Dovetail Jig - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 23 Old 08-24-2008, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Question Dovetail Jig

Hey Guys
Being I haven't made a dovetail in over 20 years. Back in high school that is. I am looking to purchase a jig to start doing it again. There are a lot of different ones as we know out there priced well up over 500.00. I would just like to know what sizes, and models everyone finds the most useful. Really don't know how much I would use it at first. It would be more of an re-learning thing at first then anything. But I would also like it to be one that I could get a good amount of use out of with out having to put the big bucks out at first.

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John

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post #2 of 23 Old 08-24-2008, 05:35 PM
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There are a lot of dovetail jigs out there. U can buy inexpensive jigs (i.e. Harbor Freight), but the joints will NEVER fit,due to poor machining. Your best value for the $$ is the Porter Cable 4214 kit. It allows you to cut half blind 1/2" dovestails, thru 1/2", Box joints (with included Template) up to 12" wide stock. This will cover about 90% of your drawer making. The features I like about it is the accuracy of machining and that the bits and template guides are included.
Note: Be sure your router accepts the PC style template guides. They are almost the industry standard now.
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post #3 of 23 Old 08-25-2008, 03:59 AM
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I've had pretty good luck w/ the Leigh Super 12" jig. it's no D4, but for around $200, quite flexible and easy to use after practice, there is a learning curve involved, but once mastered very nice results. I would recommend 2 routers(I use 2 PC690) 1 for pins and 1 for tails.
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post #4 of 23 Old 08-29-2008, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Well like I said it has been a while since I made dove tails. But is there reason you use two routers? Wouldn't you be using the same bit for both sides? Or is there reajustments needed for the Leigh jig?

John

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post #5 of 23 Old 08-29-2008, 11:03 AM
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I would have to agree with MM on the Porter-Cable. I have the older version and it has worked out well for me with dovetails and box joints, and it's reasonably priced.
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post #6 of 23 Old 08-29-2008, 11:27 AM
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The D-4 IMHO is a pain to set up. Friend has the PC and I've offered to swap even up many times and he's refused.

Part of it is my problem I know, I just don't use it enough to know all the ins and outs. Maybe if I used it day in day out I'd have a different opinion. I seem to spend a lot of time rereading the manuel and watching the tape.
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post #7 of 23 Old 08-29-2008, 11:42 AM
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After spending all that money on a dovetail jig...don`t some of you woodworkers feel like building the jig yourself out of wood!!! Or at least some kind of synthetic material? That white composit stuff or nylon...or something!!! That would be a good way to build your layout skills. You could even build a fixture that woud clamp onto the drawer side as a guide for a hand held saw! Use your imagination...save your money...you`re going to need it!! Rick

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post #8 of 23 Old 08-29-2008, 12:19 PM
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I've got a few DT jigs, and don't use them. I'm not trying to discourage you from your interest in a jig.

If I make a custom piece requiring DT's I prefer to do them by hand. With some practice they go fairly fast and become easy to do. You can see how fast HERE.

IMO, a handcut DT looks different than a machine cut. Maybe I'm too old fashioned, but learning the facets of woodworking tend to filter into various other areas, like learning to accurately mark, measure, hand saw use, and chisel use. Having the "feel" for the procedure comes from learning the tools and using them. Holding a router to make DT's just doesn't do that for me.






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post #9 of 23 Old 08-29-2008, 02:23 PM
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I'm sorry, but I never did get, and still don't get the whole handcut dovetail theory. It's got to take longer than with a machine, and the glue joints can't be as tight. To me it would be like useing a handsaw to rip and crosscut boards, sure, it can be done, but with the tools out there nowdays, why ?
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post #10 of 23 Old 08-29-2008, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Well not to dismiss the idea of doing dovetails by hand, but they are time consuming. I do remember that from high school being our shop teacher made us do things by hand first before using the tools that made it easier and quicker to make joints etc.. Being that I am out of the state for 4 days out of the week. first day home is mainly dedicated to the family (kids especially) that leaves my second day home to do things I want around the house and garage. third day is getting ready to go back to work and the 3 hour drive to get there. So needless to say until I get work closer to home the jig is the way to go for me. Trust me I prefer to make things totally by hand but that isn't happening right now. Some help needs to come from the electric company.

John

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post #11 of 23 Old 08-29-2008, 08:10 PM
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If it's any help here's the link with some videos of the leigh jig's http://www.leighjigs.com/vids.php I myself have been looking into buying the 24" D4R dovetail jig as these videos have been a great help!

