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Thread: Incra Dovetails on Wide and Long Boards

  1. #1

    Incra Dovetails on Wide and Long Boards

    I am building a baby dresser/changing table pictured here (scroll down)... ) and I need your advice on the drawer dovetails. The drawer dimensions are 5 1/2, 8, and 11 1/2 deep by 35 inches wide.

    I have a very old incra positioning jig with fence and right-angle fixture. I am willing to get a newer model (perhaps an Ultra) but my basic question is this: is it possible to machine long, wide boards (such as 11 1/2 wide by 35 long) on this jig?

    I cannot imagine the short little right angle jig holding the long board stable while it is moved back and forth on end, but maybe some of you are doing it--such experience would be very encourgaging. Further, could I build a more robust "sled", one having a taller vertical clampling surface and being wider and having a bigger base also---and then running the edge of the sled along the incra fence. It seems like it would work not being "attached" to the fence like the standard right angle fixture is (attached meaning "hooked" over the top edge of the fence).

    Please give me your advice on this incra approach, or suggest what specific jig would work with the size boards I described above.

    I am building this unit under the guidance of a very experienced woodworker and he is suggesting to hand cut the dovetails and has demonstrated twice for me....I in turn have tried three times, ruined two and got my last one together but boy is it horrible (and took me 55 minutes for about 6 tails/pins -- ). I am thinking the jig is what I need (want?) and thus need your advice.


    Edit: sorry...but can someone tell me if you can cut unevenly spaced dovetails using an incra jig?
    Last edited by Ken Close; 10-21-2007 at 02:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Southern Georgia

    Although my personal experience is with a Jointech jig system, I suspect the same can be done with the Incra...

    YES, you can mill long and wide pieces on one of these jigs. It just takes a little practice and a steady hand. Here's a shot of how I milled unevenly spaced box joints on the EIGHT FOOT long aprons for one of my work benches:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    As you can see, those boards were so long I had to open the attic stairs and position my router table so that the boards, when stood on end, would pass through the stair opening!

    I used the right-angle holder that came with the system, with a very tight woodscrew (clamp) holding the board to the jig. I was then VERY careful to make sure the board was being kept perfectly vertical as I was passing it over the bit. I did all four corners without any problems.

    The only width limitation will be dictated by the length of your jig, and the width of your router table. I can work on boards up to (I think) 18" or so.

    Again, I use a Jointech, so I'm not sure the Incra can do the same. But, unevenly spaced joints are standard:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Those are box joints, but there are templates for unevenly spaced dovetails in all sizes and spaces.

    With all this said, I find that I almost always go to my Leigh D4 for dovetails. It's SOOOO much easier to use than the Jointech. But, that's a whole other conversation...

    It's do-able...hope this helps...
    - Marty -
    Fivebraids, Inc.
    When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there’s no end to what you can’t do…

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
    Marty, I had to chuckle at your "fix" to the too long board. Then I remembered, I'd have to take my router table outside to do that! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
    Exclusively Irish!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas
    When Irish Eyes are smiling, they're usually up to something!!
    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...but most likely, I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, season 3

  4. #4
    Marty: your pictures and your experience say it all...I'll give it a go and see what happens.

    Many thanks for the great response.


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