Manual for Half Blind 1/4 template

Complete Instruction
Manual & Reference Guide
Please read before using your jig.
Copyright 2007 MLCS
Edge Guides: This 12” Dovetail Template comes complete with 2 Edge Guide
Sets—one set for Half Blind and one set for Rabbeted Half Blind Dovetails.
1/4” Dovetail Template: For the construction of 1/4” half-blind or rabbeted
dovetails for use when making drawers or large boxes. For use with a 5/16” OD
guide bushing and lock nut. Use a 1/4” x 8 degree dovetail bit with this template.
Stock Thickness as follows:
o Fronts: Maximum thickness of 3/4”, Minimum stock thickness of 3/8”
o Sides: Maximum thickness of 3/4”, Minimum stock thickness of 1/4"
1) Any router with a 5/16” guide bushing can be used. For ease of operation, use a
plunge router with a fine adjusting knob (or install one prior to working) for ease
in bit adjustments.
2) Remember, bit height adjustments should be measured from the base plate rather
than the guide bushing, as most guide bushings are recessed slightly in the base.
The proper bit depth for 1/4” dovetails is 9/16”.
3) SAFETY NOTE: Be careful when setting your router down between use as small
router bits can be fragile. You can use a small block with a hole cut out for the bit
and guide bushing to use as a safe stand for the router when not in use. The hole
in the block should be just enough to fit the bushing and bit.
Creating a reference board for proper placement of the edge guides and templates when
making template changes can make set-up easier and faster. These boards will be used
over and over again, so take special care for top accuracy and store in a safe place when
not in use. Using a sharp knife to cut the layout marks will ensure that they are precise
and long-lasting. Use of the boards will be detailed later in this manual.
Constructing Boards for 1/4” Blind Dovetails
1) Choose a piece of flat stock at least 6” wide by 8” long and square it up.
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2) Mark a line 1/8” from each edge along the long edges of the board
for aligning the edge guides.
3) Mark a line 9/32” from the end for alignment of the templates.
Constructing Boards for 1/2” Rabbeted Dovetails
1) Edge Guide lines should be 9/16” from the long sides of the board. Follow all
other procedures as in Half-Blind Setup Above.
Planning in advance and having a step-by-step procedure laid out beforehand will
save time, frustration, and costly errors.
While you can use both sides of the jig to
make dovetails, don’t try to rout more than
one set of stock at a time.
When routing on the jig, stock should be
laid inside-out. Careful marking and
layout of your stock lets you determine a
routing order that works best for you.
Doing so also allows you to arrange the
wood properly to expose the best grain
and color in your finished work.
Clearly mark and label (on the inside face) pieces for left, right, front, back,
outside, and inside. Outside faces are always oriented TOWARD the jig.
1/2” for the drawer front and 3/8” for the drawer sides is the standard stock size
for drawers made with 1/4” dovetails. To join the drawer back with dovetails, the
back and front must use the same size stock. A minimum of 3/8” thick stock for
drawer fronts is recommended for maximum strength of the dovetail joint.
For Symmetrical Dovetails
The jig’s design ensures that front and sides of the piece will match for assembly.
However, this may or may not provide a symmetrical joint (with pins and tails equally
divided at top and bottom), depending on your stock width. You can adjust the position
of the guide relative to the template in order to even out the pins and tails if you prefer to
do so. Some trial and error is required (on scrap stock) but the proper alignment for your
stock size can be determined visually.
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Test all setup on scrap wood before beginning your work on quality stock.
Confirm that your stock is well-squared and of consistent thickness to ensure
accurately matched joints.
Even pressure is essential across the full width of stock when under the clamping
bars. If working with narrow stock, you should use a piece of stock of equal
thickness under the bar at the far end.
Precise jig setup is essential. Use a quality steel rule marked at least in 1/32”
increments when setting your jig.
Do not force the router bit into the wood. The bit may break and damage stock
and can even cause personal injury.
NEVER remove the router bit from the jig until it has stopped completely.
1) Connect the #3 Edge Guides to both sides of the jig, but DO NOT fully
tighten the screw. Insert a scrap piece under the front clamp bar just
above the top surface of the jig and away from the edge guide. Place a
piece of scrap stock under the front clamp bar and secure with the twowing knobs.
2) Position the setup board beneath the top clamp, firmly against your scrap
stock. Then, put the template on top and twist the brass knob, securing
the template mounting bracket fingers firm against the lock nut. The
edge guide setup line should align with the left side of the first template
slot. You may have to make some adjustments before this is aligned.
Then the top clamp must be tightened but do not allow the setup board
to move.
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3) The brass knob must be
loosened. Then, align the
back edge of the template
slots with the setup board’s
template setting line by
loosening the lock nuts with a
10mm open end wrench.
4) Remove the template.
5) Firmly position the edge guide next to the setup board
and screw into place.
