Newbie question for dovetail jigs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-05-2014, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie question for dovetail jigs

Thinking about getting one of these for a router. But because I have zero experience I have an important question: are you limited by the size of the jig? For example this below jig says " can accommodate a stock up to 11" wide". So let's say I wanted to make a toy box that had a height of let's say 3 feet, would I not be able to use one of these because it says accommodates only 11" ? Same question applies for any jig whether it be for dovetails or box joints etc. And if it's not this type of jig I want then, what do you get that allows you to go as high as you want? Meaning my toy box could be 11" or 5 feet or any height and I could just slide the jig up the entire height of each piece of stock being joined? Thanks


http://www.rockler.com/rockler-s-complete-dovetail-jig

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post #2 of 19 Old 01-05-2014, 11:24 PM
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I haven't used the Rockler jig but it looks very close to the Porter Cable. There are several variations of the PC jig, i have the 4216. It is limiting as to the width of the wood that it accommodates as well as the spacing ability of the dovetails, but it is very simple to learn.

A step up would be the Leigh jig. Like the Porter Cable, there are several variations of this jig as well. I have the D4R pro. It enables you to use wider width boards as well as many different variations of custom dovetails (Isoloc templates). It is more expensive and perhaps comes with a bit of a more involved learning curve, but the outcome is a more custom and visual appealing joint. I'm having a blast routing inlaid isoloc joints.

Of course, if you get good at cutting them by hand, I guess you could make dovetails on just about any width board you choose. My problem is my hand cut dovetails look very......let's just say, hand cut :)
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post #3 of 19 Old 01-05-2014, 11:46 PM
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MLCS sells these templates.

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post #4 of 19 Old 01-06-2014, 09:13 AM
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The rockler and PC jigs aren't similar at all. The rockler and harbor freight jigs are essentially the same.

Save yourself the headaches....and get the porter cable jig.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #5 of 19 Old 01-06-2014, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Right, but what if I want to use one of these templates on something bigger than a drawer, like a toy box...does it matter what height or width my boards are I guess is what I am asking? Meaning, are these templates ONLY functional for small projects or can I use to dovetail a a corner of a toy box that may be 3 feet high for example?
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post #6 of 19 Old 01-06-2014, 01:46 PM
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If I recall...the manual I believe had set up instructions for using the templates in a wider fashion. Might want to check porter cables site....they have the manuals to view there.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-06-2014, 02:33 PM
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Go to the Leigh site and look at their examples. I probably wouldn't get the Porter Cable jig for what you are trying to do.
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post #8 of 19 Old 01-06-2014, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noek View Post
Go to the Leigh site and look at their examples. I probably wouldn't get the Porter Cable jig for what you are trying to do.
Wow thanks. Expensive. Maybe I'll start with a more affordable joinery method..for this..

Any reccomendations on a joinery method for a large toy box? Was thinking if I dont go all out with dovetails or fingers (I am a newbie) maybe butt biscuit joints, edge mitre joint with spline, lock mitre joint, or rabbit joints?
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post #9 of 19 Old 01-06-2014, 05:05 PM
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For me, I like dowels. You can get a dowel jig for fairly cheap. You can also use a Kreg jig and use pocket screws. These are both fairly simple methods.

The Leigh jig is expensive but it is worth it if you want to make a lot of dovetail joints in various sizes, plus the dovetails can be asymmetrical.

I bought a PC dovetail jig and later bought the Leigh. They are both good but the Leigh offers a more custom approach.

Good luck!
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post #10 of 19 Old 01-07-2014, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpeluso8 View Post
Wow thanks. Expensive. Maybe I'll start with a more affordable joinery method..for this..

Any reccomendations on a joinery method for a large toy box? Was thinking if I dont go all out with dovetails or fingers (I am a newbie) maybe butt biscuit joints, edge mitre joint with spline, lock mitre joint, or rabbit joints?
Did you look at the MLCS templates?
You should have noted that the length of dovetail run is infinite.
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post #11 of 19 Old 01-07-2014, 10:01 AM
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I used a Leigh super 12 jig and loved it. Super accurate and easily repeatable. That said I sold it a month ago in favor of pursuing had cut dovetails. I've found it's not terribly difficult to do, and I wish I had learned to do it this way from the get go instead of relying on a jig. Cutting by hand allows you to bypass the length/spacing/thickness/shape limitations that all jigs or machines are doomed to possess. All you need is a decent fine toothed saw and a couple sharp chisels to start practicing. There are a ton of how to videos on YouTube.
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post #12 of 19 Old 01-07-2014, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BZawat
I used a Leigh super 12 jig and loved it. Super accurate and easily repeatable. That said I sold it a month ago in favor of pursuing had cut dovetails. I've found it's not terribly difficult to do, and I wish I had learned to do it this way from the get go instead of relying on a jig. Cutting by hand allows you to bypass the length/spacing/thickness/shape limitations that all jigs or machines are doomed to possess. All you need is a decent fine toothed saw and a couple sharp chisels to start practicing. There are a ton of how to videos on YouTube.
I will look into that. Thanks
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post #13 of 19 Old 01-08-2014, 11:26 AM
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I have the Porter Cable jig and was also concerned about the max board width since I wanted to make a large dovetailed box. I found there is a supplementary instruction manual online that shows how to do many things with the jig not covered in the manual provided with the jig - one of them being dovetails on an unlimited width board. The jig can actually do a lot of neat functions - inlaid dovetails, making hinges, mitered dovetails, box joints, etc.

