Gifkins Hand Cut Dovetail Templates by alllona


									     USER REPORT
     Gifkins ‘Hand Cut’
     Dovetail Templates
     by Neil Scobie

            oger Gifkins, the designer and         one to another. If you
            manufacturer of the highly success-    are using the one jig
            ful Gifkins Dovetail Jig, has re-      body and swapping
     leased new upgrades to accompany his          templates, you will
     dovetail jig. These consist of two new        need to place a new
     templates to produce smaller more deli-       MDF packing board to suit the cutters                  Photo.1: Some sample dovetails
     cate joints, featuring narrower pins,         being used. If you can afford it, it is well              cut with the new templates.
     which give a more ‘hand cut’ dovetail         worth buying the extra jig body to save
                                                   set up time.                                   9.5mm thick timber, I then swapped cut-
     look (Photo.1).
                                                                                                  ters, placing the straight TGHS12 cutter
         The H10 template has 18mm pin                 I thicknessed some Jarrah and Silver
                                                                                                  in the router to cut the pins. The pins
     spacings, and the H20 template has            Ash to 9.5mm and 6mm thick to make
                                                                                                  have to be cut with the straight cutter
     26mm pin spacings. Both these tem-            the test cuts. These timbers were chosen
                                                                                                  and the other side of the jig, which has
     plates are used with new cutters de-          because they would contrast well. I then
                                                                                                  the tapered fingers.
     signed specifically for their purpose, and    proceeded to cut dovetails with the H10
                                                   template on both thicknesses of timber.            As with all new jigs, it is important to
     manufactured by the renowned Aus-
                                                                                                  make a trial cut to check how tight the
     tralian router bit manufacturer, Carb-I-          The set up is exactly the same as for
                                                                                                  joint is. I found that I had to remove two
     Tool. The dovetail cutter has a catalogue     using the ‘A’ or ‘B’ templates. You use
                                                                                                  paper shims, but I won’t have to adjust
     number of TGHD12 and the straight cut-        the fingers with the straight slots in con-
                                                                                                  the shims again until I get the cutters
     ter is TGHS12.                                junction with the TGHD12 dovetail cut-
                                                                                                  sharpened, somewhere down the track.
         With the "Handcut" templates, you         ter to cut the dovetails (Photo.2), firstly
                                                   setting the height of the cutter slightly          As I expected, the finished joints
     can dovetail timber up to 10mm in
                                                   higher than the thickness of the timber.       were absolutely perfect with no gaps,
     thickness and as thin as 2mm. I have
                                                   You can position your timber centrally         and the edges lined up exactly. I pro-
     been using the Gifkins Dovetail jig with
                                                   on the jig fingers so that you have either     ceeded to cut a dovetail joint on the
     the A and B templates for a number of
                                                   half or full pins on the edges of your tim-    6mm thick timber using the same
     years, so I am very familiar with the
                                                   ber. Once you have positioned the tim-         process as mentioned above, and it, too,
     process of cutting dovetails. My new ‘H’
                                                   ber, slide the stop up to the edge of the      was faultless (Photo.3). You do need to
     templates arrived with an extra jig body,
                                                   timber and lock it in place. You may           remember to change the height of the
     so it was only a matter of screwing the
                                                   notice in the photos of the jig that I have    cutters when swapping to different thick-
     H10 template in place on the bottom of
                                                   two stops, one located on each end of          ness timbers.
     the jig body and it was ready to test.
                                                   the jig. The second stop can be pur-               Then I swapped templates and
         The templates have the same locating
                                                   chased as an optional extra — it saves         placed the H20 on the jig and complet-
     holes that are common to all the Gifkins
                                                   lots of set up time.                           ed trial cuts on both thicknesses of tim-
     templates, so it is easy to change from
                                                       After cutting the dovetails on the         ber. The process was exactly the same,

     Photo.2: Cutting dovetails with the H10 template.                       Photo.3: Some sample dovetails cut with the H10 template.

56          Australian Woodworker   May/June ‘02
                                                                               Photo.5: The accessory spacers used to create the
                                                                          variable spacing between pins with the new templates.

                                                                         Photo.4: Some sample dovetails cut with the H20 tem-
                                                                         plate. Note the extra spacing between pins.

the only difference being the width of       body next to the stop (Photo.6). The pur-     vary all the spaces if you want to. I will
the spaces between the dovetails             pose of these spacers is to allow you to      not go through the whole process of
(Photo.4). The space between the pins is     cut uneven spaced dovetails where you         using the spacers, suffice to say they
20mm for the H20 template and 12mm           can have either wider spaced pins in the      work very well and give you lots of
for the H10 template, while the pins         middle of the joint, or a wider space         options.
remain at 6mm for both the H10 and           between the pins, depending on how                The upgrade kits are available from
H20 templates.                               you set up your timber on the jig.            Roger and Jenny Gifkins, 619 Belmore
    The templates give the look of hand-        This option is excellent for when you      River Road, Via Kempsey NSW 2440,
cut dovetails with the narrower pins and     want to make a box and saw it in half on      Ph: 02 65 674313, Fax: 02 65 674681,
larger gaps between them. Both will          the saw bench, as you can set the jig up      e-mail, and
have their use in my workshop, particu-      so that you will have a half pin on either    web site, The
larly in drawer construction. I am quite     side of the top and bottom half of the        "Handcut" upgrade is $164 for one tem-
happy to use 10mm thick drawer sides         box. I should mention that the spacer set     plate and one pair of cutters or $239 for
and add a drawer slip to provide the         can be used with any of the Gifkins Jig       both templates and one pair of cutters.
extra bearing surface. I can also see        templates. I only tested them with the        The variable space upgrade is $29
enormous potential in making smaller         H10 template and they worked extreme-         including instructions. These prices
jewel boxes, as the smaller dovetails will   ly well (Photo.7).                            include GST.
look much more classy and professional.         As with all the Gifkins Dovetail Jigs          I have no hesitation in recommend-
    The second upgrade released for use      and upgrades, Roger supplies a set of         ing these upgrades to the Gifkins Dove-
in conjunction with the Gifkins dovetail     easy-to-follow clear and concise instruc-     tail Jig, as I know they are precision
jig is a set of spacers which allow vari-    tions. I followed them and had no prob-       made and backed up with a great set of
able spaced dovetails to be cut. The four    lems cutting a joint with a wider pin in      instructions and warranty (although I
spacers are made from phenolic resin         the middle.                                   point out that the small dovetail cutter is
and measure 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm                  You do not have to have the wider          not covered for breakage, because of its
and 8mm in thickness (Photo.5). They         pin or pin space in the middle. You can       size).                                  w
have been shaped to go over the jig
Photo.6: Cutting uneven spaces.                                                  Photo.7: A sample of dovetails cut using uneven
                                                                           spacing — ideal for many uses including cutting boxes
                                                                                                    into top and bottom halves.

                                                                                          Australian Woodworker   May/June ‘02       57

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