Even faster dovetails on the tablesaw
Steve Latta demonstrates how to use a spacer to cut symmetrical dovetails.
Hand-cut dovetails are an essential skill, but for cleanliness and speed, I prefer the tablesaw. To speed the process along, I use two miter gauges with an auxiliary fence combined with a specialty dovetail blade ground to the correct dovetail angle.
A hangup happens when I rabbet a case back, though. Ideally, I’d just flip a board edge for edge when dovetailing it (and then end for end), and simply move a stop each time. This would give me fast, symmetrical tails. But with the rabbet there, flipping doesn’t work—or at least not without some help. This is because the rabbet pushes the tails away from the edge. So I came up with a quick workaround.
The fix is to add a spacer that offsets the case side the depth of the rabbet. Do this on the front edge of the workpiece at both the top and bottom. From there, you can simply lay out one set of tails and use it to set your stop. The symmetry allows the process to fly. Cut one tail wall, flip edge for edge, cut, flip end for end, cut, flip edge for edge, cut, and reset the block. Then repeat all the way across.