help with Leigh D4R dovetails

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Forum topic by ryno posted 11-11-2009 03:44 AM 1943 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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106 posts in 3659 days

11-11-2009 03:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig

I’m having trouble making my dovetails fit perfect. I’ve made 4 test joints and each one has been better than the one before it but… it seems there is always one or two tails that have a small gap on the side.. I’ve read and re-read the manual and it says that even if the guide bushing isn’t exactly centered, that it will all even out in the end because I’m using the same router with the same guide bushing. But it’s not working out in the end. I feel as I’m doing directly as the manual says and I keep coming out with similar results. Here is an image of my last test piece.

Does anyone have suggestions?

-- It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

8 replies so far

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3283 days

#1 posted 11-11-2009 04:31 AM

i really couldnt tell ya with out being there but i know my through dovetails work on the same jig the only one i have trouble with is the HB dovetails so if u have any info on those let me know. as long as u follow the manual to the tee with the same size wood as in the practice section u should be fine u do have the brass bushings right? instead of the eliptical guide bush.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View ryno's profile


106 posts in 3659 days

#2 posted 11-11-2009 04:46 AM

yes, it is the brass one. I tried a HB as well, but I figured I should concentrate on the thru dovetails first and then move on the the HB’s. thx

-- It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3475 days

#3 posted 11-11-2009 06:07 AM

It looks by your picture that all joints are about equally loose. The tightness of the dovetails on the D4 jig is created in the TD pins mode. When you are cutting the pins, set the pin template (finger assembly) just a bit closer to you then it calls for, cut the pins, then try the fit. If it isnt snug, then move the template away from you…just a half of a graduation or so and do the pins again. Keep adjusting it until you get the fit that you want. There is a section in your manual that should explain this if I didnt make sense. Once you get the correct fit, then you should be able to route all of the pin boards at the same time.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View LesB's profile


1722 posts in 3438 days

#4 posted 11-11-2009 07:43 AM

You will get a little variation if your guide is either moving a little or is not centered and changes it’s location relative to the fingers between using the dove tail bit and the straight bit. Could you be unknowingly changing the orientation of a slightly off center guide in relation to how it enters the fingers.?
The two outside pins appear to be tight and the gaps on the center pins about equal. I go with SnowyRiver on that one.

-- Les B, Oregon

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3556 days

#5 posted 11-11-2009 04:44 PM

PC makes a guide centering cone available from Rockler and probably other retailers.

-- Joe

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3281 days

#6 posted 11-11-2009 05:28 PM

I had that issue with my PC jig. After I centered the bit, it solved it
Joe’s right about the centering cone. Bosch also makes one. I’m sure there are others.
This is important in any template routing.


View ryno's profile


106 posts in 3659 days

#7 posted 11-12-2009 01:05 AM

thx for the advice guys. I’m using a Rigid router and it has a centering cone and I adjusted the bushing accordingly. The pic i showed is actually one of the best ones I’ve done. I’m just confused on how some joints are tight but others are not. I’ll just have to keep playing around with it, I’m sure they’ll get better.. practice, practice, practice.. thx again.

-- It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

View mikedddd's profile


147 posts in 3224 days

#8 posted 11-12-2009 04:24 PM

I’ve had that jig for a few years now and practice helps a great deal. SnowyRiver gives a good overview of how to tighten up the joints. Here are a few things I learned using this jig, as already mentioned your bit must be centered, your stock must be exactly the same thickness that includes your test pieces, your piece that you clamp in the jig has to be cut square and mounted in the jig square and register tight against the side of the jig. Also if you have a second router available you can pick up another 7/16” guide bushing and set up the dovetail bit in one router and the straight bit in the other for through dovetails it made my life much simpler. Another thing I found to be of help is after using the jig a bit watch the user videos again. Good luck and don’t give up once you get it figured out that jig will give excellent results.

-- Mike

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