That being said I've also turned towards hand tools for making dovetails. The options for panel size, layout, etc are endless, and I like being able to say I cut them myself. Plus, I don't think it takes much longer to lay out and cut the dovetails on a box by hand than it does to set up the jig to cut them with a router - except when you are doing many drawers with the same setup.
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post #14 of 19 Old 01-08-2014, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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I have the Porter Cable jig and was also concerned about the max board width since I wanted to make a large dovetailed box. I found there is a supplementary instruction manual online that shows how to do many things with the jig not covered in the manual provided with the jig - one of them being dovetails on an unlimited width board. The jig can actually do a lot of neat functions - inlaid dovetails, making hinges, mitered dovetails, box joints, etc.

That being said I've also turned towards hand tools for making dovetails. The options for panel size, layout, etc are endless, and I like being able to say I cut them myself. Plus, I don't think it takes much longer to lay out and cut the dovetails on a box by hand than it does to set up the jig to cut them with a router - except when you are doing many drawers with the same setup.
Thats what I needed to know, thanks! DO you happen to have a link to this particular jig AND the online instructions your speaking of? Also if anyone knows a good resource that shows you how to hand cut..thanks!
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post #15 of 19 Old 01-08-2014, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan50hrl View Post
The rockler and PC jigs aren't similar at all. The rockler and harbor freight jigs are essentially the same.

Save yourself the headaches....and get the porter cable jig.
I just bought the delux Porter Cable jig a few days ago. Looks like a great tool, but what a monster in weight. That is going to be something that I am going to want to find a permanent place to mount.

George
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post #16 of 19 Old 01-08-2014, 01:29 PM
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Here is the link to the manual:
http://go.rockler.com/tech/RTD10000211AA.pdf

There are a lot of instructional videos on the web, but there are a few episodes of the Woodwrights Shop that are pretty good - you can watch them for free on pbs.com or the PBS app.
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post #17 of 19 Old 01-08-2014, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpeluso8 View Post
Wow thanks. Expensive. Maybe I'll start with a more affordable joinery method..for this..

Any reccomendations on a joinery method for a large toy box? Was thinking if I dont go all out with dovetails or fingers (I am a newbie) maybe butt biscuit joints, edge mitre joint with spline, lock mitre joint, or rabbit joints?
A miter joint with biscuits will work great. It's quick and plenty strong for what you want to do with it. I like to do glue ups on things like that with epoxy. It has several advantages. First of all you have a long open time so you aren't racing the clock trying to butter up lots of biscuits and getting it all put together before it all seizes up. The other thing is that epoxy is slippery. That makes it super easy to get all the joints to close up. The good initial tack that makes white and yellow glues great for other things is a disadvantage on a glue up like you will have on this project. The epoxy will also give you a reasonably strong glue joint on the miter, while white and yellow glues won't.

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post #18 of 19 Old 01-08-2014, 10:36 PM
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I have the Rockler dovetail jig. It is limiting in the size of board you can use. I have had it for 2 years and I don't use it that often. On the plus side, if your making drawers then it works as well as any other 12" dove tail jig. If you are looking to make something longer than 12" then you are better off with a different jig. Or go the route as most suggest and practice making handcut dovetails. I know that's not what you want to do but ultimately it's the best way IF you don't want to drop the $500+ on a Leigh. On the other hand, I've never heard a Leigh dovetail jig owner that wasn't completely happy with the purchase. Personally, I'm making a lot of small boxes to put random things in until I get confident enough with handcut dovetails. I plan on making a blanket chest and it don't want to drop the money on a Leigh! Although the R9 plus looks very tempting considering the price is far less than the other Leigh jigs.
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post #19 of 19 Old 01-14-2014, 02:54 AM
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Talking Buy the Best

If you want the all-round BEST dt jig, go to www.kellerdovetail.com, and buy the Model 1500. Get the optional box joint bit, and the "miniature" bits as well - they'll come in handy.

Read the instructions carefully, and you will find that making dovetail joints is a lead pipe cinch.

I've had one for years, and the largest DTjoints I've made were 6 feet long on a cabinet for displaying antique (I mean REALLY OLD) muzzle-loading firearms - museum pieces, really. '

The sides and back were made of 1-1/4 inch oak, and I borrowed a Model 3600 to make it.

The purchaser marveled at the "perfect hand-cut dovetails"...
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