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PC 4216 Dovetail Jig, why isn't it your favorite?

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Forum topic by CB_Cohick posted 03-09-2016 02:28 PM 862 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CB_Cohick

460 posts in 719 days


03-09-2016 02:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig dovetail question router joining

The romance of hand-cut dovetails is wearing thin with me. I have several projects on my list, and they all seem to have drawers. More importantly, I notice myself avoiding going into the shop to push ahead because I just don’t want to do all that work by hand. I am thinking it is time to invest in a dovetail jig that I can use my router with to help me bang out this pile of drawers. My understanding is that the Leigh jig is the gold standard, with the emphasis on gold. I can’t afford one of those. However, the Porter Cable jig is budget-able. My question to my fellow LJ’s, if you use or have used a PC 4216 Dovetail Jig what do you dislike about it?

-- Chris - Would work, but I'm too busy reading about woodwork.


18 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2150 posts in 1640 days


#1 posted 03-09-2016 03:41 PM

I have the PC and like it. I would buy it again. The PC is easy to set up and cuts accurate well fitting dovetails when set up. I think the Leigh takes more to setup but will also cut odd spaced dovetails that the PC may not be able to.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View upinflames's profile

upinflames

209 posts in 1630 days


#2 posted 03-09-2016 03:55 PM

The PC works good, DO NOT let any one talk you into the Rockler jig. My son had one with the “dust collector” on it. The dust shroud thingy is junk, the templates are plastic and warp six ways from Sunday.

I think he used it as target practice a few months ago, LOTS of plastic on that thing…..oh wait….they call it “phenolic”....google it….it’s plastic…...

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

1812 posts in 606 days


#3 posted 03-09-2016 06:17 PM

I have a PC 4112 jig and just used it for the first time the other night for some drawers in a small dresser I’m making. I did 2 test runs on scrap to tweak it and then it was ready to go. Made flawless 1/2 blinds consistently and repeatedly. I’m very impressed.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#4 posted 03-09-2016 06:25 PM

Looks like a solid machine for the price. Lacks the adjustable combs of the Leigh (or the PC Omni). Does that dictate the size of the pieces or is there away around it?

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CB_Cohick

460 posts in 719 days


#5 posted 03-09-2016 06:32 PM



Looks like a solid machine for the price. Lacks the adjustable combs of the Leigh (or the PC Omni). Does that dictate the size of the pieces or is there away around it?

- teejk02


The source I have been looking at (Woodcraft) says it is a 12” jig. I assume that means it will accommodate a board 12” wide. Thickness-wise I seem to recall the range was 1/4” to 1 1/4”.

-- Chris - Would work, but I'm too busy reading about woodwork.

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johnstoneb

2150 posts in 1640 days


#6 posted 03-09-2016 06:36 PM

It dictates to some extent. You need to be in 1/4” or 1/2” increments. You can use other dimensions. The setup is easier and quicker if you use those increments. The manual is very good but you need to read it closely.

I just finished this Tool box. Did the drawers all on the PC .

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/193514

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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Jim B

57 posts in 698 days


#7 posted 03-09-2016 07:01 PM

The initial set up take a little time and a few test cuts, but after that it’s worth it. I was very pleased with the quality of half blind dovetail I could cut with it, but was rather disappointed when I tried to cut 1/2” box joints. I found it was just too loose.

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pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2281 days


#8 posted 03-09-2016 07:05 PM

I have the P.C. 4210, leigh superjig, and the Akeda. The one limitation with the P.C. 4210/4212/4216 is the fixed spacing. Look at the type of drawers you are building to see if it will be a limitation for you. For drawers with an integral front, the jigs with variable spacing are great. For drawers with applied fronts, it may not matter.

Let’s say you are building a project that calls for drawer fronts 7-1/8” tall. This does not work well with the P.C. jigs ideal heights of 6-1/4”, 7-1/4”, 8-1/4”. These heights will yield a perfect half pin at the top and bottom of the drawer. However if you are applying drawer fronts, just make the drawer box according to the ideal spacing, and make the drawer front slightly taller. So the drawer box could be 6-1/4” high, and the false front would be 7-1/8”.

