Step 3: Mark the dovetail groove

Sliding dovetail bookends would be just normal bookends if it has no dovetail in the base. We're probably going to want to make that. If you have a router and a table or a guide and a dovetail bit, then go for it. I'm sure you'll figure it out. If you don't have those things, or don't want to set up all that stuff just to make a groove, then here's what you do:

Decide how wide you want the dovetail to be. It should be narrower than the thickness of your stock, of course, especially the guide stock if you're using different lumber for different parts. Set your combination square to a distance that is just a little less than halfway across the base, place the square along one of the long edges, and make a mark. Place the square on the other edge, and make a mark. put your guide piece along the marks to see that the marks define a space narrower than the thickness of your guides. If it is, you're ready to rock. Otherwise, adjust the square and try again.

After playing with your square for a while, take it and run it along one of the long edges while holding a pencil at the top of the square. This will make a line you will use to cut the groove. Do the same thing with the other edge.

You now have two parallel lines (assuming the edges of the board are parallel) that define a centered groove. Nice job! Now extend those lines down the side of the board, set the combination square to the desired depth, and mark that on both the end sides as well.
I don't think you need an instructable book on humor. I think you should write one.
Regarding step 3, just a little suggestion, if you're up to some math. Set your combo square to something slightly longer than this:<br><br>(Base width - guide thickness)/2
MDF-on-MDF is bad for sliding, unless you want it to stick. Anyway, for better or worse there's lots of friction.
Excellent, point, forced_to_make_an_account. I can see how that would be true. So, note to other folks, MDF might not be a great idea for this particular project. Use wood. It's like nature's MDF. Except, you know, not like MDF at all. That was funnier when I started typing it. Sorry you're still reading this comment.
Thanks RB for a most instructive project, and also was thoroughly entertained by the sharply honed wit throughout. I like you already. Will definitely give this one a try. Thanks again Ed
Thank you! Just this last week I asked Hubby to build me sliding bookends as my jewelry making books come sliding over completely ignoring the current unattached bookend, knocking over jars of beads on their way down, narrowly missing my embroidery machine in their wake...>sigh< Lo and Behold your instructable and my handy husband WILL have a discussion this weekend. :D
Nice job. The only thing I would have done differently is Step 4. Use the table saw to cut the angles of the dovetail groove. This takes a bit longer to set up but gives a more accurate cut. Since the groove is in the center of the board, once the depth and width settings are correct you can cut both sides in 2 passes, then clean out the rest as you describe. You could do the whole thing with a router but, that's not as much fun. Great job.
I actually tried that the first time around and wasn't happy with the results. It was rather tricky to work with the kerf left in the base, as the blade didn't leave a nice angle in it. I'm getting tired of screwing around with my router, actually. I'm using it less and less any more. There are some things that I use it for, such as shaping a piece from a template or giving a nice decorative edge to a table, but all in all I've been using hand tools more, and am finding that it's saving me some time. That's just me though.
I learned with the saw and find it just as easy as the router .....very VERY nice work ....the saw works but you need the right blade and that may run more $$$ then you want to pay ....I find the outside blade for a very old sears dado set the best for this cut when I use the saw
Nice! Here's a suggestion - get two old hardback books and hollow them out - use the bookend vertical pieces to go up into the books and you can hide the entire sliding mechanism. (Or use some other items for the 2 ends.)
That is an awesome idea. If I make another one I will try that.
&quot;<em>Using a measuring tape is exactly what they'll be expecting you to do.</em>&quot;<br/><br/>Why do I find this so funny? Well, actually the whole Instructable is funny. And detailed and informative. <br/><br/>Great first 'Ible, fully deserved featuring (and I always wondered how you cut out dovetail grooves like that).<br/>
Thanks for the great comments! If it's not fun to read, then nobody will read it, no matter how useful the information is.
This is great. I had a similar idea to yours, only the whole contraption was upside down, such that the 'base' of yours would be the bookshelf above, and the ends were less massive.
Very well written and I love the amount of detail. Also, good unrelated spaghetti tip. ;)

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