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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
I have decided that my next project will be a set of cabinets for my shop. I see the need for a few tools (imagine that). I will be making some drawer boxes and would like to dovetail them. I would like to buy something for this but not exactly sure what I should use. Does anyone have any recommendations on what a hobby woodworker should buy to aid in this process? I also will be making doors with a solid wood frame and will need some bits to shape them. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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I'd look at a porter cable 4210 jig to do half blind joints on the drawers........and i'd consider MLCS router bits for doors
 

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I just happened to think "I should have told them what tools I have". I have a few delta unisaws,, router, shaper, drill press bandsaw, 20" planer, 6" jointer, scroll saw, 2 Shopsmiths, radial arm saw, miter saw mini lathe. I am really only lacking a few small tools and knowledge!
 

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If you have the time, there are few things more satisfying than hand cutting your own dovetail joints, and surprisingly, after you get the hang of it, it doesn't take so long at all. All you need is a shape saw, chisel, and a little patience with yourself. Soon you will be adding hand cut variations on all sorts of projects. And they show well, especially in the shop.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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Hand cutting also requires patience. If you don't have that....you'll need the Innate ability to not hurl your chisel and saw off a bridge.
 

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Hand cutting dove tails is a great skill to have, however, if you're making a kitchen full of drawers, it's going to take you a month. Go with a dt jig. There are a lot out there for the hobbyist, probably in the $100 or under range. If you set them up accurately, they will do the job. A "few delta unisaws"? For someone with no knowledge, you have 3 times the shop I have and I'm a professional.
 

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I understand mmwood. I actually ran across a deal last year while I was building my woodshop. I relative of a friend passed away and I had an opportunity to make an offer on anything that belonged to the estate. I made several trips with the trailer buying stuff. Some I already had, but a lot of it belonged to the deceased fellow.
 

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I have the Porter Cable dovetail jig - 4216 I think (same as the 4210 but with extra templates) - and it is fairly easy to set up and get good results quickly.

As far as the doors - what style door are you looking to make? Raised panel or flat panel? You can do a nice basic flat panel or raised panel door with the table saw only or with a router and a few straight bits. If you want a profile on the rails and stiles Harbor Freight sells a bit set that is actually pretty decent and with the coupons online they are fairly cheap.
 

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I was going to ask this in a new thread but this might also help the OP here too. I'm interested in a dovetail jig and I have seen several different dovetail bits where the description says it's either a 7 degree, 8 degree, or 14 degree bit. Does it matter what bit you use? On the Harbor Freight jig the reviews say to use a 14 degree bit, saying it's needed. What if I used a 7 degree bit instead? Wouldn't this simply make the difference in the angle and width of the dovetails only?
 

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Sawdust Creator
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No.....It needs to be the correct bit or the spacing of the template won't work right.......If anyone needs a bit for the harbor freight template...i'll sell you one really cheap.....
 

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Several more questions...

Is the Harbor Freight dovetail jig a decent tool or is it junk?

Is the Porter Cable 4200 series the "gold standard" in dovetail jigs?

Are the General EZ-Pro 860 and 861 good choices or are they a gimmick, seeing as how they don't bolt to a bench, but just clamp to the wood itself? Are they harder to get good alignment with? What's the difference between the two? Both are significantly cheaper than a bench mount jig.

Craftsman has a model, and the pic shows the words Made In USA on it. It doesn't look as well built as the Porter Cable 4210, does look harder to adjust, but sells for the same price. I also did not see any other templates available for it. Anyone ever used this one before?

Are there any other ones within the reasonable price range of up to $150 I should know about?
 

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Skip the general and craftsman ones. The porter cable is the gold standard for this price range. The harbor freight is useable if and only If your patient...
 

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Wood Snob
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Duane Bledsoe said:
Several more questions...

Is the Harbor Freight dovetail jig a decent tool or is it junk?

Is the Porter Cable 4200 series the "gold standard" in dovetail jigs?

Are the General EZ-Pro 860 and 861 good choices or are they a gimmick, seeing as how they don't bolt to a bench, but just clamp to the wood itself? Are they harder to get good alignment with? What's the difference between the two? Both are significantly cheaper than a bench mount jig.

Craftsman has a model, and the pic shows the words Made In USA on it. It doesn't look as well built as the Porter Cable 4210, does look harder to adjust, but sells for the same price. I also did not see any other templates available for it. Anyone ever used this one before?

Are there any other ones within the reasonable price range of up to $150 I should know about?
ShopSmith had this one a long time ago so I built it. That was about 25 years ago. Still going strong.

image-3451190868.jpg

This was one of the first fixture jigs I built in my shop.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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I have the MLCS cabinet makers bit set and I've really liked them the few times I've used them. I made a set of doors for cabinets in my mancave, and for my first attempt they came out really nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the posts everyone. I will see what I can get going. It looks like my job for next week has fallen through and I can get started making some dust!
 

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Skip the general and craftsman ones. The porter cable is the gold standard for this price range. The harbor freight is useable if and only If your patient...
I just bought the Porter Cable Deluxe. It came with two extra templates. It does through, hald blind, rabbeted, box joints of standard size. Also a template for small boxes, etc. I got it from Amazon for $159 if I remember correctly. It is a very heavy piece of equipment and must be mounted securely to use.

Looks like a VERY capable machine. I have not even used it yet. Will in a few day.

The package had two loose parts in it that I have not yet identified. May have to post a picture on here and get someone to tell me what they are.

George
 

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Porter Cable 421x is a nice simple inexpensive jig. The instructions are laid out well. This was my first DT jig and in only about 30 min, I was making tight fitting joints.

I think the Leigh D4R Pro is the Cadiilac of DT jigs.

I love the simplicity of the PC jig, but the flexibility and custom joints with the Leigh.
 

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Depands on what you are looking for.There are many jigs available for making 1/2" X1/2" dovetails and domg a fine job with easy setup and no learning curve.Some are sloppier than others.If you want a jig for infinetly adjustable dovetails and box joints and a whole lot more check out the Leigh jig.Although it is pricey,it will do about anything you will ever need.
 

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Al B Thayer, you and I must be the same age! When I tell folks about my homemade DT jig, I get a lot of funny looks. Over time mine got chewed up, shop worn etc.. Yours looks in excellent condition.

As to the original Q.:
I have a Woodrat, open template, a Harbor Freight and have used the Porter-Cable. I used to have a Leigh Super as well. They all do the job for which they were designed; at least for me.

What I like most about the Harbor Freight types, is the ease of cutting rabbeted half blind DTs. Just slide the fence back.

Just playing around after lunch with my HF jig.

L-R (clamp is holding LH boards for pic)
Variable spacing - 8 deg bit, std spacing - 8 deg bit, std spacing - 14 deg bit.

 
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