The Paul Sellers Dovetail Template

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.


  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 😊

  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.


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

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