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   I am intrigued with new products ... particularly when they are invented by woodworkers. Richard Stottman is a woodworker and engineer  who has been busy making neat things for years so when I saw his new Dovetail Template Master, I wanted to try it.

   Now I have all sorts of dovetail jigs so I really wasn't expecting to replace any of those with this, but I still wanted to give it a go.

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   It is relatively inexpensive (about $40 plus about $20 for router bits) and available through many fine tool catalog sources.

   So here is my review. The bottom line is that it works well and even with other dovetail devices, I would certainly use this for custom applications— you will see some at the end of the story. And if right now, you can't afford a dovetail jig, this certainly can get you started with dovetail joinery.

 

  You start by cutting components for the dovetail jig and template. There are 5 components and you need two sets. The full color sheet is a very clear guide. The material to use is medium density fiberboard (MDF) which in the 3/4" thickness required, is easy to find either in 4' X 8' sheets ( about $17.00) or at a home center as pre-cut shelving.

   It will make sense to be sure that each dimension is exact and that all cuts are square. Being "close" won't do it here.

 

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   The instructions are very well written with one side of the sheet detailing the making of the jigs and the other side, the using of them.

   Please note that I painted the pieces to make them more easily visualized for this article just as Richard did for his instructions. You will simply make them out of the natural MDF stock. It won't look as colorful but will work as well...and save you a lot of time.

   You start by gluing and screwing the brace board to the base board. And you can see that you need two sets of jigs — one will be for the pin template and the other the tail template.

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   Since this edge will be the basis for the backer board, it is very important that the base and brace be absolutely square. Here a pass or two over the jointer gives me that edge. You can run it through your table saw for the same results.

   But this is what we are looking for: an edge that is absolutely square.

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   The next step is to screw the backer board to the base component making sure that you screw in an area where the router bit wont be cutting.

   To ensure this, I found the center of each component using the handy centering ruler on the instruction sheet.

   Then I placed the template master on the base and outlined the cutting area...or where it would not cut. To make it simple for you— locate your holes 2 1/8" in from each edge and 1 1/8" up so the screw will be centered in the upper board (yellow.)

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   I then drill a hole with countersink for two 1 1/4" wood screws.

   And glue and screw the backer board to the base assembly. So far, very easy. Fact of the matter is, that all the steps are easy. Just take it slow and step-by-step and you will have the jigs done in about 1 hour's time.

 

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