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Old 07-21-2020, 09:37 AM
cncdood cncdood is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 38
Default Can I just use a normal dovetail bit for flat cut boxes?

I'm sure this is a dumb question but after searching around here I couldn't find the answer.

For flat cut dovetail boxes, why can't I just use a normal dovetail bit (like this versus buying the $500 Vortex 9101?
Austin, TX

2013 Cobra 510 w/ ATC
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:32 PM
Jim Becker Jim Becker is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SE PA
Posts: 1,648

If the material is flat on the CNC bed...a regular dovetail bit is going to be oriented 90 from what it normally would be for joinery, at least for half of the joint if you are talking half-blind dovetails.
Jim Becker

SR-44 (2018), 1.7kw spindle, Performance Premium, USB, Keypad, T-Slot table (y-axis configuration), WinCNC, VCarve Pro upgraded to Aspire

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Old 07-21-2020, 09:39 PM
Ed Hazel Ed Hazel is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Woodland Mi
Posts: 78

To do flat dovetails you need a special bit like the vortex with the radius on it. I looked into this a couple of years ago. I found another flat dovetail bit that was not an insert for around $200 if I recall.

I got the impression these flat dovetails took a lot of set up and the end results were less then desirable as they did not look right.
Ed Hazel

508 Cobra ATC 15 Tools
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Old 07-22-2020, 03:08 PM
sgodding sgodding is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Henryville, PA
Posts: 470

As others have said, you need a special dovetail bit for flat dovetails because they require a radius at the top of the dovetail. The bottom can have sharp corners, but the top radius is required.

I have done these using Mozaik. I set aside a sheet of baltic birch to dial in the setup of the bit...was using a custom bit so couldn't use the Vortex settings as is. Once I got them dialed in, they came out nice and consistent from there on out - the setup sheet was a one-time thing. They make a strong drawer box - you and your customer just have to be ok with the look of a baltic birch edge on the box, and they're sure less expensive.
Steve Godding
D&S Artistic Woodworking LLC
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:06 PM
SteveNelson46 SteveNelson46 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Posts: 182

Vectric (Aspire, V-Carve, etc.) has a software gadget that uses a regular end mill for flat dovetails. It isn't perfect but with some modification it could be useful.
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Last edited by SteveNelson46; 07-22-2020 at 09:10 PM.
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