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  • Dovetail Jig suggestions

    My wife is thinking of buying me a dovetail jig for xmas so I need to give her some options. My initial list inlcuded the Porter Cable 12" jig, Porter Cable 16" omnijig, and Leigh DR4 24" jig. As you can see its a wide range in function and price.

    In reality the PC 12" is probably the best bet for cost and the amount of dovetails I will actually make. However I would like the ability to do variable spaced and a large capacity for blanket chests. The down side is having that extra abaility really jacks up the price. I am trying to be realistic about how much use it will actually get and not just get the most expensive with capacity I may never fully use. Plus I dont want it to so difficult to use that I need to read the manual everytime.

    I am trying to find a nice compromise and have added the Akeda 16" jig but even that gets pricey when including the add-on's.

    I would like to hear from others that have been through this process and why they chose the jig they have. And any suggestions would be welcome.
    Last edited by Pez; 12-27-2009, 11:15 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Dovetail Jig suggestions

    Take a look at the Stots dovetail template master.

    http://www.stots.com/

    With it you can make your own commonly used dovetail templates.

    The web site has a few videos to show you how it works. I don't have one, yet.

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    • #3
      Re: Dovetail Jig suggestions

      I have the Akeda jig. It was a little pricey but I bought it mostly because of how easy it is to use. It's made very solidly and it sets up quickly.

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      • #4
        Re: Dovetail Jig suggestions

        I've got a Katie Jig (katiejig.com) which has worked well for me in making drawers, although they seem to focus on blanket chests (and I have no idea what they are :-)). Mine was also a Christmas gift and I researched it a lot at the time. One hint with this one and maybe all of them. Once I started in I realized that I needed to dedicate two routers just to making dovetail joints because once you get the bit heights set relative to each other, you don't want to mess with them. So consider that an added cost, at least with the Katie Jig. They don't mention that in the ads but I don't see any way around it. Ifits a one-time project, just borrow one of the routers temporarily maybe.

        --Alan

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        • #5
          Re: Dovetail Jig suggestions

          I have the 24" leigh jig. If you get a leigh, you won't be sorry. Once you understand how it all works (which is fairly easy), it is easy to make dovetails of any size, both through, half blind and others.

          Red
          Red

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          • #6
            Re: Dovetail Jig suggestions

            I have a 12 in Porter Cable and wish I had a larger width to do blanket chests. Like everything else, bigger is better.

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            • #7
              Re: Dovetail Jig suggestions

              I have the old porter cable 16" or 24" omnijig unit with a number of templates, at the time they did not have the adjustable finger unit, template,

              I would either go with the omnijig or the Leigh if doing it again,
              Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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              • #8
                Re: Dovetail Jig suggestions

                UPDATE

                Santa (aka the wife) brought me the Leigh 18" super jig for xmas.

                My wife had pretty much decided to get me one but the tough part was deciding on which jig. Of all the models out there I narrowed it down to a handful in a wide range of prices since I had no idea how much she was going to spend (I was fully expecting the Porter Cable 12" jig - which would have been totally fine). In talking to her about the decision post xmas she narrowed it down to the Akeda 16" jig or the Leigh Super 18" based on her own research and my input.

                Intially I thought the Akeda would be better as it seems easier to use right out of the box. I was concerned about the setup of the Leigh jig and the learning curve. Instead of returning the Leigh and getting the Akeda I decided to stick with the Leigh and tackle the seemingly daunting task of assembly and learning how to cut dovetails. Keep in mind I have never done a dovetail joint before, hand or machine. I did have minor setup issues but that was a function of my table saw needing some adjustment to cut a square piece of wood (saw was long overdue for a tune-up).

                I took my time to read through the manual and watched the video which really paid off. Within a few hours I made my first through dovetailed box without having to srcap any wood used for test cuts! The joint did need some fine tuning but I was able to use the original piece of wood. I fully expected to spend all weekend messing with the jig to produce one box.

                I give this jig two thumbs up. Yes, it takes some time to setup, including the stops but if your saw cuts true this is almost a non issue (and honestly a table saw should be cutting square cuts). Getting to know and use the jig was not the daunting task I envisioned. In fact, the whole process was enjoyable and the end result very satisfying. The Akeda is a great jig and I am sure I would have been just as a happy it.

                My first project is going to be a blanket chest. We are expecting our first child in two months and would like to make an heirloom type project for the baby. Been wanting to make a blanket chest and this can be used as a toy chest for the forseebale future.

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                • #9
                  Re: Dovetail Jig suggestions

                  At my request, Mrs. Santa got me the new General Tool "Dovetail-It". It received very good reviews in one of my mags this month. It is cheap ($55), smple to use and you can make dovetails on any length you wish. The kit comes with everything you need to start cutting right out of the box. I had also never cut a dovetail (used box joints) and the first ones I tried were perfect! So the jig really must be simple to use..............

                  Big G

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