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Thread: Cutting a Dovetail

  1. #1
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    Cutting a Dovetail

    If you are cutting a dovetail for a sight , do you make first pass with a stright endmill then the dovetail cutter ? Never did this before .

  2. #2
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    Absolutely!

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtinNC View Post
    If you are cutting a dovetail for a sight , do you make first pass with a stright endmill then the dovetail cutter ? Never did this before .
    Definitely. For sight cuts I like to make that center cut a couple thou deeper than my dovetail depth as well - makes it a little easier to get the sight in & out, but still holds "plenty much good enough".

    GsT

  3. #3
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    Thanks .

  4. #4
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    I too use a straight end mill first but I am also self taught and often wondered if it was actually the right approach. First one I ever did was with a file and it came out real nice as I did not have a mill at that time.

  5. #5
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    The problem is that a dovetail has to make a full cut.

    Use a straight bit and then you can use a smaller dovetail to separately clean up each side.

    Especially on smaller equipment that may not have as solid a setup.

  6. #6
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    Properly cut, a SIGHT dovetail one side is cut on a slight taper.



    .

  7. #7
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    I disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by JerrySharrett View Post
    Properly cut, a SIGHT dovetail one side is cut on a slight taper.



    .
    That was once common, but no longer is. It provides no real benefit (other than trying to figure out which way to drive a sight in or out). Most current manufacturers sell sights with parallel sides, and most cuts are now parallel as well. Now you can tap 'em back and forth without tightening or loosening the sight and you don't have to worry about which way it goes in or out.

    GsT

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneT View Post
    That was once common, but no longer is. It provides no real benefit (other than trying to figure out which way to drive a sight in or out). Most current manufacturers sell sights with parallel sides, and most cuts are now parallel as well. Now you can tap 'em back and forth without tightening or loosening the sight and you don't have to worry about which way it goes in or out.

    GsT
    Nothing a little Loctite will not fix.

  9. #9
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    Should not need it at all and where a file might come in handy for the final fit if not used to cutting one and possibly being your first. And you would what the bottom to be a safe edge on the file that you might be using.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneT View Post
    That was once common, but no longer is. It provides no real benefit (other than trying to figure out which way to drive a sight in or out). Most current manufacturers sell sights with parallel sides, and most cuts are now parallel as well. Now you can tap 'em back and forth without tightening or loosening the sight and you don't have to worry about which way it goes in or out.

    GsT
    You better check again because Springfield, Glock, and S&W are all tapered......on one way, off the opposite way.
    Truglo sights go over this in detail in their instructions.

  11. #11
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    During what years of manufacture. Its common knowledge that a front dovetailed sight can be drifted / pushed left or right for corrections. And they have actually been manufacturing tools to do just that for several years now and why I ask.
    Last edited by Louis.J; 04-20-2021 at 08:00 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim View Post
    You better check again because Springfield, Glock, and S&W are all tapered......on one way, off the opposite way.
    Truglo sights go over this in detail in their instructions.
    Neither my Springfield 1911 nor my M&P Pro are tapered, haven't checked the Glock, but I doubt they've ever been. My older Kimbers *are* tapered - the only guns I own that are. Tru-Glo (and most sight manufacturers) say that because at one time they were (still surprised if they said Glock...) and that's easier than trying to list years and serial number ranges - after all everything works for a straight dovetail. Next time you're installing a sight, throw the slide in a mill vise and run a DTI ball down each side of that dovetail...

    GsT

  13. #13
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    I haven't seen a tapered dovetail in a looong time altho I still watch for them, every time I deal with a dovetail.

    I think tapered dovetails are/were stupid and offer no facility, no advantage of any sort.

    I saw some badly blown out ones back in the late 70's early 80's and we learned in gunsmithing school how to peen the lips back into shape. At one time I was perdy proud of my ability to beat metal back into shape "like it never happened" BUT......

    Speaking of peening

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned, peening the lips down with a burnished smooth plate or punch to tighten a dovetail is Basic Gunsmithing 101

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by alinwa View Post
    Speaking of peening

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned, peening the lips down with a burnished smooth plate or punch to tighten a dovetail is Basic Gunsmithing 101
    Beats the hell out of Coke can shims.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kielly View Post
    Beats the hell out of Coke can shims.
    LOL!!

    OK, I dunno if you're a typical Ozzie gearhead ("petrolhead" to you'se scions of the Queen) but in any case you brought back a sweet memory of me' yout' (that's American yout', as in yute, not ute)

    Got friends in town cuz my cousin's getting married 2 states away in 2 days.....couple of us in the wedding party live on opposite coasts, I live in the middle and they wanted to fly in and carpool from central MN to Da' Yoop because, well BECAUSE.... that's the sort of stuff we do.

    So we're out tearing up the roads @ 2AM in my '70 Nova, 350 over a 400 with too-tall gears and too-tall airshocks.......slam the brakes and the bumper digs asphalt as she tries to swap ends.... vertically.

    I'm doin' about a buck thirty American (210 kliks to you) and somebody's elbow bumps the T-Hannle on the B&M which dumps the bumper which dumps my elbow which dumps my bumper which dumps my elbow which chicken-peckin' motion ends up with my rear tires LIT'rally leaving the ground on a straightaway... which, when I got 'er back down, the rods had a pronounced RADDLE........ as in you has to be either under power or winding down cuz you cain't HEAR with slack in the motor.

    So we topped up the 'turdy-weight and humped 'er on home 13 miles and tore her down

    It's Friday nite

    In Finlayson Minnesota population 139 (Actually just up the road in Willow River, population 112 with 6 bars and no churches but who's counting)

    Wedding's on Sunday, 6hrs away

    Which brings me to the Coke cans

    Shims of aluminum (aluminium is similar) and some judicious rasping of the rod caps and we not only made the trip, but I got another 20 thou out of 'er

    Ahhhh Yesss..... Coke Is It..... was anyways
    Last edited by alinwa; 04-23-2021 at 04:51 PM.

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