Wednesday 2 September 2015

How To Make Another Dovetail Marker

This is the second part of the mini series about dovetail markers.

It is more and more fun to build these little helpers.

In the second part of this mini series I will show you another design of dovetail markers.
I've seen that the first time in a book of Charles H. Hayward.
I guess it is a bit simpler than the one I have written about in the first part of this series.

Okay, here we go.

The Build

Again I grabbed a piece of beech from my scrap box. This time it is 7,5 long and 4 cm wide.
I think a bit narrower will be okay too.

The blank

I made all faces square to each other and the sides parallel.
Now I came in about 1 cm from one end (which will be the top).

Come in 1 cm from one end

I made a knife nick and squared a line all the way around the blank.

Scribe a line on the faces...

...and on the edges too

That done I set a sliding bevel to the desired angle. In my case it will be again a 1:6 ratio.

I have set the sliding bevel to the top of the blank and scribed a new line from the end of the first line to the bottom of the piece.

Start your angled line at this point

Flipped the bevel over and made a second line.

Scribe the line along your bevel

Now the same for the other side.

Try to join these lines at the bottom end.

Establish a deep kerf along those made lines and cut off these two pieces.

The angled scribe lines too

Cut off the triangular pieces

Square both edges with a plane. A block plane on your bench hook will be perfect for this job.

After cutting and planing

Set a marking gauge to 6mm and run parallel lines along the length of the blank from both faces.

Scribing line along the length

Establish a deep kerf along the first scribed line.

Deepen the knife line

With a dovetail saw cut down the shoulder. Every other saw will be fine too. But I find a smaller saw gives your more control for such a task. Try to stay close to your line.

Cutting the shoulders

That done the next step is to saw down the cheeks.

Sawing the cheeks

Now pare the cheeks with a wide chisel  to clean it.

Paring the cheeks

Unfortunately the router plane is not really helpful because you won't have an area to put it on.
So I had to train my paring skills this time.

Cheeks pared

The result is that I have square cheeks but I'm not fully down to my scribe lines. I'll leave it as it is.

Last step is to pare the shoulders.
Check them for square, pare and then again check yourself.

Register the shoulder at the vise batten

Checking for squareness

Now I made in one nicer (not one louder ;-) ).

The marker high in the vise

Clamp the new dovetail marker high in the vise.
Now grab a block plane (a #4 will be fine too) and bevel the four top edges.

Establishing a beveled edge

And here is your new dovetail marker.

New dovetail marker - side elevation

Dovetail marker - top elevation

And again I've compared the new made dovetail marker with my Veritas marker.

Comparison with the Veritas marker
I think I'm spot on. :-)


Again this is a nice side project.
It does cost nearly nothing (apart from a bit of time and patience) and it will sharpen your skills.
The nice side effect is that you will have a dovetail marker for your next dovetail project.

Ultimate Dovetail Marker Set #2

I hope this little how to series encourages you to make one by yourself.
Let me know how it goes or send me a picture of yours.

Keep on making!


  1. It seems that you have used also a Bahco sliding square. What do you think about it?

    1. Hi Andrea,
      thanks for your question. You are right. I'm using a Bahco square.
      I've got two 150mm Bahco squares and I'm satisfied with it.
      They are about 20 Euros and well worth the money. I like the engraved scale on the rulers pretty much (good for setting your marking gauges). I assume that the body is made from cast metal. So the square is pretty heavy. What I didn't like is that the edges of the body are a bit sharp. You can ease them with sandpaper.
      On some forums you can read that users have got issues with squareness. Mine didn't have got any issues. They are dead on.
      Hope that helps.

    2. Hi Stefan and thanks you too for your answer.
      I also have a 150 mm Bahco sliding square. They say that the body is zinc.
      Also mine is true. And thank you for the confirmation.
      Best regards from Italy,

  2. I thought about making a dovetail guide before and with your inspiration I think I'll give it a go thanks.