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Woodwayze

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62 posts in 2682 days

Location: Birmingham, UK
Website:

Retired old guy, happy staying out of the workshop in the Winter!
Waiting for the good weather so I can work in my single-car garage. Being such a small shop, some jobs require work out on the front-yard of my house too!) Use machines and hand tools. More machines since my bones started to creak over dovetail-cutting! So I have a Leigh and a Woodrat now, but I prefer the Leigh.

I sold the Woodrat and bought a new Leigh. I was about to sell the old Leigh, when I realised I could use them both at the same time, which would save me the irksome job of resetting the template fingers, to work on the opposite end of the jig. Saves a lot of time, and they both go into the drawer under the bench without trouble! I suppose I could just use the finger plate and swap that over, but it's easier taking just one pace sideways to the other jig!

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

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22 comments so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12246 posts in 2694 days


#1 posted 2682 days ago

Welcome. Looking forward to seening some posts.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Woodwayze's profile

Woodwayze

62 posts in 2682 days


#2 posted 2682 days ago

Thanks Wayne,

I intend to post.. As often as poss.

John (UK)

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View Max's profile

Max

55956 posts in 2870 days


#3 posted 2682 days ago

Glad that you are making Lumberjocks a part of your woodworking experience… Welcome…

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Karson's profile

Karson

34853 posts in 2997 days


#4 posted 2682 days ago

Welcome to LumberJocks.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Woodwayze's profile

Woodwayze

62 posts in 2682 days


#5 posted 2682 days ago

Thanks Folks. I just posted a longer piece about myself, but I am blessed if I can find it now! Hope you stumble across it. it will bore you to tears and force you back into the woodshop.

John (UK)

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

496 posts in 2711 days


#6 posted 2666 days ago

What can you tell me about the Woodrat? I’ve looked at it and it looks like a pretty nice tool. I’m looking for a tool that will cut dovetails and mortise and tenon joints. Most tools/fixtures only do one or the other, but the Woodrat does more.

View Mark's profile

Mark

316 posts in 2730 days


#7 posted 2666 days ago

It is good to have you.

Mark

-- Mark

View Woodwayze's profile

Woodwayze

62 posts in 2682 days


#8 posted 2666 days ago

Hi Mike,

What can I tell you about the Woodrat? It’s a great tool for overhead routing. It does everything a fixed, overhead router can do.The router can move only towards and away from the operator, but it does this at differing angles. The workpieces can move laterally, so all in all, that covers the required movements for joint cutting. Because the router can be moved away and towards you at differing angles, you can cut dovetail sockets/pins. Dovetails are cut with all boards vertically in the jig. (One drawback if you are making a long carcass, that requires sockets in a six-foot workpiece. (With the Leigh, you cut the sockets with the workpiece horizontal, which at six-feet long would be a good idea!) With the Woodrat, the depth of cut depends on the cutter length, (up to a point) as it can be controlled by inserts that come with the jig.

The Woodrat can cut virtually any joint you care to mention, including the difficult glass-case framing joint for display cabinets, such as you would see covering a model galleon.
You need to make some wooden jigs/devices to go with the Woodrat, but they are all simple jigs.

The only reason I never used my Woodrat was illness after I got the jig delivered. Then I realised I was unable to orangnise my shop to have a blank wall on which to mount the Woodrat. However, you can mount the jig on a bench if you wish. You really need the space either side of the jig to handle wide/long workpieces.

To be honest though, if I was working a groove/dado along the grain of a five foot length of timber, I would use a hand-held router and fence, for convenience. You can do this operation on the Woodrat, but you have to move the timber, under the cutter. So this operation is best done on a router table or by hand-held router (in my opinion!) Final judgement? The Woodrat is a good buy, if you want a ‘Do-All’ jig.

Now I realise I have all the machines in my shop to do virtually everything I want. So I never did set-up my Woodrat. The Leigh does most of what I reqire, and the few things it can’t do, are the tings I rarely do. (Mortices in a round leg for instance. I would just make a 45 degree holder, and use the drill-press.)

Does this help?
I hope so.
My final advice…. If you have no other well-used and practised methods of machining the joints you use regularly, then buy a Woodrat. You will also benefit from buying the biggest router you can afford and also the specially designed ‘plunge-bars’ to go with the jig. These bars really help with depth settings.
Any more I can’t advise, except that if you want to see it working, invest a few dollars on the DVD first. You can then decide for yourself what use the jig would be.

Hope this helps… Happy Easter and good woodworking.

