Dovetails with SketchUp Make 2017

I am experimenting with making woodworking jigs using the Microjig clamps in which the clamp foot has a dovetail cross section. A jig requires a grid of channels that match the 1/2" 14 deg dovetail. Within SketchUp, the perpendicular intersection of one dovetail channel with another causes Push/Pull to stop. Is there an easy way around this problem?

A second issue I am having is how to draw the stopped dovetail slot that will accept the clamp? The steps in making this channel (or slot) is as follows:

  1. route a 5/16" diameter stopped slot
  2. route a 1/2"-14 deg dovetail stopped slot, 3/8" deep
  3. route a 7/16" dia by 1/4" deep 3" long

I was able to draw this channel but it was convoluted and required a lot of erasing of extraneous geometry. First, I divided the length of the part in half so that I had a flat surface to use follow me on half the dovetail profile. Next, I used Move/Copy and Flip Along to create the 2nd half of the jig base with stopped dovetail. The 5/16" wide stopped groove was then created with Push/Pull.The next step was to widen the 5/16" wide channel to 7/16" wide to a depth of 1/4". The last step was to create the 1/2" diameter entry hole made by the dovetail bit. Thete was a lot of erasing of extraneous geometry. Generally, one can draw something quicker than they can make; it is not true in this case. I am looking for a simpler way to draw this type of geometry.stopped dovetail clamp slot.skp (44.8 KB)

If you model solids (which should be easy with this sort of thing), you could model the channel once and use solid tools to Trim it from the piece.


Hey Ben! Where’ve you been? Long time no chat. We should catch up.

I did a thing the other day for a guy who is doing something similar. I’ll see if I can hunt it up.

I showed using Solid Tools but since you’re using Make, you would explode the groups/components and use Intersect Faces. Or you could get BoolTools2 and use Subtract or Trim.

Similar to what Aaron did, I drew the volume of the slot and intersected it with the board. Then I erased what isn’t board.

It’s easier with Solid Tools or BoolTools2.


If you need to do this sort of thing manually, hitting ctrl with the pushpull tool will allow it to pass through obstacles like this. Then intersect and clean up.

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Thanks for your suggestion. SketchUp Make does not have the solid tools but I think I see how to accomplish this (less efficiently) by making a “dovetail keyway” component and then intersecting it with the model.

Dave: Thanks for your suggestion. In my real application, the first 3" will always be the same but the rest of the slot length could be variable. I will create a component called “top entry dovetail slot” whose length is longer than I need. I can then change the length as needed.

I will also check out booltool2.

There are always multiple way to do a job. The best way to do it is the one that you can remember. Since I typically deal with woodworkers in the age range 60-80, remembering “how to” becomes very important. :grinning:

The key step you taught me was hitting ctrl when doing the push/pull operation. I have played around with your approach and am comfortable using it. Thanks a lot.

Hi Ben,

You can always modify the length of the top entry dovetail slot cutter with the Move tool to make it longer or shorter as needed. Just turn on hidden geometry, select the end, and move it to the desired length.

Absolutely true.

Thanks for the CTRL+Push Pull tip!

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Seconded! :grinning: