Home > Woodworking > Sandor Nagyszalanczy’s Dovetail Sled Jig – Initial Observations After First Use

Sandor Nagyszalanczy’s Dovetail Sled Jig – Initial Observations After First Use

Susan was working late yesterday so I made use of my time and popped down to the shop and try some test cuts on the new sled. Very briefly, here are my thoughts on the first session. Remember, absolutely no experience with this jig and extremely limited experience laying out dovetails.

  1. I realized that I can barely layout tails first and had no idea how to layout pins first. Sandor’s instructions indicate cutting the pins first. (Note, this would have helped: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EootxBzj4Yk)
  2. I decided to layout and cut tails first because I didn’t have unlimited time to struggle with pins.
  3. Which side of the tail line to cut was fairly intuitive as the angle of the kerf lined up with the angle on the tail.
  4. Setting the blade height was not intuitive. I used trial and error, creeping up a bit at a time. This was time-consuming and part of the problem simply came from first use. However, after properly setting the blade height on one side, I switched sides and started cutting away only to realize the BLADE HEIGHT NEEDED TO BE LOWERED. The ramps are reasonably symmetrical however the miter slots apparently are not. Ruined the first piece but that’s why they call it a test.
  5. After marking both ends of another tail board, I cut both sides and was pleased with the results. I took this board to the band saw to clear waste between the tails. PATIENCE was required but taking time, I was able to clear the bulk of the waste without messing up the tails. Caution is required, it takes time. I don’t have a 1/8″ blade but that is what Sandor suggested in the instructions.

The Good

After a few missteps the tails I cut looked rather nice. I am hopeful this system will work with a bit of practice.

The Bad

I was surprised that blade height needed to be adjusted from left station to right station. I will figure out a way to easily and accurately set the blade height. Cleaning the waste between the tails requires refinement on my part. I was also pretty clueless as to which line to use for cutting pins. Another trial is required.

The Ugly

Peeking over the edge of the jig to watch the cut being made will result is a face full of sawdust. I encountered this at I initially attempted to adjust the blade height. Speaking of blade height, in order to cut 3/4″ stock that blade has to be pretty freaking tall and it is a bit scary doing so much cutting with beast spinning “out of its cage”. It would be more comforting albeit much slower to clamp the piece each cut and keep your fingers away from the front fence.  Whether or not I will actually do that is another question.


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