I cut my dovetails pins first and then scribe the tails from the pins. In this sequence, it’s important to be accurate when cutting the tails, so they mate well with the pins. Following the scribe lines with the saw can be challenging, though, in part because the tail cuts aren’t perpendicular to the end of the board. To avoid cutting at an awkward angle, you can tilt the board in the vise, but this is no guarantee of great results. This simple little guide—a rectangular block with a dowel through it—is the solution. To use it, first make a shallow starting cut, then bring the guide close to the saw and align it with your planned cut. Rest the saw against the guide and proceed. After a few strokes, you can remove the guide and let the kerf guide the saw the rest of the way.
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