Dove Tail jig

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Blog entry by BigD1 posted 02-25-2012 04:11 AM 1841 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am in the market for a dove tail jig that I can joint 20 inch box sides and ends together. I have read about a few, and would like some feed back on what works and what may be a good investment. I must not be a great craftsman, for I don’t want to cut joints by hand. I would even be interested in buying one, if there is something for sale, and I thought I would like it. Thanks for your help. I’m open to all info. BigD1

-- Donald Baty

3 comments so far

View Rxmpo's profile


268 posts in 3798 days

#1 posted 02-25-2012 05:26 AM


I just completed a project that fit your exact scenario. I was going to go with hand cut but way too many for me to do, especially since I have never had success with hand cut versions before. So, I searched and found a older 24” Leigh jig on Craig’s list for $200. I bought a straight and large dovetail bit on Found this site from a review here on LJ and couldn’t agree more with the good things to say. The hardest part I found was getting my cases square. (Little embarrassing to admit) But they sides are so large and the joints must be perfect to fit make sure of this before even thinking of cutting the dovetails. The spacing options are awesome and easy to make. Couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

Some of the dovetails didn’t fit exact but I made little wedges and glued them into any gap I had. Just make them over sided and sand flush once glue dries. You would be hard pressed to find them in the finished pieces due to the dark color of the stain.

Good luck. Take your time ad I’m sure you will make a beautiful piece.


View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2501 days

#2 posted 02-25-2012 06:28 AM

There are two options I’ll throw out that are pretty basic jigs that work well, and then I’ll give you my personal favorite.

My first choice if I wanted a standard jig to rout wide panels would be a Leigh R9. You can rout boards of any width very easily, and it’s a very easy to understand jig. You do need to make your own backer board, but that’s simple and is a plus in my eyes, as you can make the backer as wide or narrow as needed.
It comes with everything you need minus the router and backer board, and it’s made by Leigh, so you know it’s good quality. Not a bad deal at $169 LINK HERE

The other would be the Prazi ChestMate, which is a very versatile and easy to use jig that will do a lot more than just dovetails, like cut mortises, box joints and drill for dowels. I have used one of these before, and I was happy with the result. It’s very different from most other template style jigs, but it’s pretty easy to figure out once you get the hang of it. You make your own “story board”, which decides the layout of your dovetails, which gives you almost endless options. A great jig for someone who wants simplicity in a jig, but still wants it to do more than just one style of dovetail.
Priced at about $100, and I’ve seen them on sale for less too. LINK HERE (watch the WWGOA at the bottom of the page)

And now, my personal favorite: The Incra Positioner.
In my opinion, the Incra Positioner is the best dovetail jig you can buy, no questions asked. With a little thought, you can rout dovetails in some very wide boards, especially once you understand how the system works.

I have an Incra Ultra Lite positioner and fence on my router table, which has 12” of travel. And even though it only has 12” of travel, I’ve dovetailed 22” case sides without any issue.

The only real downfall with the Incra is price, as they don’t come cheap.There are a few other quirks with them, as they do take time to learn, and your stock needs to be accurately milled or it will show up big time! But once you get the Incra figured out, the results speak for themselves. Ever seen a corner-post double-double dovetail? No Leigh jig can do that one! (And yes, that is a real joint)
Price depends on the model you buy, but owning one is truly priceless!

If you have any questions about what I posted, just ask! More than happy to help.

Good luck!

-- Kenny

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3040 days

#3 posted 02-25-2012 04:37 PM

I use the kehoe dovetail jig.
You can see some of the joints I have made here.
They are not true dovetails but dovetail splines.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

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