If you’ve ever seen me cut dovetails, whether in person, on video or in still photos, you have almost certainly seen my beloved Woodjoy Tools “Precision Dovetail Template.” I bought it in 2006, and have used it on every one of my dovetailed projects. I also recommended it in Popular Woodworking too may times to count, and in every class I’ve taught that involves dovetails…at least until a few years ago, when Woodjoy’s founder, Glenn Livingston, retired, and the tool was no longer available. Then, I lamented to every class I taught that my favorite dovetail template was no longer available (and to keep an eye on eBay and other secondary markets). And I started begging Christopher Schwarz to make a similar one.
Yes of course there are lots other dovetail templates on the market – I’ve used most of them and even own some of them. Or you can use a sliding bevel for layout. You can also simply start cutting – no lines required – a la Frank Klausz.
But I always loved the small size (which makes it easy to use at either edge of the board), light weight (every ounce counts when packing tools for teaching gigs) and relatively low price of the Woodjoy template.
So I kept bugging Chris (it’s my superpower), and finally wore him down. He said if I could get in touch with Glenn and work out a deal with him, we’d do it. So I did.
I am delighted to announce that coming next week, we will have available the Crucible Dovetail Template; it will be $49 (and Glenn gets a royalty on every one sold).
The Crucible Dovetail Template marks out the two most-common dovetail slopes, 1:6 and 1:8 (I use 1:6 on almost everything, simply because it looks nice to my eye), and allows you to easily and accurately lay out the angled and straight parts of the joint.
Ours is milled from solid steel, which helps to ensure a perfect 90° at the corner (all the excess is recycled). The template measures 5/8″ x 1-11/16″ x 3″. The angled sections are long enough to mark out tails in 1-3/8″ stock. The straight section of the tool is long enough to reach fully across two 3/4″-thick boards (for those who gang-cut dovetails). There’s also a handy hang hole, just like on the original.
And now I’ll have to find something else about which to pester Chris. I feel certain it won’t take me long.
Note: Once we are able to keep up with production, we’ll offer these to our retailers (it’s up to them whether to carry it, of course).
28 thoughts on “Coming Soon: My New Preciousssss”
Good friends are supposed to use their “influence” to get their friends to do good in the world. I think this counts.
Take my money
Please take my money!!! I need one ASAP.
Yes I am sold, been eyeing yours Megan for quite some time. Thanks for following through on this.
Please make a 14 degree dovetail template. Everyone should recognize it’s the most attractive dovetail slope. Miss Fitz should recognize it’s perfection, as 14 is the number of lines in a sonnet.
The world’s greatest composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, encoded 14 into his works. Bach may have considered this number his signature — A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, etc., then B + A + C + H = 14. 14 is the atomic weight of nitrogen, the most common element in the air we breathe. 14 is the number of pounds in a stone, the number of days in a fortnight, and the most clubs a golfer can have in their bag.
The 14th Amendment declared all those born or naturalized in the US to be citizens, with equal protection under the law. 14 is the perfect amendment, as soon as we find a way to make it work.
The world needs a 14 degree Crucible dovetail marker.
Now that’s what I call a sales pitch.😀
6 is the symbol of perfect union in numerology…or so Wikipedia tells me. And it just looks better than 14° (which is very close to 1:4…Chris’ preferred slope) 🙂
14 is the minimum age limit to drive a 50cc motorbike in Italy, which is clearly analogous to driving Catbus in Covington.
Why 1:8? I find this will make a dovetail look like a box joint. The 1:7 appears tome to be a good compromise when boards are 3/4′ thick, such as drawer fronts, especially if making elegant “London” slim dovetails. The 1:6 works well for cases. I have the original Woodjoy, which I set aside as I do almost all in 1:7. Perhaps I will refile it to that. Regards from Perth, Derek Cohen
on 1″ thick stock, 1:8 looks almost Hill Billy to my eye. on 1/4″ stock, i agree 1:8 looks more like a box joint.
congrats on the new bling. looks fabulous!
Ok, here’s my money 💰
I’m wondering how many you will sell. A search on Amazon shows most markers cost $15 to $20. Aren’t y’all getting just a little overly proud of your merchandise? Understand y’all are making thousands but even though, $49 is not a competitive charge for the market. You could cut you price in half and sell ten times more.
If we cut the price in half, then we would be losing money. Making stuff in the USA, using quality materials, paying employees a good wage and in small batches is a challenge.
We get comments about pricing on everything we do, from books to pencils. I have only one response: Please, please, please give it a go yourself. Risk your savings and your family’s livelihood to produce books and tools here in the USA at a price that will shame us.
