David Barron Dovetail Jigs
Review and photos: Raf Nathan
British woodworker David Barron has an interesting website featuring his furniture and boxes but what caught my eye were some dovetail jigs of his own design. Apparently he started making wooden versions of these but now has them made in the UK from anodised aluminium in a variety of dovetail angles.
The aluminium is thick (6mm and thicker in some parts) and the machining is excellent. They are a high quality product. The samples I received were a 1:7 dovetail plus a 90° jig for straight sawing. They have embedded magnets to secure a handsaw at the desired angle and a special film coating that reduces friction between saw and jig.
There is no mistaking the similarity to the Veritas dovetail guides which I have been happily using for many years. Unlike the Veritas guides however these have no clamp to secure them, rather they have abrasive paper glued in place. In use you sit them in position and the abrasive counteracts any movement. Without a clamp to tighten and set, the Barron jigs are fast to use, and whereas the Veritas jig can sometimes foul the saw, these keep the sawblade well clear of the aluminium. Rest the jig on the piece of wood to be cut and the strong magnet guides the saw at the desired angle.
Despite the aid in sawing, ultimately a dovetail you make depends on where you place the saw cuts. For example saw the tails first and there are no dramas. But the next step of transferring the tail positions is up to you. Practice and good reading glasses are needed to place the remaining saw cuts. It’s still all about accurate marking and chiselling once all the sawing is complete but the Barron jigs do remove the sawing headaches.
My samples arrived with a recommended Japanese fine saw which worked brilliantly. I also tried various other saws, both Japanese and Western style, and still achieved good results. Using the 1:7 dovetail and 90° jig enabled me to easily saw tight dovetails. In fact after one practice set the second set were very satisfactory. These jigs are highly recommended.
Tools supplied from www.davidbarronfurniture.co.uk