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Pain in the A$$
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Does anyone have any experience with the Porter Cable 4212 (or 4210, 4216, etc) Dovetail Jig?

http://www.portercable.com/products/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=11590

I am going to need to make some drawers for a couple Christmas presents/ and I'd like to get a decent jig. I'd love a Leigh but I just can't afford it right now.

Are these P/C jigs worth it?

If you were doing it over, would you get the same model/brand? If yes or no, which model?

What challenges can I expect to encounter with a DT jig?


Also, is there a size/width rule of thumb for when you should do a mini versus a standard DT?

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them.
 

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If money is tight and your not going to be doing allot of dovetailing just pick up a milescraft template dovetail kit and make your own dovetail jig. I have one and they work pretty good, just takes an afternoon to make up the jig. Comes with a DVD to show you how. Home Depot has them for $40 probably speed another $15 on MDF or some Melamine to make the jig, kit comes with both bits you'll need, bearing guided dovetail and straight bit.

http://www.milescraft.com/products/wood-joining/jigs-pins-and-kits/dovetail-template-master.html

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Milescraft-DoveTail-Template-Master-12180034/203607630#.Un2OAvkzwjA


Here is a video on it

 

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Pain in the A$$
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Discussion Starter #3
That kit looks like its worth checking out. I watched all 4 of his you tube videos. Looks pretty simple and in some ways better than the PC unit. I like the idea of having both pieces as separate jigs. Thanks for sharing.

Mark
 

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That kit looks like its worth checking out. I watched all 4 of his you tube videos. Looks pretty simple and in some ways better than the PC unit. I like the idea of having both pieces as separate jigs. Thanks for sharing.

Mark
I liked it and it made some pretty good joints. Big plus is being able to make as many as you like and link them for bigger projects, or make new ones from time to time. The one bit of advice I can add, that he didn't mention was use anything other then MDF for the backer board. You can use MDF for every other part, just not the backer board. The MDF chips out real bad after several uses, then you end up with chipout on the work piece. I switched to a scrap piece of hardwood I had laying around for the backer, it worked much better. If I ever make another one I might use melamine.
 

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Pain in the A$$
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Discussion Starter #6
rrbrown said:
I have the deluxe model 4212. I do like it but have nothing to compare it to.
I can get that setup for $153 at the moment. After looking at the Milescraft system, it actually looks easier to use once the jigs are built. Plus it's over $100 cheaper and I have 3/4" scrap MDF already.

Hmmmm... Decisions.....

Mark
 

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I have the 4216 and it is extremely simple. It makes different types of dovetails, through, blind, etc. The only downfall really is that they are very factory looking, if that makes sense. Here is a simple drawer I made out of pine, took all of about 10 minutes for the whole thing only because you have to change the bits/guides. If you had a two router setup, it would be a breeze. I really like it, use it, and most definitely would buy it again.



As a side note, I believe the PC is similar to the Leigh in concept, but I'm not sure in which way since there are variations of the PC jig and I'm not sure if there are variations of the Leigh.
 

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Pain in the A$$
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Discussion Starter #8
Noek said:
Ii because you have to change the bits/guides. If you had a two router setup, it would be a breeze.
I'm confused. So you need to swap router bits when making a drawers worth of half blind dovetails?

Mark
 

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Half blinds only take one bit...and it comes with the PC jig.

I initially purchased a cheaper one....but returned it and bought a 4210....worlds better!!!

You can get a 4210 from amazon for 99.00.

I'd recommend it in a heart beat.
 

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I bought the PC 4216 model but so far only made the half blind dovetails. I struggled with the initial setup but eventually got the cuts accurate. Be sure and prepare extra material for test cuts.

Good luck.
Mike
 

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I'm confused. So you need to swap router bits when making a drawers worth of half blind dovetails?

Mark
Mark,

The 4216 comes with 4 different bits, several templates, and several different collet guides. Some joints will require you to change router bit depth, etc. Sounds like a lot but it's not. Pick a joint and size, set the jig up for that, and rip a whole bunch of drawers. It really is that easy once you have the concept. The more you use it, the better you will get at it and learn little tricks like tightening up the joints if they are loose, for instance. The jig will require you to either bolt it down to a work bench or clamp it down, so it does require some space. I just clamp it to my work bench. Everything is well laid out in the instructions.

I purchased the jig for the same reason you did, I wanted several drawers made and I wanted them all to look the same. It's a fun jig and makes making drawers fun and easy.

If you do go with it and have any trouble, feel free to contact me and I'll walk you through setting it up. I even made a video of me setting it up for through dovetails from start to finish.

Keon
 

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My initial thinking was to make through dovetail joints for the cabinet drawers I put in our buffet. But, when I realized I would have to use two different bits (one dovetail and one straight), I decided to make the half blind joints using the other template. I have two identical Bosch 1617 routers and had the bits installed and ready to go. But after further review, I made two decisions. 1) only joint the front to the two sides. 2) Use a dado for the rear joints. That cut my production time almost in half.

With the half blind joints, I set up the two sides vertically in the jig. Then the front mounts horizontally on top of the jig. I set it up on the left side and made the pass with the dovetail bit which cuts both boards at the same time. Then I flipped the top piece (which is the drawer front) around and set it up on the right side of the jig with the other side piece and repeated the cut. So in no time at all, I had both sides routed and the front. That made making the eight drawers pretty easy.

Here are a few pics.
Good luck
Mike
 

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Pain in the A$$
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Discussion Starter #15
Lots of great help and comments in this thread. Thank you very vouch for that. I think I am going to look for the 4210 unit as I anticipate only using the half blind anyways. I'm hoping to get it ordered this week if I get a chance. Too bad can only find the 4212 kits locally.

Mark
 

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I used mine to make a giant 8' x 6' cubby system for lamp working glass rod organization and storage.




The whole system was assembled without glue or fasteners. The corners of the frame are through dovetails. The horizontal shelves are sliding dovetails, and the dividers are regular non dovetail sliding joints (can't remember the name for these at the moment).

I cut all of these joints using the pc dovetail jig and a Bosch router. I noticed a few problems while doing this work:

1.) If you don't use dust collection, it's like a bomb went off in the shop. My Bosch doesn't have a dc hood, unless you use the edge guide jig, so you're on your own here. I really wish there was a better dc solution.

2.) It's best to have two routers and maybe two jigs if you're making a lot of through dovetails. I had one router and one jig, so I wasted a lot of time swapping bits and templates.

3.) My Bosch router requires an adapter in order to use this jig. It's a special order item. If you use a Bosch router, be aware of this. I've included a photo of the pc jig template guide, mounted in the Bosch template guide adapter:


4.) I think I mounted the jig vertically for longer boards, so the boards would be horizontal over my workbench. I had an uber crappy workbench at the time, and I bolted the jig directly to the bench. I highly recommend a clamping system.

5.) I didn't have a dust collection system at the time, so I used a good quality charcoal half face filter combined with goggles. A friend of mine recently told me they make charcoal filter full face masks. I highly recommend this instead, as I remember the half face setup being awkward, uncomfortable, and generally no fun.

UPDATE: apparently there is a dc hood to fit my Bosch router: Bosch RA1172AT Router Dust Extraction Hood Kit - Amazon.com

I'll be buying that ASAP.
 
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