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post #12 of 23 Old 08-30-2008, 04:37 AM
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Hi John,
The Leigh jig requires 2 different bits, they are included w/ the jig and are replaceable, also can be re-sharpened. You really don't need 2 routers, I just find it nicer after the time wasted while messing around with setup and test-cuts, by that point playing around w/ the router is just a PIMA. Once setup correctly good results which allow size and spacing arraigned to suit your needs/liking.
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post #13 of 23 Old 08-31-2008, 12:53 AM
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Joints

I've trained my pet woodpecker to make them!Seriously I'm just a newbie.I bought a Porter Cable dovetail jig and my first try they came out fine.I did have to read the manual a couple of times though.
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post #14 of 23 Old 09-01-2008, 01:19 PM
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I have the Porter Cable as well. It also comes with the two bits, so having two routers makes it more convenient to go back and forth

As far as hand vs. Machine, I see the value in knowing how to do it by hand, but I am a power tool type guy, so if a power tool will do it, I will lran that direction. Most of the jigs mentioned so far cab be used to vary the spacing on the DT's, to make the finish product look less "machined"

I started with the low end Craftsman, it is cheap but only does half blind DT"s. ny buddy has the Craftsman Professional and I think it is a piece of crap
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post #15 of 23 Old 04-22-2009, 10:30 AM
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I'm a hobbyist and have never made dovetails before by hand or with a jig. I'm close to buying a dovetail jig. After reading lots of reviews I've decided to go with a Leigh Super Jig, with the accessory kit (vacuum and router support and 7 bits). I'm trying to decide whether to get the Super 18 or the Super 24. With the sale at Woodcraft at the moment, the 24" is $60 more than the 18" (both with accessories).

Any suggestions? Any of you with a 16-18" jig found yourself wishing you had a 24"? Any of you with a 24" found yourself wondering why you paid the extra because you never make anything over 16-18"?

Thanks for any thoughts!
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post #16 of 23 Old 04-22-2009, 11:39 AM
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There are a multitude of options for making dovetails. I have the D4. All of the jigs have limitations and the D4 is no exception. It's expensive but you can lay out any pattern you want for your project. Once you get past the very steep learning curve, set up isn't as difficult as it seems when you first look at the instruction book. You learn a short cut or two and you make and keep set up aids. I have a craftsman fixed dovetail jig that works but the set up for it isn't that much different than the D4. You can also get the add ons for other types of joints like bears ears.

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post #17 of 23 Old 04-22-2009, 12:24 PM
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Cabinetman:

I agree entirely.
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post #18 of 23 Old 04-22-2009, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordonrands View Post
With the sale at Woodcraft at the moment, the 24" is $60 more than the 18" (both with accessories).
We will be introducing our newest jig shortly - the K-24. It is a 26.75" jig which can be used to insert tapered, dovetail splines into the corner of a workpiece up to 24" without the need to re-index the jig.

It incorporates the most popular characteristics of the K-12 of which thousands have been sold; the radii of the slots is 5/8", on an index of 1.5". The jig will be reviewed soon by several nationally-known figures in the woodworking community, with the first review due out within a couple of weeks.

Later this summer, we will also be introducing the K-10. A jig designed for smaller projects such as small jewely boxes etc. The radii will be 7/16" on a 1" index. This will enable the user to incorporate the tapered dovetail splines on more intricate projects where the wider splines and spacing is not as well suited.
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post #19 of 23 Old 04-22-2009, 02:05 PM
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I don't know where to begin, so I'll start at my end

This site, www.woodworkingtalk.com is the second site I discovered on line that I like. The first site I discovered www.routerforums.com
I also like for all questions relating to routers, tables, jigs etc. There are a couple of guys over there that know a tremendous amount about routers, one has 10,000 plus posts! So FYI that's that. I did some research after I bought some Jet DJs on sale for $30 each and found out 2 things. One, the "cheap" jigs only make 1/2 blind dovetails. These include Sears, Jet, Harbor Freight, Midnight Auto Sales...no! Two, the expensive jigs will do both 1/2 blinds and through dovetails, these include Leigh, and Porter Cable Omni jigs.
So, depending on what you want to do with the jigs, like making drawers, the 1/2 blinds are fine although set-up and depth of cut are time consuming to get just right. The templates furnished with these are usually 1/2" and use a 14 degree dovetail bit, FYI. The HOT set-up is to leave a router all set to depth as a dedicated dovetail router. If you can afford that, then that's what I recommend. If not, a set-up gage or block will get you close based on previous successful joints. So, long term get the good ones as they last a lifetime, short term you can get by with a cheap one, but it's limited.
There are some "jigs" that are really templates, free standing, like from www.ptreeusa.com That you clamp to your workpiece that will make through DTs or you can turn it upside down and use it on your router table. Cost around $300 for a 30" wide unit. Requires 2 bits, with a top bearings. There are many options, so look before you leap!
Just my opinion, bill
PS. Kevin any idea of cost for your jig?

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Last edited by woodnthings; 04-24-2009 at 12:19 AM.
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post #20 of 23 Old 04-22-2009, 04:51 PM
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has anyone ever used the dovetail jig from Rockler? are these junk?
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