Put another way, the people who get rich making tools are selling millions of $9.99 boxes of junk drill bits. The people who are barely making ends meet are making the expensive stuff in small batches.
If you cut the price in half, lose money on each one, but sell ten times as many, won’t you make a profit on volume?
If I lose $1 on each item I sell and I sell ten items, my arithmetic adds that up to losing $10, no?
Yeah. It was supposed to be sarcasm. Sorry.
I don’t think this is a bad price at all. Sterling Toolworks (who also makes a dovetail tool) sells his for a little more.
Comparing tools on Amazon to fine tools is foolish. When I first started woodworking I made a mistake that I guess a lot of others have also made and I bought cheap tools. I had chisels that looked like corkscrews, sliding bevels that didn’t lock, combination squares that weren’t squares, etc. I eventually realized that I had wasted a lot of money on junk. I decided to spend money on either new or used tools that are actually worth owning and will last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Crucible, Lie-Nielsen, Sterling, Bad Axe and others are certainly more expensive than anything on Amazon, but I also know that if I happen to get a faulty tool that I can pick up the phone and an actual person who knows what they’re talking about will make it right.
What I think is most unfortunate is that quality tools like these were available in every hardware store in America back when our grandfathers needed them.
If you’re only going to use something once or twice, by all means buy the cheapest product that will do the job. But if you want something that will last decades, you will have to pay for it.
I can’t wait to order one of these.
If you’re willing, I’d love to hear a little more about manufacturing. The fact that it’s, presumably, more cost efficient to make these from a solid chunk of steel really makes me curious.
Every machine shop is different, with a different mix of types of mills and staff. So what I’m about to say applies only to this one shop. At this point in time.
Where we make the dovetail templates, we also run several other tools and have timed things out so that one person can monitor two or three mills running different jobs. At this point, machine time is cheaper than the alternative (human time + human error).
Our original hope was to source T-shaped steel bars for this tool. They exist, but not in the sizes we need. So we are using a very inexpensive chunk of steel (the waste is recycled – sorry to repeat that), clever fixturing and machine time to make these. These use very little human labor required compared to some other tools.
I hope this makes sense. Basically: Human labor is incredibly scarce. So CNC mills are the better option in this one case.
With all due respect, I am not sure why dovetail angles are focused on 1:6 and 1:8 or any other such specific number. I am pretty sure this is a manufacturer’s opportunity to sell a tool with two ends, thus two angles. For me personally, l have no idea what the angle of my dovetails are. At the School I teach at, we have a 150 yo tool chest which has some beautiful DTs, and the DT angles are in fact 1:2.5! Historically, I think that what most people did is what I also do, which is to lay out a DT, step back and if my feng sui drops into place, and the chisels at hand work in the interstices, then I am golden! Checkout Mark Firley’s photo-documentation of historical dovetails for an eye opener.
Mark Firley’s dovetail compilation is fantastic! Chris blogged about it way back, but everyone should have a gander.
I have invested heavily in a full set of hand tools since 2018. One thing I don’t have yet that would be nice is a dovetail marker – not two crummy ones, but one good one. My time has come. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I trust Crucible Tools implicitly.
I buy from Lost Art Press not not for the product but also support the incredible amount of information they share at no cost. Please charge what you think is fair and I am more than happy to pay. I am buying great quality items from you along with boatloads of free information that is worth more than my words can express. Thank you! You are charging less than the value we receive.
Your products are worth every penny you charge even without the extra information. I know value when I see it.
From today’s blog. lostartpress post: Stop buying tools. We all have too many, and that sabotages furniture making.
When using this style marker do you ever find yourself using the wrong side? Somehow, I think I would.
Chris says he used to; I never have.
People complain about the price yet the product sells out in ten minutes. Free market capitalism laughs at the whiners.
Your template is a bargain compared to other options I’ve spent money on.
Confession: I layout dovetails in Adobe Illustrator, print them and spray glue the paper to my boards. I then mark them with a #11 Xacto knife, peel the paper and saw. I feel a little guilty every time I do it but can’t stop myself. It uses pre-computer skills in graphics. My Adobe subscription costs about the same as your template – every month. Cost of Apple hardware and printer – don’t ask.
I have a Lie-Nielsen dovetail guide, marked with a 6 and 7. 1:6 and 1:7, I assume. It’s hard to tell them apart and I often used the wrong side and occasionally shaved the wood with my Xacto (odd that their marking edge was wood).
Your price is a hell of a lot cheaper than the Leigh jig gathering dust in my basement (routers, bits, ear protection, etc.). Fine, if you’re building a hundred drawers – all the same.
A person could buy your template, a good dovetail saw, coping saw, fishtail chisel and be set for decades.
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