6) Follow the same steps as above to attach the other side
of the jig.
7) The setup block can now be taken out and saved for use on future projects.
8) Be certain that stock pieces are level with each other and firmly against each other
and the edge guide whenever you make a joint. All stock should be clamped
firmly with the template flat on top, locked into placed with the brass knobs.
1) Set the router bit depth to 9/16”. Make sure you measure from the router
baseplate, not the template guide.
2) Make a light pass from right to left across the stock’s front edge. In this way, you
can avoid chipping when routing between the template fingers.
3) Working from left to right, rout between the template fingers. Make a second
pass if needed to ensure that the fingers and slots are clean.
4) NEVER remove the router bit from the jig until it has stopped completely.
5) Take the stock from the jig and make sure the joint fits snugly. If you have a
problem, make any necessary adjustments and run the joint again. See “Quick
Tips” later in this manual.
Copyright 2007 MLCS
Half-Blind Rabbeted Dovetail Joints for use on drawer fronts
are constructed very much like half blind dovetails.
However, the drawer front and side must be routed one at a
time. To allow for the rabbet, the drawer front will hang over
the jig. You will also need a different set of setup boards.
Drawer Front Construction
Drawer front stock should be at least 3/4” wider and longer than the
drawer you desire and made with stock 3/4” thick or greater.
Rabbeted half-blind dovetails can be a maximum 10-3/4” deep.
Take a rabbeting bit with a bearing and cut a 3/8” wide by 7/16” deep
groove around all four sides of the inside face of the drawer front.
1) Use the Setup board for 1/4” rabbeted dovetails and set the #4
Edge Guides and templates as when making half-blind
dovetails. However, this time, the edge guide should align
with the inside edge of the second slot—not the first as before.
2) Firmly position the edge guide next to the setup board and
screw into place.
3) Construct a Gauge Block in order to align the drawer front with
the correct overhang. This block will need a 3/8” x 3/8” rabbet
cut in one of its edges.
4) The template should be positioned on the jig without
tightening the knobs. Move the drawer front under the top
clamping bar and template, flush with the left edge guide.
The template must be lying flat on the drawer front
before tightening the brass knobs.
5) The gauge block should be placed beneath the front clamp bar and firmly against
the left template and edge guide before clamping it down. Move the drawer front
flush with the Gauge Block to allow the proper 3/8” overhang. Turn the knob to
firmly position the drawer front beneath the top clamp bar.
6) Remove the Gauge Block after loosening the front clamping bar.
Copyright 2007 MLCS
REMEMBER to rout the drawer front and sides separately.
Drawer Front
1) Install the appropriate size guide bushing on your router
subbase and insert the correct bit into the collet, setting
the bit height at 9/16”.
2) Rout in and out of each finger of the template moving from right to left across the
front of the drawer.
3) Take the drawer front out of the jig.
4) The Gauge Block setup and routing steps should be
repeated for each drawer front and on each side of the jig.
Drawer Sides
1) To lessen tear-out, replace the drawer front with scrap wood of the same thickness
beneath the top clamping bar.
2) Position the drawer side below the front clamp bar flush
with the scrap stock and edge guide.
3) Use a square to check for level and clamp the side piece
4) Rout as you did when making half-blind dovetails, repeating on each side of the
5) After taking the side from the jig, ensure that it fits with the drawer
front and make any necessary adjustments.
TIP: If you’d like to make future setup faster and easier, the setup
board can be routed in the same position as the drawer front and
then used in the future to set the bit height.
Copyright 2007 MLCS
Loose Joint:
Cutting depth may need to be increased a bit
Ensure that you are using the correct guide bushing
Inspect guide bushing, bit and template for excess wear
Tight Joint:
Cutting depth may need to be decreased a bit
Front Overhanging Side:
The distance from the front edge of the jig to the back edge of the slots on the
template (the 9/32” dimension) should be made smaller.
Side Overhangs Front:
The distance from the front edge of the jig to the back edge of the slots on the
template (the 9/32” dimension) should be made wider.
Sides and Front are Offset:
You may be using the wrong edge guide—double-check.
Be sure the template was referenced off the correct side.
Joint Raised from Side to Side or in the Middle:
Double-check that the end cuts of stock are square.
Double-check that stock is firmly positioned against the edge guides.
Ensure that stock is not cupped or bowed and of consistent thickness.
Cross-Grain Tear Out:
Use a very sharp marking tool at the same height as the cutter to scribe the stock
Clamping Bar will not reach to clamp thicker stock:
The nylon knob spacers can be taken out.
Thin Stock cannot be clamped securely:
Additional spacers can be used.
Copyright 2007 MLCS
1/4" Dovetail Template
Part No.
5 (right)
5 (left)
Copyright 2007 MLCS
M5X8 Template Comb Screws
Template Comb for 1/4" Dovetail
Template Mounting Bracket
#3 spacer
#4 spacer
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