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  • Leigh FMT - Mortise and Tenon (w/pic)

    In another thread, I mentioned that I recently got a Leigh Frame Mortise and Tenon (FMT) jig. This is a brand-new item for Leigh, it's only been out a couple months.

    For those who haven't seen one, here is a picture:


    In the picture, it is doing tenons (multiple tenons, no less). When doing a mortise, the stock will typically be horizontal right under the top. The big clamps are very adjustable, moving left to right across the width of the jig. They can also both be moved to upper or lower slots, in the picture one is in each.

    Underneath the left handle of the router close to the baseplate, we can just barely see a black knob sticking up (it kind of looks like part of the router). This is the fit adjustment. It is calibrated, so that adjusting it one number changes the fit by two thousandths of an inch. If you have a dial caliper, fitup is a snap. Measure mortise, measure tenon, subtract. Add in a little for glue, and your done. Turn the knob one number for every .002".

    On the front of the jig, there is a side stop with two brass knobs. This can be slid from side to side wherever you want it, and can also be angled if needed. Moving it precise amounts is not necessary though. On the far right of the jig you can see a lever. Lifting the lever allows the entire top to be moved left, right, forward and back. Hidden behind the router is a "bullseye" that can be slid out. What you do is mark on your stock where you want the center of the mortise or tenon to go. Lift the router off, slide out the bullseye, and align the jig.

    While the router is off, you can change the template for size of joint. It is under the fit adjustment knob.

    Initial setup out of box took about 1 1/2 hours, including making a base board for it to sit on. The greatest amount of time is taken in aligning the router to the jig, took me about 45 minutes for a DW621. Once the router is aligned, taking it off takes about 30 seconds, about a minute to put it back on and align it.

    It makes fabulous joints. I've only used it a couple times so far, but it is easy and unbelievably fast (maybe 1-3 minutes per joint). It's major limit is in length of tenon/depth of mortise, where it is limited by the length of bit you can get your hands on. This isn't much of a limitation in normal M&T work, but may be for some through mortise and tenons.

    All that design does come at a price, FMT is not cheap. Retail price is $799, and you have to supply a plunge router (fixed base will not work, 1/2" collet is required for the supplied templates). The closest machine in price I know of that really does what this does is the Multi-Router, which starts at about $2,395 (http://www.tools-for-woodworking.com/product.asp?3=1952).

    I'm sure it shows, but will say anyway that I am very impressed by the FMT. [img]smile.gif[/img] Happy to answer any questions.

    Dave

  • #2
    Dave,

    Thanks for the review and congrats on the new tool. Sounds like quite a machine. If you consider the price of buying a mortising machine and a tenoning jig, you would have almost half the money for this machine - but not half the accuracy - .002 WOW!

    Bob R

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    • #3
      Dave,

      Thanks for the info. It makes more sense now. Any used ones out there? [img]smile.gif[/img]

      Michael

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      • #4
        Nice photo, Dave. Did you just use a green background or did you cut it out with photoshop? Also, would you mind if I borrowed that jig for a while. I promise I will take good care of it ;o)

        Best regards,

        Henry

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        • #5
          Dave
          I know you are a big user of the D-4 and was wondering if you would get the FMT. Well I guess you did! Thanks for the review! Dave

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          • #6
            Henry, that photo is Leigh's, not mine. My photos always tend to have a whole lot of stuff in the background...

            Dave

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            • #7
              Dave--thanks for the review. I saw one demonstrated at a local ww'ing show, last month and was quite impressed---that is, after I finished choking at the price---ouch!
              Dave

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              • #8
                I sure liked the demo I saw in Arlington in October....they were selling several as we watched the demo...very nice machine....congrats!
                Kelly C. Hanna<br /><a href=\"http://www.hannawoodworks.com\" target=\"_blank\">Hanna Woodworks</a>

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                • #9
                  Hey Dave,

                  Sounds pretty impressive! What's that puppy cost?!?!?! I've been using Pat Warners version. A bit simple, but gets the job done...

                  http://www.patwarner.com/tenonmaker.html

                  Stu

                  Lost IGIT without a forum
                  Stubert<br />The IGIT without a Forum...

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                  • #10
                    Hey EO...I mean DAVE, I been thinkin bout the FMT but they cost as much as a Mercedes. Oh yeah I fergot. You got one of them too! [img]tongue.gif[/img]

                    ToolFool and wandering the net.

                    [ 12-11-2002, 11:30 AM: Message edited by: ToolFool ]
                    ToolFool and don\'t rate

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                    • #11
                      Hey Dave that FMT is almost as purty as your pushstick for your tablesaw. Seriously thanks for the review.

                      Gregg

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