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HF Dovetail Jig - How good could it be ??

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  • HF Dovetail Jig - How good could it be ??

    Saw this today on HF website... $29.99 ???

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=34102



    Create strong, fine looking dovetail joints.
    Just place stock and pull cam handles to positively
    lock material in place.
    Fixture holds both work pieces at the same time-
    - both male and female dovetail cuts are made at
    the same time. Cuts tails, pins, for half blind
    dovetails. Includes 1/2'' template.

    Capacity: 12" wide, 1-1/4" thick.
    ITEM 34102-2VGA

  • #2
    As with any tool, unless there is a physical defects or flaws, it will be as good or as bad as you make it. It will depend on your willingness to spend the time to do it right and good setup technique.

    Once you learn the tool you will have to take the time to perform the proper setup to get it right. That is one of the true arts in woodworking. I for years have used an old, I mean real old, Sears 12", made before craftsman existed from the late 50's early 60s, dovetail jig. It has it's little quirks, but if I take time with the setup I get great dovetails as good as you can get from the $300.00 jigs. Maybe not as fast, but just as good.

    The thing to ask youself is are you willing to take the time to learn a $30.00 machine with a probability of more setup or a $200.00 designed to make setup easier. Good luck. And if you really get tired of making dovetail for drawers at least, because " that the way it is done ", take a look at this intead.
    http://www.cmtusa.com/store/index1.ihtml?x_page=store.ihtml&id=CID8682212078&s tep=2&parentid=CID5553152431&pagetitle=&menuinclud e=leftnav_products.ihtml&titleimage=titles_routerb it s.jpg

    [ 05-08-2004, 11:04 PM: Message edited by: G.W. ]
    I came...<br /><br />I saw...<br /><br />I changed the plans.

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    • #3
      I've got one, but haven't used it much. The jig itself seems fine...maybe not as sturdy as some of the better ones. The template is rough and has lots of burrs that could pose some problems.

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      • #4
        It appears to be the same unit I purchased last year at Rockler for twice that much. It takes a considerable amount of time to correctly set up (at least for me, I could be dovetail challenged) but once that is accomplished it will consistently produce nice tight fitting joints.

        Woodslayer

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        • #5
          Sure looks like the one from Rockler...

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          • #6
            Looks exactly like the Rockler jig I use, there are other templates for various joints and it came with a bit and brass template. Once I got the hang of it it works great.

            One word of advice, build a jig to hold the jig that has a 90 degree stop to mount in your bench vise, this makes set up a lot easier. But I still prefer to cut them by hand in most cases, I guess its all in what your used to. Once you learn to do them by hand its often faster in my opinion than setting up a jig, even if it is relatively easy to set up like the rockler is.

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            • #7
              I've had that model for about two years and have used it a few times and its OK. As others have indicated all of the machines of that general design are time consuming to set up but once done they produce good joints. I have a PC-690 set up, that I use only for dove tails.

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              • #8
                When and if you get one,Throw the directions away. You can download one from the woocraft site that is great.You can also find quite a bit of info on the BT3Central forum(Tool talk I think).

                Comment


                • #9
                  I bought the very same jig, I have used, scratch that, tried to use it a number of times. Each time I could not get the depth of the bit adjusted right nor could I get the relationship between the top and bottom stops setup right. To top it all off the template on top would move during routing occasionally, screwing everything up. Maybe the problems I am having are simply "USER ERROR" but that tool sits under my workbench unused, and the only change may be that I decide to move it from under the work bench to the curb. If this is truely user error and the woefully inadequate manual that is provided, and not simply a matter of you get what you pay for, please fill me in. I would much rather learn what it is I am doing wrong.

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