John (UK)

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2758 days


#9 posted 2666 days ago

Nice write up of the Woodrat John. It was very informative. Now maybe you can do a write up on your experience with the Leigh as well? Give you something to do while the shop is warming up!

I looked at the Woodrat and Leigh videos, and then bought the Leigh. I will be trying it out shortly on a few projects I have going. I am anxious to see how it works.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Woodwayze's profile

Woodwayze

62 posts in 2682 days


#10 posted 2666 days ago

Sure Bill…
Let me finish my evening meal here, and I will talk about the Leigh. It does a lot more than it says on the box!

Best
John

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View Woodwayze's profile

Woodwayze

62 posts in 2682 days


#11 posted 2666 days ago

Okay Bill,
I am going to write this up in ‘Word’ first, and cut and paste… be right back.
John

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View Woodwayze's profile

Woodwayze

62 posts in 2682 days


#12 posted 2666 days ago

Hi Bill,

I bought my first Leigh Jig maybe ten years ago. I was impressed by the fact that one could alter the spacing of tails and pins to begin with, which was a big plus for the hand-tooled look. I saw the video and I decided I would try the jig. I never regretted the decision.

I admit, the next thing I bought was a second router and a spare set of Leigh guide bushes, so I didn’t have to fuss about changing bits, between cutting pins and tails.

The next fuss was changing the orientation of cutting, from the the left to the right side of the jig. This I solved by flipping the finger template, to transfer the settings to another work piece on the opposing end of the jig. Then by flipping the fingerplate again, I could set the fingers to the marks and cut on the right hand side of the jig.

(Today I have the luxury of two Leigh Jigs, each set up accordingly, to save downtime. The second jig I bought on eBay.)

The next challenge was finding other things the jig could do.
1) It could definitely cut dovetail housing joints as it was designed to do this.
2) Becuase of this, I reasoned it could also cut stub tenons, if I used a straight cutter in place of a dovetail cutter. Also it could cut wide cross-grain dadoes by the same method.

Using a long reach straight cutter, I could also trim end-grain on boards almost up to the full width of the jig, and at 90 degrees. In this case, the bush size didn’t matter, as the amount of material to be removed depends on the setting of the cross-cut bar. Add some scrap pieces at each side of the work piece, to avoid splintering out. (If you were to trim end grain first, even this might not matter, as you could plane and clean-up long edges afterwards.

By using a shop-made register piece, made from timber, I could also cut repeated dadoes across a work piece, if I wanted to make a unit with multiple shelves, for instance. All this is done with the use of the cross-cut bar.

I could also make dowel joints, if I set the fingers properly, in conjunction with an appropriate cutter.

Ramon Weston, in Wiltshire, UK, devised a jig that enabled the jig to cut finger joints. Of course this has been superseded by the finger-joint template that Leigh now produces. (At a cost!). So to cut finger joints, I use Ramon’s idea. I haven’t heard from Ramon for a while, so I don’t know if he is still active, but I can find details of the jig he devised,.

My own ideas were published in the UK magazine ‘Routing’ (Now defunct). Given time I could locate them and take copies. However I do need time, as for a week or so I am in the throes of a family member moving out to her own accommodation!

I am continually thinking of ways I can use the Leigh, for tasks other than dovetailing and I firmly believe it is a ‘Woodwork Techno-centre’, if approached correctly. I agree it would be hard to produce mortises, in a rounded leg, but then I can do that in a drill-press using a vee-block. Agreed? I am considering writing a book (maybe an eBook) on the basic Leigh Jig ‘revisited’. Who knows? It could help others.

I will ruminate some more and think of anything else I can add. Okay Bill?
For now, have a good Holiday and enjoy your woodworking.

John (UK)

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View Woodwayze's profile

Woodwayze

62 posts in 2682 days


#13 posted 2666 days ago

There is a Leigh Jig going begging for bids on eBay.co.uk at the moment. Attracting little attention. And it’s a new model too!

John

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View Woodwayze's profile

Woodwayze

62 posts in 2682 days


#14 posted 2666 days ago

Thanks again for all the welcome posts.
I am geting down to making a better profile piece, to let you all know how and where I satrted from. I also need to know how to post images on the site, so I can show the little box, I call a workshop!

Cheers everyone and enjoy Easter.

John

-- Working fast helps you to arrive at your mistakes in spectacular fashion. (Me 2009!)

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2803 days


#15 posted 2666 days ago

Hello Woodwayze;
—-great to see you here!
I also have made furniture at my kitchen table, so anywhere I can form some wood is a heavenly place to my way of thinking.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

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