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Thread: Dovetail Jig and Splintering Plywood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Manistique, Michigan
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    Dovetail Jig and Splintering Plywood

    I am making drawers for a sewing center. I was going to use some birch plywood, but when I tried to router the half blind dovetails in the plywood, it splintered. I used several different speeds, which helped some, but it was hit and miss.

    I have a PC 4112 dovetail jig and have used it before. All of the drawers I have made to this point with it have been solid wood. There have been no issues with solid wood.

    Has anyone had this type of trouble with dovetails in plywood?

    The other issue is that the dovetails are very tight. There are two guide bushings with the jig and I am using the larger diameter per the directions. I thought the smaller bushing is suppose to be used for the half blind dovetail.

    Then, I tried to make a drawlock joint, but my plastic router insert has such a sag from my Freud FT2000E, that it is difficult to make a decent joint. I just ordered an aluminum plate. I remember arguing with one of the sales people from MLCS about the plastic plate when I bought the table from them, but they kept telling me that it wouldn't sag. The polymer chains creep over time and take a permenant set.
    Rich (the Yooper)

    "To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world."

    "Common sense is not so common."

  2. #2
    I wouldnt think you could do dovetail joints in plywood, but I could be wrong. Since the layers of the plywood go perpendicular to each other when the plywood is made, I would think chip out is going to be a huge problem.
    Go ahead and run clown, with those big floppy shoes, you won't get far.

  3. #3
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    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    Dovetails are so-so in BB ply but I doubt success in others. One method to stop tearout is a first light pass climb cutting. Another method is to sandwich the material between pieces of scrap.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
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    Location
    Indianola, Ia about 12 miles south of Des Moines
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    I have the same dovetail jig and have used it to cut BB plywood. I found by scoring where the bottom of the bit will run and taking a light climb cut worked well. I have not tried the sandwich method yet.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2006
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    Delton, Michigan
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    in reguards to the tightness rich i suggest yu reset your depth alittle.. as for ply dovetails havnt tried that one..always used solid wood.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
    I've cut alot of dovetails in 1/2" plywood and have found out that you need a sharp bit, you need to climbcut the dovetails first and then go back in the normal direction to make a fine finish cut and most important don't get in a hurry. The only tearout I get is on the vertical piece that is not supported by the horizontal piece in the jig.

    As for the joint being to tight you just need to adjust the depth of your cut. A very small adjustment can make a big difference.

  7. #7
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    Neanderthal style dovetail saw mebbe?

  8. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    Manistique, Michigan
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    Thanks for the help guys. Alan, I was questioning the sharpness of my bit as I ran into the problem. I did notice that the slower I went, there was less tendency for damage. I need to touch up the bit, then try it again.
    Rich (the Yooper)

    "To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world."

    "Common sense is not so common."

  9. #9
    Rich here is a picture of one of the many drawers on my daughters bed.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Depending on the slides you can hide the blowout with the drawer slide.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Aldrich View Post
    Thanks for the help guys. Alan, I was questioning the sharpness of my bit as I ran into the problem. I did notice that the slower I went, there was less tendency for damage. I need to touch up the bit, then try it again.
    hey i thought them yuppers always moved slow and i would say alan has it figured out that pic says it all..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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