Dovetails on the Leigh D4R jig #3: Half-blind dovetails

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Blog entry by Al Navas posted 05-25-2008 05:42 PM 2557 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Through dovetails Part 3 of Dovetails on the Leigh D4R jig series Part 4: Sliding dovetails »

I think many of you will enjoy this short video, too: Making the Half-blind dovetails in the D4R jig . Please note this is not my own video production – I obtained permission from Leigh to post the series at my blog.

From my blog entry:

This episode shows the detailed instructions to cut half-blind dovetails on the Leigh D4R jig.On half-blind dovetail joints, only one side shows. The D4R has specific scales to create these in three steps:

1. Space the fingers to suit your taste – that is, creating the joint design
2. Route the tails using a suitable dovetails router bit, with the board arranged vertically
3. Route the pins with with the same dovetail router bit as was used to route the tails, and with the pin board clamped horizontally

Fine-tune the tail / pin fit by adjusting the bit height in the router, typically moving up just a few thousands of an inch. This will make the pins a little narrower, loosening the fit ever so slightly.

When I first started using my D4, this was the one adjustment that took me about an hour to master. The adjustment of the router bit is very small, to obtain the best fit!It IS truly this simple with the D4R!

I have used my old D4 for several years; by recording all the settings when I make a new box, I can return to the same setting(s) in just two minutes or less; in addition, I keep the old setup pieces I used when making the original adjustments for each router bit and wood thickness. I recommend you follow the same practice, and you will be quite happy with the results, no matter how much time passes between projects requiring half-blind dovetails.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

2 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3816 days

#1 posted 05-25-2008 06:29 PM

Thanks Al,

Another informative video.

Thanks for the post. I wish I had some questions but it seems pretty straight forward and I simply do not know enough about the jig to have any at this stage. Doing dovetails is an objective of mine so a jig of some type is in my future at some point.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 3869 days

#2 posted 05-25-2008 07:32 PM


You won’t have to know a lot about any of the jigs, as you can get answers to any questions you might have in just a few minutes!

THE one thing to remember when cutting the half-blind dovetails on just about any of the jigs: You adjust the fit by (typically) moving the router bit up by a few thousands of an inch. This will cut narrower pins, allowing you to fine-tune the fit. THIS is the key to making nice-fitting half-blind dovetail joints.

I am sure glad you are enjoying the series. I will post a few more videos in the next two weeks or so.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

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