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Anyone Looking For Some Cheap Tail?

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Review by DaveTPilot posted 1197 days ago 5371 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Anyone Looking For Some Cheap Tail? No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

When I first saw this jig advertised I said, ”$34.99 are you kidding me? It’s got to be a piece of *#@&!” I had never used a dovetail jig before but heard some horror stories from people who have used some of the “cheap” jigs. I looked at a few videos online and from what I could tell, for less than 35 bucks with a dovetail bit included, the EZ Pro Dovetail Jig was worth a try.

The jig comes with a dovetail bit and a spacer for making joints in stock wider than 6”. After the 2 minute assembly I was ready to give it a go. The cool thing about this jig is you can use it on your router table. When I started to set it up to make my first practice cuts, I noticed that the markings were almost impossible to read. As you can see, or not see, in the main photo, the markings are stamped or engraved in the black plastic.

I took some white acrylic hobby paint and rubbed it into the markings. With a damp shop towel, I wiped off the excess and the markings stood out like a sore thumb the way God intended. I then wiped some super glue over the markings to add some protection.

I made my practice cuts in 3/4 birch plywood. It was the same material I planned to use to make some drawers for my miter station. With this material, I found that in order to get a good tight joint, I needed to set the dovetail bit as high as it could go and cut a full 1/2 inch joint.

The problem I ran into with this setup on the router table is that the top bearing would work its way up the bit shaft and go over the jigs fingers. The fingers were in danger of working their way between the bearings. Not good. I solved the problem easily by adding a third bearing that I happen to have in my collection. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Why didn’t he just lower the bit in the collet?” I tried that but in order to get the full 1/2” cut, the collet would hit the table insert. This would not be a problem if I used the jig with a hand held router.

After a few practice runs I was happy with the results. Here is an example of the joints. The larger drawers were 8 1/4” deep. the spacer tool worked flawlessly.

Cutting the dovetails in plywood, I found it necessary to use a backer board. A piece of hardboard did the trick nicely.

The jig will cut half-blind and through dovetails, edge dovetails and box joints, (with a straight bit, not included). I really abused the included dovetail bit. I cut around 100 joints and it held up pretty well. I cleaned the bit after I was done and used a diamond mini file to give a sharp edge again. I have since purchased a Freud Diablo bit that I will use the next time. I’ll keep the “stock” bit as a back up.

Conclusion: This is a great product for the money. It was VERY easy to use and the results are fantastic!

-- How valuable is time to a person who spends his disparaging the beliefs of others? --David Berthelette www.pilotwoodworks.com




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DaveTPilot

270 posts in 1800 days



9 comments so far

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5280 posts in 1734 days


#1 posted 1197 days ago

I was about to answer the question by referring my ex, but I was mistaken…

I saw that jig for sale at the BORG yesterday and wondered if anyone here has tried it. Good review… A pity it is so short, but then again, if your primary use is making drawers, then 6” is fine… I have the MLCS Pins & Tails rig and it works fine, my problem is lousy material. When I throw even halfway decent ply or good hardwood at it, perfect DTs every time…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14500 posts in 1691 days


#2 posted 1197 days ago

Nice review! Might have to give this a try.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View BigG's profile

BigG

56 posts in 1572 days


#3 posted 1197 days ago

DBHOST, by using the supplied spacer you can make dovetails on 10’ stock if you wish. Had the same problem with a handheld as was mentioned with a table regarding the bit bearing riding up over the jig. Got a good bit and router bushings to solve the problem.

-- Big G

View woodworkerscott's profile

woodworkerscott

352 posts in 1316 days


#4 posted 1197 days ago

*DON’T BUY THIS JIG!*
As a professional woodworker my opinion differs greatly. I bought one last summer and I think it is a piece of sh#! With a little more use you will find that the router bearings will fall apart and the jig will become inaccurate. The jig for the money is at MLCS Woodworking, bar none. For around $50 bucks you get a precision jig, template guide and two bits for flawless dovetails. Any others reading this …don’t buy the EZ Pro!!!

-- " 'woodworker'.....it's a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View DaveTPilot's profile

DaveTPilot

270 posts in 1800 days


#5 posted 1196 days ago

As I said in my post, I bought and will use a good quality bit. I’ll use good bearings or a bushing. I didn’t and wouldn’t recommend buying this jig for the bit. I have only used the jig to cut about 100 dovetails so I can’t speak to the long term accuracy. I’m not a professional woodworker but I care about and recognize quality craftsmanship. For less than $35 this jig was right for me at the time I needed it. No regrets.

-- How valuable is time to a person who spends his disparaging the beliefs of others? --David Berthelette www.pilotwoodworks.com

View Tim29's profile

Tim29

307 posts in 1652 days


#6 posted 1196 days ago

Thanks for posting an honest review about a cheaper jig Matt. It looks like the jig worked great for your needs. And the price is certainly right. I have seen this jig at HD and have thought about buying it for a while. I just might after reading this.

-- Tim, Nevada MO

View woodworkerscott's profile

woodworkerscott

352 posts in 1316 days


#7 posted 1196 days ago

After you use an upgraded bit and bearings then the money went to a cheap dovetail jig carcass. The plastic on the jig will wear quickly making accuracy very difficult to reach. For me, even if I was an occasional hobbyist, I would rather spend 15 more dollars and get a professional grade jig that will last a lifetime that has absolutely no parts to wear out. Free shipping as well. MLCS is better for the buck. Harbor Freight makes a complete dovetail machine for $35 that is better than the EZ Pro.
I am not cutting down the review, just the product. What works for you, works for you. Just use it a lot and then we will see. Mine worked great at first, too. But what counts in the woodworking world is longevity, reliability and cost. Spending less initially does not mean you saved money. Best of luck.

-- " 'woodworker'.....it's a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View DaveTPilot's profile

DaveTPilot

270 posts in 1800 days


#8 posted 1196 days ago

Scott,
No worries. Honest reviews and opinions are what we all want. I looked up the MLCS site and looks like they have some good buys.

Which jig, specifically, are you talking about? Is it this one? http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/graphics4/dovejighalf.jpg

-- How valuable is time to a person who spends his disparaging the beliefs of others? --David Berthelette www.pilotwoodworks.com

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woodworkerscott

352 posts in 1316 days


#9 posted 1196 days ago

Here’s a link to a video you will like. Watch the whole thing if you have time. Fun.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_dw_iV6-0E.

Sure, there is a little preparation, but well worth it.

You can also watch the same video shown on the product page. You Tube lets you see it better.
The jigs I am talking about.. go to MLCS home page, go to the Accessories drop down menu, 2nd down click dovetail jigs. The templates shown at the beginning are the ones. They sell individually for $49.95. Wood Magazine and others have ranked this and other MLCS tools as the best. Comes with goodies. Check out the whole site….I just bought some great stuff from the bargain bin and there are web specials. Also, sign up for the newsletter/sales info and get 10% off orders here and there. Enjoy!

-- " 'woodworker'.....it's a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

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