Dovetail Drawers - Suggestions to Improve Process

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J Sidney Smith
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Posts: 17
Joined: Fri, Sep 18 2009, 1:00PM
Company Name: Lomans Fine Custom Cabinetry
Country: CANADA
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dovetail Drawers - Suggestions to Improve Process

Postby J Sidney Smith » Tue, Mar 27 2012, 12:37PM

Looking for suggestions to improve dovetail drawer boxes.
I just started cutting out dovetail drawer boxes on our Thermwood and am looking for any suggestions that might improve our process and results.
We are using 12mm Baltic Birch (sides & bottom) that is sanded down on a widebelt sander to a very consistent 0.465”
Designing in ecabinetsystems drawer box editor, I am using .5625” insets on dovetails all around and , 1” maximum dovetail spacing; using .35” as dovetail depth, 0” as fit clearance, ((.465-.21)/.465)=54.8 % as thickness, .55” for dovetail width, .125” for corner radius and 11 deg for corner angle.
Bottom is inset at .5”, bottom dado is set up at .125 depth (shallow but looks ok), .001 depth clearance and .01 fit clearance.
At control nest, I have dovetail tool setup as .395”, ¼” DS at .249” and 3/8” DS at .375” . Crunch is set at .08”.
I run tool length compensation on all tools and surface with x-surf. I increase the daylight on the dovetail tool by .008” and then nest one front. I then cut the front and then recut several times while increasing daylight each time by .001 on the dovetail tool until I get a barely perceptible ridge. I then reduce daylight on the dovetail tool to the amount immediately prior to getting the ridge. The amount I need to increase daylight on the dovetail tool seems to be reasonably consistent after several cycles of this at about .011”.
I then run the boxes. The dovetails are reasonably tight and at this stage are the best I can get without doing something different than trial and error. I think the biggest obstacle to these coming out just about perfect is my inability to get a perfect match over the full length of the curvature between the radius cut by the dovetail tool and that cut on the corresponding piece by the ¼” DS. I think I’ve got the dovetail tool side of this about as good as you can get it and I’ve changed corner angle setting in ½ deg steps all the way from 7 deg to 12 deg; 11-12 deg seem to give me the best result.

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