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  • Newbie: Dovetails and RAS

    I've been lurking for awhile, and finally picked up some decent wood for a project, so its time to post...

    I'm making a box that is 24x18x6. I bought some poplar last night for the box (oak was to expensive for this basically first project). I'm planning on using handcut dovetails for the joints, and was wondering if there was any wisdom as to how many pins should be used? Is there a standard that says, "if the wood is X dimensions, than you should use Y pins?" The wood is 1/2 x 6.

    Also, I have a hand-me-down Rigid RAS that I got from my father. I've adjusted it and made a few cuts, and plan on learning its many features. Any idea where I can get accessories for it? ie, will any cutting head (with the right arbor) fit? Cutting head guard?? Sanding spindle? Etc.


  • #2
    I must say I am impressed that you are trying hand cut dove tails on your first project, I remember having trouble with machine cut tails the first time I tried it.
    The typical dovetail jig is layed out for 1" on center pins and tails so I would leave 1/2" top and bottom and cut 6 joints.
    The beauty of hand cut joints is you are not stuck with using identical pins and tails. I would still keep the 1/2" from the edge but consider using a 1" pin and tail in the middle with smaller ones on either side of it or some other interesting pattern that shows of the hand cut joint


    • #3
      While not an expect by any means, I think the consenses is that asthetically things look better if there is a odd number of pins. Of course, this matters mostly on things where the dovetails are highlighted. I'm not counting the two 1/2 that are needed on the ends. By the way, those half pins should be a little wider than the interior pins for structural strength. Given the size (1/2" x 6"), I would first lay out 3 full pins and the 2 half-pins on a piece of scrap and see what it looks like. You want to make sure that the narrowest part of the pins are at least as wide as you narrowest chisel.


      • #4

        I'm a newbie too, and bought a Ridgid RAS in Dec. Been studying up on it. Basically it is a Craftsman because Emerson Electric (Ridgid's parent co) made the Craftsman RASs from 1958 until at least 1992, probably more like 1996. If you look at any of the later Craftsman Contractor series 10" RASs, you'll see that they are identical to the Ridgid, excepting paint scheme and colors. Virtually any accessory for the Craftsman saws will work on the Ridgid. If in doubt make sure that it is for a Craftsman RAS with a part number beginning with 113. That is like 113.XXXXXXX

        Think I posted this here somewhere before, but the Craftsmans are so "Ridgid" that the Craftsman dust collection kit for the RAS, in a Craftsman box and all, has an instruction sheet that bears an Emerson Electric copyright and part #! The picture of the Craftsman Contractor's Series RAS on the outside of the box looks exactly like (even on very close inspection) a Ridgid RS1000 dressed uup (down?) in red/black/silver instead of grey/black/(orange knobs on the very last ones). Betcha the instructions for the Sears moulding cutter and guard have Emerson copyrights too.

        Haven't looked at the blade side of the motor on the new (Ryobi-built) Craftsman yet, but the back end of the motor and housing are identical to the Ridgid, so suspect that the way the guard mounts, hence the way accessories mount would be the same. Also, Sears probably has a fortune (by our standards, anyway) in accessories and parts, they would try to maintain compatability across the line when they switched manufacturers. Ryobi's parent co now has licensing agreement with Emerson, so probably no legal worries vis-a-vis making guard/accessories mount the same way either. Worth a close look next time at Sears.

        Actually, one caveat: be sure that you don't get accessories for the Craftsman Electronic RAS. I think Emerson/Ridgid made it (not sure though), but by both looks and specs it seems different enough that things made for it may not interchange with the Ridgid. Not sure though.


        • #5
          Tooks some time this weekend to play around with some scrap. I'm actually getting the hang of cutting dovetails! Feels kind of good getting some pretty good results.

          My wife was pretty skeptical when I said I was going to do it, and now she's pretty impressed!

          I'll be starting on the real pieces tonight. Wish me luck!

          Thanks for the replies. Still looking for advice if you have any!