Posted by: perfectwoodworking | March 14, 2010

Making Large Doivetails in Your Cabinet Corners

           While there are, no doubt, other ways to accomplish this magnificent woodworking feat, I am going to confine my remarks to the use of the Keller Model 2401 Pro Series Dovetail Jig. Keller has other models available but this one seems best to me when considering both function and cost.

          This will not be a long post because the operation of this jig is elegantly simple. The complete kit consists of two, large aluminum templates, one for the pins and the other for the tails. It also includes two router bits, one for the pins and the other for the tails. These bits have ball bearing tracking collars mounted between the cutter and the bit shaft. The collar tracks around the template while the bit is cutting into the end grain of the work piece. Each template is screwed onto a piece of wood at right angle to the template. This wood is clamped to the one side of the work piece while the template rests on the end grain. The only adjustments relate to proper left/right placement along the edge of the work piece and setting the depth of cut on the router.

          Complete instructions come with the kit and an instructional video is available. The width of each template is 24” (a 16” model is available) but the length of cut is not limited to those dimensions. You simply cut all the dovetails on the template and then re-align the template so that the first position on the template is now lined up with the last dovetail (or pin) cut during the initial pass. Theoretically, you could cut dovetails all the way to the moon although no one has tried this yet. You can save some money by ordering the 16” model but you will have to re-align the template more often for wide work pieces. With the standard (larger) bits that are included, you may cut dovetails in panels that are from 5/8” to 1” thick. A smaller bit set is available (at extra cost). With the smaller bits, you may cut dovetails into 3/8” to ¾” material. Normal pin spacing is 1 ¾” center to center. The dovetail angle is 7 degrees. A 1½ HP router or larger is required and the router collet can be either 3/8” or ½”. One-half inch is preferable. A Pro Clamp Kit is available at extra cost for production work and is especially useful for making drawers.

      If you want large dovetails in thicker stock, you might want to consider Keller’s Model 3600. These 36” wide templates will handle thicknesses from ½” to 1 ¼” thick. The standard bit set works with wood up to 1” thick. The optional small bit set is for wood thicknesses from ½” to ¾”. The optional large bit set is for stock 7/8” to 1 ¼” thick.

Bob Gillespie
For similar articles and tool reviews see:

(related to this post)

List prices are as follows:

Model 1601           $269
Small Bit Set for Model 1601           $69
Large (Standard) Bit Set for Model 1601           Included

Model 2401           $369
Small Bit Set for Model 2401           $79
Large (Standard) Bit Set for Model 2401           Included

Model 3600           $469
Small Bit Set for Model 3000           $78
Medium (Standard) Bit Set for Model 3000        Included
Large Bit Set for Model 3000           $129

Pro Clamp Kit (For All Models)           $119


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