For information on making dovetail templates, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

I have used this dovetail template for 45 years. I have used others too, bot none come close to this one for ease of use and quickness. The steps for making it are simple. You can have one done in about ten minutes. Accuracy is critical because every dovetail you make in the future will rely on the lines that follow the guide. You can make them with different angles but I usually use only a 1-7 ratio unless I am working on a restoration project. Any wood, including pine, will work fine and because no knife or metal tool touches it, only a pencil, it will last for your lifetime as mine has.

I’m preparing the steps to show how it’s done, for those who haven’t got my book. I have another booklet, not yet published, on making different types of templates I’ve taken from templates from the 18-1900’s

This particular template works for every type of dovetail including hounds tooth, hidden, lap and half lap types.

7 Comments

  1. Paul Sellers on 12 December 2011 at 11:38 pm

    There are many variations on the theme. Thanks, Paul



  2. Alexander Van Parys Piergili on 19 May 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Where can I find references for making the templates?
    Thanks for the superb work and teaching materials!



  3. Mark on 9 April 2019 at 8:00 am

    So I have made the dovetail template but embarrassingly I still do not know how to use it yet. If you can point me in the right direction, I’d be much obliged. Thanks ?



    • Paul Sellers on 9 April 2019 at 8:35 pm

      Yes, if you go to our commonwoodworking site you’ll find the information you need there.



  4. Jack Chidley on 21 April 2019 at 9:14 am

    Paul, where can I find this “booklet […] on making different types of templates I’ve taken from templates from the 18-1900s”?

    I am slowly reading through your blog. The posts are thought provoking and some read like poems. I was inspired to build a workbench: I fitted an old Woden 18B/2 vice. It’s well worn in a works so smoothly.

    Now I must tackle what I fear – dovetails.

    Jack



    • Paul Sellers on 21 April 2019 at 10:38 am

      It’s not available, Jack, not any more I’m afraid.



  • mt on A Note About WoodTom, I feel your pain. The South West [TX] isn't doing any better. Paid $7.50 each for some 8' SYP 2x4's. Gets much higher and my next "just throwing something together quick" proj…
  • John on Prepping Wood III@Andrew, you want to regard how a tree grows - well not palms - but just about every other plant we call a "tree". Conifers and hardwoods are essentially a sequence of cones, each…
  • Andy Hastings on A Note About WoodAnother problem here in Northern California we have is the lack of air-dryed or even wet/green hardwoods. All I can find are slabs from small sawers sawn to 8/4. Nice stock for liv…
  • Andy Hastings on A Note About WoodHere in California we too are experiencing huge price increases. The industry has taken the bait and blames it on the virus. First they said they cut production as they thought the…
  • Dick Sargent on Why Shrink?This was required to try and maintain the proper balance of the prop.
  • Dick Sargent on Why Shrink?Years ago while studying to be an aircraft mechanic we were taught to store wooden propellers horizontally. The reason being that the most moisture would settle to the lower side o…
  • Jim Monette on I Rely on Two or Three Plain PlanesI have a Stanley#4 handyman, painted blue, from the sixties. Are the older Stanley #4s better than mine? Would my work benefit by getting an older version? Thanks.