Leigh jig, the easy way - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-04-2014, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Leigh jig, the easy way

I bought a used Leigh jig a while back, and was getting it set up today. It didn't take long to see there would be a lot of time wasted switching bits, and making test cuts, so I came up with a much easier way.

System: Two routers. One with a straight bit, and one with the dovetail bit. I didn't have but one of the Leigh adjustable bushings, but a 3/8" bushing with a 1/4" shank spiral 1/4" straight cutter looked like it was close enough. I only had the one 8mm collet reducer that came with the kit, so I used that with the included dovetail bit. It worked fine with the other bushing and bit.

Now with two routers, each with bits that would work without swapping, I eyeballed the depth for the first test cuts, measured the amount it was off with a digital depth micrometer, adjusted, and made another test cut. One more adjustment to tighten up the pins, and it was good to go.

Once it was set up like this, it only took a few minutes to cut dovetails on a new Oak handsaw box. I thought about cutting them by hand, but I've been putting off making the box, and setting this jig up, so it solved both of those.

I wrote down the depth of bits in the Leigh book, but put both 960s in a toolbox ready to go again when called on for 3/4 material.

It took longer to step off the box sides with dividers, and decide how I wanted to space the pin and tails, than it did to cut them.
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-05-2014, 09:06 PM
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Tom,

I once had that jig and the setup you describe, I sold it after learning to cut dovetails by hand. After seeing your website I'm suprised you use the jig it is not something you can use on historic restoration.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-05-2014, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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I do a lot of stuff other than preservation. You're right. It won't get used on any of that. I can cut dovetails by hand, and will when it matters or I'm getting paid for it, but not just for the sake of doing them by hand. The jig worked great on a box for handsaws...too many things to do to cut all of them by hand. Now if I want to spend an hour doing a good dovetail job on a box by hand I can, but doing stuff for myself, being able to save most of that hour that I'm not getting paid for matters.

When we build a set of kitchen cabinets for a new house, most of the time we cut half-blinds for drawers on a cheap Rockwell jig I bought new in the '70s, but it still does the job.

Having dedicated routers set up and ready to go, makes such things a few minute job.

Last edited by Tom King; 02-05-2014 at 10:12 PM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-22-2014, 03:22 PM
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Can one of you guys post how to cut dovetails by hand? I've been doing wood working for a very long time and have never seen this done.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-22-2014, 03:36 PM
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I am not familiar with the Leigh dovetail jig. What is there about this jig that would require you to change bits?

I have both an old Craftsman jug and a new Porter Cable jig and there is no bit changing required with them.

George
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-22-2014, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
I am not familiar with the Leigh dovetail jig. What is there about this jig that would require you to change bits?

I have both an old Craftsman jug and a new Porter Cable jig and there is no bit changing required with them.

George
Yes the same thing with my Leigh.
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-22-2014, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC
I am not familiar with the Leigh dovetail jig. What is there about this jig that would require you to change bits?

I have both an old Craftsman jug and a new Porter Cable jig and there is no bit changing required with them.

George
You need to change bits in order to cut thru dovetails. Half blinds are cut with the same bit, both tails & pins. Pins for a thru joint are cut with a straight bit.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-22-2014, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmantrapper View Post
Can one of you guys post how to cut dovetails by hand? I've been doing wood working for a very long time and have never seen this done.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f11/h...ew-guys-35853/

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