Dovetail Jigs


Sac

Recommended Posts

Well, just as it sounds, I am in the market for a dovetail jig. I am in the process building kitchen cabinets for my brother-in-law and this is a perfect excuse to get a new tool. While I am looking for to cutting dovetails by hand at some point, I dont want to do a whole kitchen by hand, especially when they are going to be made from ply.

I am only looking to buy one jig, and the fewest templates, so I want one that can do through, half-blind, both of those variable spaced. I know that this limits my choices, and also makes those choices more expensive, but I need to get as many uses out of this as possible to justify the expense to the wife. I am thinking that my choices are going to be the Leigh d1600 or D4R, Porter Cable Omnijg, and the Akeda. I am leaning towards the Leigh D1600. I would really like the D4R, but I am not sure that I can justify the extra expense for something that I am not sure I will use. I can think of lots of things that I could use it for, it is just a matter of actually using for those things. I am not sure about the Akeda because it requires special bits. I like the idea of just being able to go get a bit and using it. Not having to order a new one and waiting for it to arrive.

I am looking for anything good or bad that you have to say about these jigs. I want to make sure that when I drop a chuck of change on a tool like this, that I am going to be satisfied. Thanks for your input.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, get past buying special bits. I have owned both the Leigh D4R and the PC Omnijig and both require special bits to match the angles of the machine.

The next issue is one addressed by one of the newbies under the topic 'when is enough enough?' under the 'General' topic. Both jigs require many hours of fiddling around before you can get good dovetail joints. I had more success with the PC and ended up returning the Leigh jig. The PC jig has stops that control the fit of the joints. Once you get the stops set properly and the bit depth correct, the joints work. The Leigh relies on adjusting to a line and any variation kills the fit.

Both jigs have a problem in the method that the fingers clamp to the template rods. If you don't follow the hints, the two reference edges of the fingers don't align and you end up with either a gap or a tight fit.

There is a flip side. The old expression "When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail" also applies to dovetails. Once you master the method, either hand cut or your choice of jigs, you'll be amazed at how many projects just have to have dovetail joints.

Good luck,

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, after looking at Leighs site a little more, I see that the D1600 is no longer in production. That is a real bummer. So then I guess I am looking at the D4R and the SuperJig18 or 24. And Mike, I did see Jimbo's post. I think that he is a little frustrated. It comes with the territory I guess. And that is pretty stupid that they all require the 8mm bits. I wonder why that it. Whatever. Thanks for the info so far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, after looking at Leighs site a little more, I see that the D1600 is no longer in production. That is a real bummer. So then I guess I am looking at the D4R and the SuperJig18 or 24. And Mike, I did see Jimbo's post. I think that he is a little frustrated. It comes with the territory I guess. And that is pretty stupid that they all require the 8mm bits. I wonder why that it. Whatever. Thanks for the info so far.

Hey Sac,

I don't know if you're interested but I have a D4 Leigh jig that I took out of the box a week ago. I had bought it 5 years ago along with a PC OmniJig and actually forgot I had it in my shop attic. I set it up for the first time last Saturday to cut the dovetails for the guild build then decided I wanted to use dust control so I just bought the D4R Pro kit and plan to use it for all my projects. I'll be happy to sell you the D4 at a very fair price if that might help you. It has all the parts in new condition and the bits are 1/4" not 8mm. Let me know if you're interested

Cheers,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, after looking at Leighs site a little more, I see that the D1600 is no longer in production. That is a real bummer. So then I guess I am looking at the D4R and the SuperJig18 or 24. And Mike, I did see Jimbo's post. I think that he is a little frustrated. It comes with the territory I guess. And that is pretty stupid that they all require the 8mm bits. I wonder why that it. Whatever. Thanks for the info so far.

sac i know that mlcs has the 8mm bits too. they have a chart to cross reference the leigh numbers to the mlcs numbers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

You have a omnijig AND a D4R?

Hey Sac,

I don't know if you're interested but I have a D4 Leigh jig that I took out of the box a week ago. I had bought it 5 years ago along with a PC OmniJig and actually forgot I had it in my shop attic. I set it up for the first time last Saturday to cut the dovetails for the guild build then decided I wanted to use dust control so I just bought the D4R Pro kit and plan to use it for all my projects. I'll be happy to sell you the D4 at a very fair price if that might help you. It has all the parts in new condition and the bits are 1/4" not 8mm. Let me know if you're interested

Cheers,

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 37 Guests (See full list)

    • There are no registered users currently online
  • Forum Statistics

    31.3k
    Total Topics
    422.9k
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    23,820
    Total Members
    3,644
    Most Online
    Dinesh
    Newest Member
    Dinesh
    Joined