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Razor-fine layout lines

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Marking dovetails
Enlarge Image
After scoring the pin-socket depth
with a marking gauge, use a knife to
define the tails.
Enlarge Image
Use your already-cut tail board to
now mark the locations for the
mating pins.

Marking dovetails

You enjoy two advantages when laying out dovetails with a marking knife, as shown right. First, you get the greater precision of the knife's keen edge, resulting in a better fit. And when you begin cutting the pins and tails, your chisel or handsaw slips into the knife-cut kerf for straighter, cleaner cuts.


Single-bevel marking knives: part #33N07.01 (right-hand bevel); #33N07.02 (left-hand bevel); $31.50 each, Lee Valley, 800-871-8158,

Dual-bevel marking knife: part #885-2154, $50, Traditional Woodworker, 800-509-0081,

Dovetail markers: part #05N61.04 (6); #05N61.05 (8); #05N61.08 (14); $12.95 each, Lee Valley, 800-871-8158,


Comments (5)
grooverjamesr wrote:

To make a marking knife, all you really need is an old saw blade from a saws all. reciprocating saws use a thin blade and is prefect for the application. Simply cut a 45 degree angle at the tip and remove all the teeth with a grinder then make two pieces of nice wood for the handle and glue them on and sand, varnish and viola!

12/25/2014 09:41:39 PM Report Abuse
vtxman wrote:

I like to pickup old paring knives at garage sales then grind them to the profile I like for a marking gage. It's nice to have multiple marking knives for different situations.

4/11/2013 06:44:26 PM Report Abuse
rlambert94 wrote:

The caption attached to the photo above doesn't mention anything about dovetailing. After reading the whole article, everything makes sense.

7/30/2012 04:09:11 AM Report Abuse
Gee-Dub wrote:

I don't know that it is "who wrote this article" as much as it may be who picked the photos(?).

7/22/2010 10:24:17 AM Report Abuse
rupps3 wrote:

I don't know who will be cutting your dovetail pins but if you use the marking method pictured above, then they'll have a hard time. It appears you are using the "pins first" method for transfer, however, you're using a TAIL board. Who wrote this article?

6/19/2010 05:15:48 PM Report Abuse

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