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Chinese dovetail cutter

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RMA07/04/2019 20:47:24
154 forum posts

Hi. Does anyone have any experience with Chinese dovetail cutters? I'm proposing to cut a couple of dovetails about 230mm long, in a block of aluminium, and I looked on ebay and I can get one for around £10.

British ones are also listed but 5 or 6 times the price, Realising you only get what you pay for, I don't really want to pay a lot for a couple of cuts, do you think the cheap one would be up to the task?

Baz07/04/2019 20:50:04
224 forum posts

Only one way to find out!

RMA07/04/2019 21:05:03
154 forum posts

I was really looking for an answer to my first question. If no one has any experience I might try the Chinese option.

The Novice Engineer07/04/2019 21:38:58
48 forum posts
20 photos


I have used a number of Chinese sourced cutters over the past few years Carbide and HSS and generally they have been value for money.

I have not specifically used Dovetails cutters but I have used T Slot cutters to successfully make an Aluminium Slotted Table for a small mill.

Give them a try, its not a lot of money !

Brett Hurt07/04/2019 21:42:50
23 forum posts
5 photos

I got one off ebay and it worked very well and cheap.

David George 107/04/2019 22:20:01
840 forum posts
292 photos

Hi I bought one only to find the stem between the cutting angle and the holding stem ran out by about 0.75mm and when I cut it rubbed there and had to relieve it to cut the dovetail I was cutting. The cutting angle and the stem was ok but I was woried by thinning the middle part.


not done it yet07/04/2019 22:36:13
3148 forum posts
11 photos

Question of chinese or british might be addressed by comparing the quality (not the price). Cheap chinese might be poor value for money, but more-expensive chinese might well compare favourably with british but still at lower cost. Are you sure the ‘british’ ones are actually made in the UK?

If the epay quality is as much hit or miss as the likes of bang good, try by all means - but only if you can afford to throw the item away if it is sub-standard.

I’ve compared cheap chinese dies with second-use UK manufacture. Uk manufacture wins hands down when doing a tough job. I’ve compared chinesium bang good carp with UK sourced better quality chinese manufactured items and the UK sourced chinese item wins hands down. Your choice entirely.

HOWARDT07/04/2019 22:51:10
426 forum posts
14 photos

I bought a HSS dovetail cutter from Tracy Tools at a show about 12 months ago, £15, has performed well in steel. Probably cut about 1000mm so far with occasional use of aerosol lubricant. Make sure the cutter diameter is big enough for the depth you need to cut, and small enough to get between the inner corners of the ways.

Jon08/04/2019 00:48:37
988 forum posts
46 photos

Have to admit i do use the HSS chinese dovetail cutters at least a couple of days a week pro.

If its £10 delivered it must be something like 18 or 20mm theyre good on 6082 and will do well in excess of 40 metres as a general guide.
Equally use the 3/8"/10mm a lot, same again 10's of metres.

Just chop out or slot out material first and use cutter purely to cut the dovetail/s to size.

RMA08/04/2019 08:56:27
154 forum posts

Thanks for all the replies folks, I'll now order a cheapy and see how it goes.

Brian Rutherford08/04/2019 16:40:59
79 forum posts
3 photos

I bought a 10mm dovetail cutter for telescopic sight rail in mild steel. Suprised it did the job but took very light cuts

Brian Rutherford08/04/2019 16:41:00
79 forum posts
3 photos

I bought a 10mm dovetail cutter for telescopic sight rail in mild steel. Suprised it did the job but took very light cuts

Richard -08/04/2019 17:01:47
39 forum posts
4 photos

I made one, based on the Randy Richard's design he has a channel on YouTube.

It works brilliantly and uses a 60 degree carbide lathe tool insert.

Check out his channel


Tim Stevens08/04/2019 17:06:31
1049 forum posts

Be sure to use paraffin, or kerosene (or whatever our friends over the pond call it) as a lubricant, and you should avoid the tendency of aluminium to stick to the cutter and gouge the work. But of course, I expect you knew that


RMA08/04/2019 21:58:53
154 forum posts

Thanks Tim and everyone, I'm still trying to locate one of the right size....and price.

Tim Chambers08/04/2019 23:55:52
82 forum posts
33 photos

Dovetail Cutters

I know it says wood but they worked very nicely in mild steel when I made some toolholders for my lathe a few weeks ago.

Edited By Tim Chambers on 09/04/2019 00:02:38

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