The Akeda is far and away my favorite. The variable spacing is great, and the very smart dust collection makes it a pleasure to use. Through dovetails are dead simple with the Akeda. Half blinds (as with any jig) require a couple test joints.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#9 posted 03-09-2016 07:50 PM



I have the P.C. 4210, leigh superjig, and the Akeda. The one limitation with the P.C. 4210/4212/4216 is the fixed spacing. Look at the type of drawers you are building to see if it will be a limitation for you. For drawers with an integral front, the jigs with variable spacing are great. For drawers with applied fronts, it may not matter.

Let s say you are building a project that calls for drawer fronts 7-1/8” tall. This does not work well with the P.C. jigs ideal heights of 6-1/4”, 7-1/4”, 8-1/4”. These heights will yield a perfect half pin at the top and bottom of the drawer. However if you are applying drawer fronts, just make the drawer box according to the ideal spacing, and make the drawer front slightly taller. So the drawer box could be 6-1/4” high, and the false front would be 7-1/8”.

The Akeda is far and away my favorite. The variable spacing is great, and the very smart dust collection makes it a pleasure to use. Through dovetails are dead simple with the Akeda. Half blinds (as with any jig) require a couple test joints.

- pintodeluxe

Correct on the half-blinds (set-up can be a real PITA on the Leigh but I guess they are all the same). I found a nearly new Leigh D4 on E-Bay years (about $400 as I recall) ago so I have never looked at the Akeda. What do you see as the advantage?

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teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#10 posted 03-09-2016 08:01 PM



It dictates to some extent. You need to be in 1/4” or 1/2” increments. You can use other dimensions. The setup is easier and quicker if you use those increments. The manual is very good but you need to read it closely.
- johnstoneb

I looked at the manual on line and it looks pretty comprehensive. One thing I keep protected at all costs in the shop is the Leigh manual. The jig doesn’t get used a lot so I have to refresh my memory when I do use it…if anything happened to that book I would be lost…the concept of what the router is doing is not inherently obvious to me.

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johnstoneb

2150 posts in 1640 days


#11 posted 03-09-2016 08:30 PM

Jim B. I found the same thing with box joints does a great job of cutting them but the little bit of clearance between the guide bushing and jig fingers leaves them just a little loose. The last box joints I cut I forgot I had the PC and just made a quick jig for my router table. They came out perfect.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#12 posted 03-09-2016 09:15 PM



Jim B. I found the same thing with box joints does a great job of cutting them but the little bit of clearance between the guide bushing and jig fingers leaves them just a little loose. The last box joints I cut I forgot I had the PC and just made a quick jig for my router table. They came out perfect.

- johnstoneb

I cut box joints on the TS. But curious on the “loose”...like a lot?

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2281 days


#13 posted 03-09-2016 10:20 PM

Teejko2,
In answer to your question, I like my Akeda over my Leigh dovetail jig for several reasons.
Here are the reviews, but keep in mind my Leigh is a superjig, not the D4.

http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/5682

http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/5610

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2192 posts in 1493 days


#14 posted 03-09-2016 10:37 PM

I have the PC 4212 (a CL find, by the way), and like it quite well. I think all of these jigs require some tweaking to get everything right, but then they do a great job. Once you develop a routine, it’s not hard to set up a real series production line. I did all my kitchen and bathroom drawers (24 total) with the jig.

Sears made (maybe still do?) a jig that works on a similar principle. Theirs has plastic templates, which is a disadvantage, plus mine lacked the lever operated lockdown cam. Years ago, I made my own non-standard templates out of hardboard for a project, and they worked fine. Wasn’t that hard to do. If and when I need to, I’ll do the same thing with the 4212.

I haven’t tried them yet, but Grizzly has 1/2” shank dovetail bits that should work in the PC jigs.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#15 posted 03-09-2016 11:29 PM



Teejko2,
In answer to your question, I like my Akeda over my Leigh dovetail jig for several reasons.
Here are the reviews, but keep in mind my Leigh is a superjig, not the D4.
- pintodeluxe
Got it and thanks! Like I said I have the D4 and have no intentions of replacing it given the amount of use it gets but I have read a lot of stuff about the Akeda and am always seeking knowledge. Sounds like a great jig.

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