Dovetail Jigs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-12-2012, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Dovetail Jigs

Hello All!

I'm a new member here and just started woodworking about...oh...a week ago! Basically, I went to the local big box store and dropped my teeth when they told me what the prices for their mid-level cabinetry were so I decided to do some web research and try to build my own. I have some carpentry knowledge and own a Table and Miter saw as well as assorted sanders and the like.

Anyway, I have built the boxes and attached the face frames to them using pocket screws and glue. I have been successful at building nice, straight boxes (I'm ridiculously proud of myself).

Anyway, the time has come to get to work on doors and drawers. I have the doors covered (I hope) but the drawers are another story. Essentially, I want to have nice dovetailed drawers and am considering the purchase of a Porter Cable 4216 dovetail jig.

Before taking the plunge, however, I decided to call my uncle who is an avid woodworker and ask him his opinion. It turns out, he has a Porter cable Omnijig but, to quote him "The ******* thing is so ******* difficult to set up you're better off cutting the ************* dovetails your ******* self!"

He told me I could take the jig and use it as long as I wanted as long as I sold it on ebay when I was done and gave him the money.

So here is the question...should I use the omnijig? he has me pretty intimidated! Should I go ahead and drop the 200 bucks or so for the 4216?

What is your advice?
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-12-2012, 10:09 PM
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I have never used the omnijig but it gets good reviews. I have the small basic jig 4210 I think. It takes a little time to get set up. Once you do it works fine. I expect the omnijig is the same.

LIB MR DUCKS
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-12-2012, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orange_Crush View Post
Hello All!

I'm a new member here and just started woodworking about...oh...a week ago! Basically, I went to the local big box store and dropped my teeth when they told me what the prices for their mid-level cabinetry were so I decided to do some web research and try to build my own. I have some carpentry knowledge and own a Table and Miter saw as well as assorted sanders and the like.

Anyway, I have built the boxes and attached the face frames to them using pocket screws and glue. I have been successful at building nice, straight boxes (I'm ridiculously proud of myself).

Anyway, the time has come to get to work on doors and drawers. I have the doors covered (I hope) but the drawers are another story. Essentially, I want to have nice dovetailed drawers and am considering the purchase of a Porter Cable 4216 dovetail jig.

Before taking the plunge, however, I decided to call my uncle who is an avid woodworker and ask him his opinion. It turns out, he has a Porter cable Omnijig but, to quote him "The ******* thing is so ******* difficult to set up you're better off cutting the ************* dovetails your ******* self!"

He told me I could take the jig and use it as long as I wanted as long as I sold it on ebay when I was done and gave him the money.

So here is the question...should I use the omnijig? he has me pretty intimidated! Should I go ahead and drop the 200 bucks or so for the 4216?

What is your advice?
Hi, there are any number of jigs available for making dovetails, I have never used the Omnijig but I have the Rockler version which does take some fiddling to setup. Your price is right on the Omnijig though so if you want to try that go for it. I assume you are just looking for half blinds in which case General Tool has one that can be used on the router table or with a hand held router that is easy to set up and use. Available at your local Home Depot for about $40. Another option for table router dovetails is a system similar to the MLCS fast joint system:
http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shops...nt_system.html
That system offers some neat variations of classic dovetails.

I noticed that you said you had the doors part of your project covered but made no mention of a router table as an available tool?

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-13-2012, 10:10 AM
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I have done a lot of looking myself, but have not yet taken the proverbial plunge.

If I were to take the plunge today it would be for a Keller jig.

http://www.kellerdovetail.com/

One of the benefits of this jig for my needs is that I can use it with my router table. The other jigs are designed to clamp the piece vertically which will take up additional wall/table space which is in short supply in my shop.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-13-2012, 10:39 AM
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Most dovetail jigs take some getting used to and can be frustrating. Organizing your drawer parts, cutting them the correct size and knowing the inside from the outside, top from bottom, left from right are important. Then it's a matter of which part goes which way in the jig, setting the depth of the router bits, many jigs require two different bits, offsetting one part correctly and with some, providing spacers and back up blocks. There is quite a bit to it and you'd better have some extra drawer parts, especially when you are learning. The Omni jig is a top quality dovetail jig. Make sure you get the directions and read them several times. Some folks don't have the patience. You will need to go through a couple of samples to get things set up correctly. Make sure the sample pieces are exactly the same thickness and size of the stock you will be using. Be very careful and deliberate with the router so you don't nick any of the jig parts. You will normally be using a template guide on the router. You will need the correct size bits and guides.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-13-2012, 10:46 AM
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I have the PC4216. It's the same as the other 4200 models just comes with the other templates. For kitchen drawers I would use half-blind dovetails. Once the jig is setup it uses the same setting even when using different thickness material. You can use an applied front or machine the front part of the drawer box to match the face frame & door material. You will see the dovetail once the drawer is opened.

I don't find the jig that hard to setup as the older models were. With half blinds you machine both parts of a joint at the same time with the inside of the joint facing up. Set the bit height in the router 5/8" from the router base plate (1/4" for template thickness & 3/8" for material, the rest is what is machined out for the joint). There is a setup stop on the side of the jig template but it may not be setup out of the box. Set it up after you find your sweet spot for future use if you need to setup router in the future. This will get you in the ballpark for the fit.

Number your four joints 1,2,3,4. Even numbers (2&4) you will use one side of jig & odd (1&3) you will slide over & use the other side of the jig. Fronts & backs are placed on top with inside facing up & sides are held vertical with inside facing out. Place parts in jig with the topside (or bottom side) edge of the box parts either all facing towards center of jig or all facing towards outside of jig but orientate them all the same for each side.

Do some test cuts before you machine you box material. It's not as hard as it sounds once you get it setup. The half blind setup can be used for material thicknesses of 1/2" to 1-1/8" with the same setup. I have a dedicated router for these & never have to change bit setting unless I'm changing out a dull bit.

These were done with the PC4216 jig
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James
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Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should!

Last edited by jlord; 06-13-2012 at 10:49 AM.
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