given me the confidence to actaully invest & try some dovetailing for myself.
We don’t have anything that comes even close to the Woodsmith team here in the UK, I’m in envy of what you some of you guys in the US take for granted in terms of products and consumables – espcially quality timber (lumber ?). We all have to start somewhere and, personally for me in these early days, these podcasts are exactly what I need – hats off you for such an all round fabtastic “product” – I hope to take an International subscription out as soon as I’ve stopped blowing my spare cash on tools !

Mark said,

I just unpacked my 4212 and was completely lost by the instructions. Your Webcast helped a lot and know the manual makes sense! One question I have is regarding the router needed. I have an old craftsman router. Would the Rockler base allow me to use the collets or do they just fit PC routers? I just found your website, great resource!