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My simple improvements to the Leigh Dovetail jig.

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Forum topic by BurlyBob posted 09-21-2015 03:36 AM 1015 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


09-21-2015 03:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip

So this is the 2nd time I’ve started this topic. Back in the early 90’s I bought a Leigh Dovetail jig because I Norm using it and it looked like the be all, end all. It sat unused in my shed till this summer for a variety of reasons. I pulled it out, studied everything I could find and watched every video I could find. I struggled with this jig and found it will do everything Leigh says it will do. What no one tells you is that it is very unforgiving. There is absolutely and I mean absolutely no room for the slightest margin for error. I worked my way learning thru dovetails and half blind dovetails and struggled with half blind dovetails. I had a variety of issues and stumbling blocks. The vast majority I can honestly attribute to “Pilot Error”, I bought extra router bits, new router base plate and a Leigh upgrade for my jig. This last week after many pits and falls I finally finished the half blind dovetail drawers on a garage project.

I was in the processed of finishing the last drawer front and was routing out the last slot/pin for the drawer front on one side of the drawer. As I started the cut I saw the drawer front pull to the right, totally screwing up the whole drawer front. That ended the day, as I was tempted almost to throw the board across the shop.

Later that night, around zero dark thirty in the am it came to me. PSA sandpaper. Sometime back I bought some 1000 grit psa wet/dry paper from Klingspor to sharpen chisels and plane irons. It didn’t work for me very well. Apparently I bought wrong PSA. I have found lots of other uses for it and these are some of them. I applied numerous strips of this PSA on every surface that comes in contact with and holds a piece of wood in this jig.

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The last two photos of some other ideas I had for the PSA sand paper. It’s a great addition for the miter gauge and not so great for the Chop Saw. I have to use a Wixey protractor to set the angles. I’ve found the PSA inhibits doing so easily. I’m thinking I’ll peal it off and only use it for make 45 cuts for picture frames.

This whole PSA idea was just my simple way of solving my problem. It may not work for others. If it does help some folks Great. Just thought I’d pass on my Idea.


12 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3219 days


#1 posted 09-21-2015 03:57 AM

Cool idea. I have the same problem with my Porter Cable dovetail jig.

Instead of PSA sandpaper, I found some anti-skid paper at Lowes. The stuff you can stick on steps (or wherever). The grit is a little more aggressive and the paper is thicker so it might not work for every application.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


#2 posted 10-04-2015 05:42 AM

I found the PSA paper didn’t work that well on the chop saw.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3938 posts in 1957 days


#3 posted 10-04-2015 11:18 AM

Great idea, one (on the D4) I’ve reapplied. If you’ve ever had one of those boards slip, you’ll see how useful this is.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View CharleyL's profile

CharleyL

197 posts in 2828 days


#4 posted 10-05-2015 02:58 PM

You should put the strips all the way across the jig and even consider more coarse grit on the paper. I use 80-100 grit PSA paper on shop made jigs to hold the wood in place and have never had it damage the wood or had the wood slip when clamped against it. Don’t be afraid to use a paper with a more coarse grit than you are using. There are times when making drawers that both sides of the Leigh jig are useful, if the drawer being cut has a height of less than 12”. You can set up the jig to cut both drawer sides at once, doing one on the right and the other on the left.

You might also consider buying the clamp upgrade from Leigh. The new style clamps work much better than those old screw down clamps. They are faster to use and more repeatable to achieve the same clamp pressure when doing multiples of the same stock.

Charley

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BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


#5 posted 10-05-2015 04:10 PM

Hi Charley. The 1000grit is what I had on hand. I have applied it to every surface that comes in contact with wood. If I ever get around to doing larger boards I intend to add more. I’ve got the toggle clamps on this jig and they do work quite nicely.

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CharleyL

197 posts in 2828 days


#6 posted 10-10-2015 01:50 AM

Well, let’s see some dovetails now.

Charley

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BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


#7 posted 10-10-2015 01:51 AM

I’ll get on it tomorrow Charley.

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BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


#8 posted 10-11-2015 03:55 AM

Charley, I’ve got some photos on my wife’s camera but she had to attend a gathering. I’ll try to get them and others posted tomorrow.

BurlyBob

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BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


#9 posted 10-12-2015 05:14 AM

Okay Charley. Here are the dovetail drawers I made for a counter in my garage. The top two were done before I sent the router bits back to Whiteside. I used pine for the sides, big mistake. The last two I made after the router bits got back from Whiteside. I used poplar for the sides. A much better wood for this purpose. The larger bottom drawer is the one I did using the Leigh Jig with all the 1000grit sandpaper.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1951 posts in 1452 days


#10 posted 10-12-2015 11:28 AM

Good idea and it helps a bunch. I have been doing it for some time and it is useful for any dovetail jig where you clamp the wood in it.

I wish they had made that jig so that one of the clamps could be moved closer to the middle for better clamping of narrower boards.

In my area, ash is cheap and available in wide boards and makes great drawer sides.

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BurlyBob

3682 posts in 1729 days


#11 posted 10-12-2015 01:12 PM

That is a great idea, clamping in the middle of the jig.

View groyuti's profile

groyuti

45 posts in 421 days


#12 posted 10-12-2015 02:50 PM

-- Spammer in the process of being removed.

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