David Barron Magnetic Dovetail Saw Guide
Magnetic Dovetail Saw Guides make it easier than ever to achieve perfect
dovetails with your handsaw. Using powerful rare earth magnets covered with
a low friction membrane, these dovetail saw guides by David Barron hold the blade of your
dovetail saw at the desired angle while keeping the blade
perfectly plumb as you hand cut your dovetails. The guide
enables you to cut closer to your layout lines, straight
and true for each cut, which means you will spend less time
having to pare away material with a chisel to obtain a good fit.
The jig lets you cut the pins and tails for both through
and half-blind dovetails. Made in the U.K. from anodized aluminum,
there are 5 models (angles) available. The steeper angles are often
used with softwoods, while the shallow angles are for hardwoods,
but in essence, the angle you choose (sometimes called slope),
is really just a personal preference.
In use, the guide stands 1-1/8" above your work and will reduce your saw's overall cutting depth ability accordingly.
The guide works well with almost any type of backsaw with large enough blade. In his video, David Barron recommends
the smooth-cutting Gyokucho 372
Japanese Dovetail Saw, which features impulse-hardened teeth for long-lasting sharpness.
Five Dovetail Saw Guide models are available for cutting dovetails in your choice of angles:
- Model 1:4
- Model 1:5
- Model 1:6 (most popular)
- Model 1:7
- Model 1:8
Dovetail Spline Guide
The Dovetail Spline Guide is used for cutting slots to
insert your own reinforcing splines across a miter joint.
The guide has a 1:6 angle on one side with a 90 degree angle on the other,
both which can allow you to create slots for adding in decorative
reinforcing splines to your miters.
Using the Barron Magnetic Dovetail Guides
Magnetic Dovetail Guide Instructions (included in box with guide)
Thank you for purchasing one of my Dovetail Guides. This simple guide will enable you to cut
straight, at the same angle and most importantly, square. To see the guide in action please visit
www.youtube.com and search for ‘Hand Cut Dovetails Made Easy’. I have produced lots of other You
Tube videos, which you may find interesting. The guides are produced in angles 1:4, 1:5, 1:6, 1:7 and
1:8 which should cover most people’s requirements. There is also a useful 90 degree guide.
The saw blade is guided by a recessed magnet which makes sure that the blade stays absolutely
straight both horizontally as well as vertically. The jig is face with a special low friction material,
which allows the saw to slide smoothly. Over time these pads may become scratched which shouldn’t
affect accuracy but I've included a spare pair with each guide.
There are two strips of abrasive, which hold the saw in your chosen position, whilst allowing easy
small adjustments. After much use you may wish to replace these, any course self adhesive sand
paper will work fine.
The guide will work with any saw with a good depth of cut, the guide will reduce a saws cutting
depth by 28mm (1 1/8"). The saw I recommend and sell, is made by Gyokucho and is model 372, this
cuts hardwood effortlessly and the super hard steel blade will last a very long time. Japanese saws
with cross cut teeth (as most are) will do the job but cut very much more slowly.
The following instructions are for cutting through dovetails although half blind or lapped dovetails
can be cut just as easily. The process shows the tails being cut first but the guide works equally well
for cutting the pins first (for all you old timers!).
Cutting the Tails
- Scribe a line all the way round to the thickness of the mating pin board. A good quality
wheel-marking gauge is easiest and can be rolled round the corners.
- Mark out the dovetails on both sides to your desired spacing (after some practice you will
realize that only the square marks across the end grain are necessary).
- Line up the magnetic jig with the lines sloping from top right to bottom left and cut down to
the scribe line (this is a natural stance for a right hander). Then turn the work in the vice and
cut the remaining lines. Again the stance is comfortable and you can also see the cut made
- Remove the waste with a jewelers saw and pare down to the scribe line.
Cutting the Pins
- Scribe a line to the thickness of the tailpiece. Do both edges, not the sides.
- Position the tailboard evenly over the pin board in the vice and carefully mark the pins with a
sharp marking knife. In time you will realize that only the outer part of these lines is
necessary as the jig takes care of the angle. A heavier cut with the knife on the corner will
help to locate the saw.
- Cut down to the scribe line on the waste side. Remove the waste with a jewellers saw and
pare down to the scribe line.
- Test fit a short way down. If all is ok add glue and tap the joint home.