Home > Woodworking > Sandor Nagyszalanczy’s Dovetail Sled Jig

Sandor Nagyszalanczy’s Dovetail Sled Jig

“Never let lack of creativity or talent get in the way of accomplishing a task”, I always say. With the tool tote effectively finished I spent time over the weekend building Sandor Nagyszalanczy’s dovetail sled for the table saw. I have dabbled with using the band saw to speed the dovetail process but it too would need a jig (at least a wedge) to make the cuts effectively. When I saw this plan a year or so ago, it was on my list of things to try.

Table saw dovetail sled

I’m pretty sure that I found the plan for free but it’s not my plan so I wouldn’t presume to publish it. Rockler sells it for $8 but you can probably find it other places as I’ve seen it around.

Basically the jig has four stations, and uses both ends of the sled. The end comprising the ramps are for cutting your tails, the other end with the angled fence allows you to cut the slope on your pins. Each side has a left and right cut. I can’t tell you how well it works yet as I just finished up my build late yesterday afternoon.

Last task for the day, gluing up the blade "guard".

Last task for the day, gluing up the blade “guard”.

I always read about how “it should only take a couple of hours to whip up this jig” but this one took me two sessions. During the first session of a couple of hours, I cut out most of the pieces of the project including the making of a really basic tapering jig. The tapering jig I made was nothing more than a piece of MDF notched to form the 8° slope recommended for the ramps.

Most of the pieces were cut and ready for assembly over the weekend. Notice the simple tapering jig (bottom left)

Most of the pieces were cut and ready for assembly over the weekend. Notice the simple tapering jig (bottom left)

For materials I used 1/2″ MDF for the bulk of the parts. I used pine for the tail ramps because I didn’t have any 3/4″ MDF on hand and I had lots of suitable pine scraps. I also used pine for the blade exit guards. The pins fence called for a piece 28″ in length and unfortunately for me, I had cut my MDF piece in such a way that I didn’t have it. What I had on hand  was a 24″ x 24″ plywood panel, so I built the fence in three pieces which I believe will work just fine.

The pins fence was built in three pieces instead of one.

Pins fence built in 3 pieces.

To support the center fence piece, I cut an extra support and slightly modified the placement of the other supports for best fit.

Dovetail Sled guts.

Dovetail Sled guts showing fence supports.

So that’s about all I know about it. I was going to buy a fancy miter bar but I just couldn’t bring myself to place the purchase. There are many fine products but I opted to make mine out of an oak scrap. With some patience and a bit of planing, I came up with a good fit.

Finished dovetail sled for the table saw.

Finished dovetail sled for the table saw.

I might get a chance to try a few cuts today after work. I’m still a bit loose as to which side to cut on but I’m sure after a couple of test cuts I’ll figure it out. Building the jig with the pins and tails angle right is a big deal, they have to be the same or the two will never fit together. I feel cautiously optimistic that I got it right but the proof will be in the cutting.

You’ve been machine-making with the Turtlecovebrewer….


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