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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:04 pm 
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Location: Chester County, PA
I am building drawers for a builtin project and decided to purchase a Porter Cable Dovetail jig. I am using 1/2 Baltic Birch Plywood and am experiencing a lot of tearout. I am using the bits that came with the jig. Not sure I better quality bits will make a difference. Before I head out to the lumber store and purchase 1/2 poplar, does anyone have any suggestions or feedback? I Added 2 photos. Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:41 pm 
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Not sure if this is the answer but I've never seen dovetails cut in plywood before. Not even Baltic birch. But then I haven't seen everything, either. I'd opt for solid timber.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:07 pm 
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Ditto what Dennis said.....But if you're using 1/2" stock then you might try using a 1/4" solid backer board. Otherwise, if you are determined to use plywood...you might try hand cutting the DT's using a razor saw. Don't know if the saw would stand up to the glue in the plywood for long. The best solution is to go ahead and get some 1/2" poplar and stick with conventional methods. I, personally can't see any advantages for using plywood. Maybe you could explain why you want to use it.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:29 pm 
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You could try scoring the cuts before routing. Might help. Most folks don't have much luck routing ply, me included.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:46 pm 
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JSSTEVENS: DON2LAUGHS and GENE have really valid points. Score the face first use a backer board and don't rush the cut. Won't most of the fuzz wind up on the inside of the joint? Probably most important is to use a really sharp bit. Hone the bits you use to make sure of the edge. Also you might consider getting the bulk of the material out of the way before you complete with the appropriate router bit. HTH

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:04 pm 
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One more thing to try is to add a sacrificial board on the front face of the ply (that is, the face away from the jig). I've managed to cut dovetails in baltic birch, but it probably wasn't worth the effort and still had some tearout.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:07 pm 
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Ive never had any luck DT ply. I used to pocket hole them now I domino them


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:58 pm 
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I've routed all kinds of joints in BB ply with differing degrees of "success".

Backing, and fronting the stock will help, but not always.
A slower feed rate and/or changing the bit speed can also help.
Using quality bits will also help ... for a while ... then you've turned them into dull bits.

IMHO and experience there is nothing using BB ply that other joinery techniques wouldn't solve with much less head/heart ache.
Or switching to solid stock. Poplar is an excellent choice for where otherwise ply might be used.

DT joints are very strong in solid wood; not so much in ply.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:13 pm 
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I would like to thank everyone for the feedback. I am placing an order for poplar and calling it a day. Wish I starting down this path from the start. I added a photo of the project I am working on and hope to complete soon. Just need to make some progress with the drawer boxes.


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