Leigh dovetail jig

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Forum topic by Michael Murphy posted 04-30-2010 10:59 PM 2174 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michael Murphy

453 posts in 2971 days

04-30-2010 10:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: leigh router jig dovetail

I found a guy that is selling some tools. I was interested in his 24” Leigh dovetail jig. Any of you LJ’s use one, how hard is it to set up and use? Do you like it? Is $200.00 too much? He said he has it on a pedestal but it sort of sounded as if he’s including a router table with it. He also said it was like new and had some bits and a router to use with it.

I have to go look tomorrow morning, so any input soon would be appreciated.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

20 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3041 days

#1 posted 04-30-2010 11:08 PM

$200 for a 24” Leigh dovetail jig is a great deal – especially if he throws in some extras. In my opinion, the Leigh jigs are the absolute best.

Like any other dovetail jig, it takes a little while to learn how to use it. Hopefully, he is including the manual. If not, you will need to get one. I don’t think they are hard to get. If you were buying a new Leigh jig you would also get an instructional DVD that is quite helpful. For a price, you may even be able to get that. I don’t mean to scare you about the learning curve. It’s not that bad. It’s just that you won’t take it home and wipe up a perfect dovetail without spending a little time learning how to do it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3447 days

#2 posted 04-30-2010 11:16 PM

I agree with Rich. The Leigh jig is great. I have the D4. Like Rich said, be sure you get the manual though. It will help a lot.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 2971 days

#3 posted 04-30-2010 11:16 PM

I am in the middle of cleaning and trying to get reorganized out in the shop so this was going to be put aside for a while but I have been looking on ebay and CL and this came up yesterday. I will go look at it and take some extra cash just in case he has some other goodies.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View jplhomes's profile


12 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 05-01-2010 06:56 AM

It,s like any tool.You have to make a comement to learn to use it. This is a great time to build a bunch of boxes for storage in the shop. It is a very easy Jig to learn. Much easier tahn the inca Jig. Two hundred seems to be a fair price. You can download the manual from the web site. The manual is one of best I have ever used.
Good Luck

-- John

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 2971 days

#5 posted 05-01-2010 08:56 PM

It did come with the manual and square drive screwdriver and wrench but not much else, I did buy it, a PC router and base, and a PC random orbital sander and about 50 bf of red oak for $300.00.

He has a Unisaw for sale 3 hp 110/220 single phase, with a built in router table on the end including router and table insert. $700. Sacramento, CA area. Jerry at 916-402-7123. Seems like a good deal if anyone is interested.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View bigike's profile


4050 posts in 3255 days

#6 posted 05-01-2010 09:29 PM

if you don’t get the manual you can buy one from their site plus they have down loads for ways of using the jig that arent in the manual what kind of jig is it D4R,1258R,etc? $200 is a good price but always see if you can talk him down.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Tom8021's profile


73 posts in 3204 days

#7 posted 05-04-2010 12:43 AM

Cool, now what are you going to build? I heard that the porter cable was good too and easier to set up. I have the cheap Rockler and it works great for doing a lot of dovetails. The trick is to dedicate a router to dovetailing, so I don’t have to adjust the bit ever. If I am doing a few, it is easier to do them by hand.

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 2971 days

#8 posted 05-04-2010 02:47 AM

That’s why I sprung for another router from him too, so I can have one with the straight bit and guide and another with the dt bit and a guide and not have to mess with them, well, until one breaks or needs sharpeniing or whatever. And still have a few plungers for other stuff.

He wouldn’t part with his bits though. I need to get a set and a new guide bushing or maybe 2 I think. Where’s a good place to get those?

Tom, I am still working on the shop. I got rid of those flipping tool racks and am moving stuff around in the shop and purging alot of junk. Do you need any more? I’ll send a big box next time.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Tom8021's profile


73 posts in 3204 days

#9 posted 05-04-2010 03:17 AM

I bought a dovetail bit set from MLCS A lot of people like Eagle America, so check them out too. With the leigh jig don’t you need special bits?

WOW good to hear you getting rid of those flipping racks.What are you doing with all of that crap? Are you starting there and working yourself around the whole shop? You should attach a picture of your shop so other can be inspired by the before and after. :)

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3146 posts in 3075 days

#10 posted 05-04-2010 03:22 AM

You got all that swag for $300? That’s about the cost of the wood! Good on ya!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 3323 days

#11 posted 05-04-2010 03:33 AM

You got a great deal.The jig is easy to learn.The excellent manual has you make a thru dovetail box to get the hang of it.I probably use the jig about once a year so everytime I use it I have to relearn its use and it always comes right back

View finns's profile


161 posts in 3083 days

#12 posted 05-04-2010 04:39 AM

I have the Leigh as well and should post a pic of a box I made for my wife. I took a class on dovetail making and asked the instructor at Woodcraft what his opinion was as to the better dovetail jigs. His comment was they all pretty much do the same thing and to just get good at using one. Sounds as if you got a great deal!

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 2971 days

#13 posted 05-04-2010 04:53 AM

I just got it Saturday and haven’t had much chance yet to do anything with it. I am not sure if there are special bits you need to get from Leigh, but I don’t think so. The guy pointed me in the direction of Woodcraft down the road for bits but I did not have time on Sat. morn. I think he got his there. I will get to it eventually.

In cleaning that corner of the shop, I put all the stuff I want to keep in a rolling drawer thing and the rest in a box(es) for the yard sale(this is mostly junky stuff, nothing valuable, so read on you tool hounds). I will be putting up some planes and stuff for sale, I found I have 4 Bailey #5 ’s and probably only need one. A few Breast drills (the ultimate cordless) an auger set and brace. Probably some other stuff I have yet to stumble across.

I will make sure you LJ’s will have the first opportunity at any of it I advertise on line.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View kennyd's profile


103 posts in 2966 days

#14 posted 05-04-2010 05:08 AM

Hi Michael,

Good luck with your D4. I picked one up from a guy on CL, too. It was sitting in his garage and he never got around to using it. He had the manual, 2 Leigh bits, and the guide bushings, but he had lost the wrench and the square tipped screwdriver. It was filthy when I got it so I took it completely apart, cleaned it spotless, and then reassembled it. And I’m glad I did. It wasn’t assembled correctly. Check and make sure the edge guides are firmly seated in the channels. They need to be drawn in tight and not sitting cockeyed in there. Also, check the clamping mechanisms as well. I built a open faced box to mount it to like the one they show in the manual. It sits up about 8” above my workbench. A perfect height for me. If you need assistance with it the people at Leigh support are fantastic.

-- Kenny... The man who needs a tool he doesn't have is already paying for it.

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 2971 days

#15 posted 05-04-2010 04:12 PM

This one has the box you describe. Jerry said he built it and it holds the boards in the right plane. I was going to start looking for bits today. I forgot my manual at home, are ther specisl bits for use with the leigh jig? What would be a good set to buy to start with? The ones he had were 3/8 shank but do the cutters have to be a certain length or width at the bottom or anything like that?

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

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