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  • Dovetail Jig

    I've been cutting my dovetails by hand to date but it's a lot of work so I'm thinking about getting a Router Dovetail Jig. Any suggestions?? I prefer to retain the ability to do through Dovetails and most of the jigs I've seen do only blind joints.

  • #2
    I believe the Leigh and Akeda jigs allow both blind and through dovetails, although both are a bit pricey.

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    • #3
      Thanks ba-doyn, I also got a tip from a guy at work about one by Keller for around $150, sounds lke a lot but if it saves me hours with a saw and chisel it's probably worth it.

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      • #4
        I would like to hear more on this topic.

        I use a Porter Cable made jig that cuts half blinds - cuts both pieces at once. Obviously more limited than the Leigh jig, but if you are only making drawers is it worth the extra $$?

        How about it guys, am I missing something?

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        • #5
          It's all about versatility, Jerry. If you are happy with the output of a fixed pitch jig like PC4112, you're golden.

          Additional features given by the more featureful rigs like Leigh's D4, the Akeda Dovetail Jig, the larger PC Omni-Jigs include a larger maximum workpiece width, ability for through as well as half-blind joints, and adjustability to joint spacing. These virtues are available in varying amounts on the jigs listed.

          Others, like the Keller mentioned, and the Katie, make through dovetails only.

          It's a big market, takes a few questions to get a reasonable recommendation from me.

          Dave
          Dallas Woodcraft's Leigh Jig instructor

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          • #6
            Dave, can you give me an example of an application where it would better to not use a through dovetail? I want to purchase a jig that will be most useful, not necessarily the most capable if you know what I mean. I have always cut through dovetails since I cut them with a hand saw. I install a front on drawers so the dovetail looks and works about the same a half-blind joint.

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            • #7
              an example of an application where it would better to not use a through dovetail

              Anywhere where you don't want the joint to show on one side of the joint. Classical example is most drawer fronts. Not all, though, there are a couple furniture styles that use throughs.

              Dave

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              • #8
                Sounds like I may want to consider both types of jigs. I can get the jig template from Rockler and make my own through jigs since they should be pretty simple, the blind joint jig should be of decent quality since I'll be aligning and cutting two pieces of stock at the same time, maybe the Porter Cable or similar. Total cost should be around $150-175 which seems reasonable for a time-saving device.

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                • #9
                  Dave, Since you seem to be the dovetail jig guru I have to ask you a question. Knowing that you spend time teaching use of the Leigh jig at Woodcraft, what do you think about the Akeda jig? I have narrowed down my choice to either the D4 or the Akeda, and realizing that you will probably be a little biased, I would be interested in your opinion. It seems as though the set up will be easier with the Akeda, but I'm not sure that is enough since that is the only product that they make. With Leigh, you know that they will definitely be around and you know what their reputation for quality is.
                  Bill

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                  • #10
                    Bill, I'm actually quite biased against the Akeda, not entirely because of brand loyalty (though there's certainly some).

                    The method used of changing out the teeth in the middle of a run, it's limited capacity (16" vs. Leigh D4 24"), and having to use special bits available only from them, all adds up to something I'm not very interested in.

                    I will say, the dust collection on Akeda is very good. However, it is not included in the base package. Base Akeda + "DC Accessory Kit" (which is a lot more than the dust collectin) = more money than Leigh, to the tune of about $140.

                    Dave

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                    • #11
                      I am very biased as I have used the Leigh D4 for some time and find it both versatile and easy to set up. It is a well engineered peice and well worth the $$. Good Luck.

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                      • #12
                        Squid - I bought a through dovetail template at Woodcraft - don't remember the brand but I think it was called "Dovetails Made Easy" or something like that. It's a plastic template that you transfer to a piece of particle board - you can make as many as you like and connect them side by side to a base piece to get as wide a capacity as you wish. Real cheap.

                        The simplicity of the PC jig setup and the fact that you cut both pieces at once (i.e. less set-up and change over time) made it attractive.

                        I think the Leigh jig would make the perfect gift for me (any takers? ) but for basic drawers (i.e. no artistry here), I am just not compelled to drop the cash.

                        [ 07-31-2003, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: Jerry Jensen ]

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                        • #13
                          I agree, I intend to look at the template as an inexpensive option and will likely make my jigs from maple for durability. My goal is to reduce the time it takes to make dovetail joints not to set up a production facility and I find the expense of the Leigh and Akeda beyond reason for my small craft shop. I'll get a Dovetail Machine for blind dovetails since they are not that expensive and have some clear advantages.

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                          • #14
                            The item that Jerry is recommending is the Stots DoveTail Template Master. A neat product!

                            http://www.stots.com/

                            Dave

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                            • #15
                              Thanks, the Stots URL is now on my favorites list.

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