Dovetail Jig - which one?

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Forum topic by wwbob posted 01-29-2011 01:44 AM 8342 views 1 time favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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111 posts in 3016 days

01-29-2011 01:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question dovetail jig joining jig

I’ve spent the day looking on the web and this web site for which dovetail jig to buy. Many of the comparisons on this web site were fairly old, maybe jigs don’t change that much over time. I’ve seen jigs as cheap as $50 and up to almost $1000 including all the extras. I guess I could stretch the budget to include the Porter Cable Omni-jig, but if there is something as good for a little less…

Let the commenting begin.

And thanks for any suggestions.


-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

33 replies so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3151 days

#1 posted 01-29-2011 01:57 AM

I’m no dovetail expert, but I do recall looking at the PC dovetail jigs, and also Akeda etc. For my purposes the economics of getting an Incra positioner/joinery system made more sense – the system does have some shortcomings but it’s worth putting on your list if you want to upgrade your router table/fence while getting your dovetail jig.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3215 days

#2 posted 01-29-2011 02:06 AM

IMO – The Leigh DR4 is the best there is (especially if you want variable spacing). However, it is pricy ($450+). Leigh’s super jigs are almost as good and quite a bit cheaper. A 12” super costs about $250.

The primary difference is that the DR4 allows variable tails and pins. The supers only allow variable tails.

The VRC vacuum attachment is pretty good at capturing most of the chips.

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

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3915 days

#3 posted 01-29-2011 03:24 AM

I have an AKEDA DC16. It is the best Dovetail jig I ever owned. It cost about $450 with bits. They now make a DC24 if you want to do cabinets as well as drawers. If you go to – Woodworking – AKEA DC16. There are also other reviews on other dovetail jigs there. Hope this helps.

I also have an

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

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Paul C.

154 posts in 3386 days

#4 posted 01-29-2011 03:51 AM

With the Keller jig, I made a perfect joint the first time. Doesn’t get much better than that!

View ray vile's profile

ray vile

40 posts in 2833 days

#5 posted 01-29-2011 04:11 AM

I purchased the Rockler dovetail jig and it only took a few tries and they where coming right…very short learning curve for tis tool

-- RV

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3299 days

#6 posted 01-29-2011 04:21 AM

My vote is for the Incra, especially if you want very decorative joints (like in small boxes). Plus, I could cut 10 kitchen drawers at one time if I wanted. The bonus is that it’s not only a dovetail jig. My TSLS version is a precision table saw/router fence and edge jointer as well. It just excels in a multitude of tasks. I got mine with the joinery package for around $560. Pricey, but not much more than the popular jigs.

For bigger joints in larger boards, the Akeda or Leigh would likely be better options.

-- jay,

View a1Jim's profile


117232 posts in 3718 days

#7 posted 01-29-2011 04:32 AM

For the closest to the hand cut look of dovetails I would suggest Charles Neils new dovetail jig.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Billp's profile


804 posts in 4341 days

#8 posted 01-29-2011 05:13 PM

I have an 18” Leigh super jig with vrs and boxed set of leigh dovetail bits. I only tested it once its in mint condition. Plus every thing else that came with it manual, screwdriver ect.$300.00 I have $430.00 into it. I just got an Incra positioner so I won’t need the Leigh any more.

-- Billp

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3214 days

#9 posted 01-29-2011 09:19 PM

I’ve got one of the Omnijigs. It’s an extremely versatile and easy to setup jig but cost $1000+ by they time you’ve got a few accessories which you will want. If you’re doing a lot of dovetails including variable spacing and and half blinds it’s worth the money.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View rogerw's profile


262 posts in 2830 days

#10 posted 01-31-2011 03:52 PM

I found out it is one of those things “you get what you pay for”

Bought one of those jigs from HF, brought it home, set it up, and was quite disappointed with it. The instructions sucked. The alignments sucked. I had to take a jewelers file and clean all the flashing off the template before I could even run a router through it. If I had it to do over again I would have saved up some more money and bought something better.

needless to say i don’t do dovetails, at least not right now.

-- >> my shop teacher used to say "do the best at everything you make for your mom because you're going to see it for the rest of your life!" <<

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3813 days

#11 posted 01-31-2011 04:22 PM

Bob, I purchased the Porter-Cable 12” jig at Lowe's for $119 about a year ago. It works fantastic for me. Easy set-up, easy operation.

- Handles stock 1/4” to 1 1/8” thick
- Patent-pending alignment lines and router bit depth stop allow for quick, easy set-up
- Heavy-duty cam-type clamps with sandpaper-backed locking bars provide solid grip of wood
- Cuts half-blind dovetails, rabbeted half-blind dovetails, and dovetail dadoes

Here are the results I’m getting from it:

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2825 days

#12 posted 01-31-2011 05:21 PM

I bought a used Leigh D4 (forerunner to the DR4) and like it very much. I added the dust collection and bought a bit kit (wait for their periodic specials). Just don’t lose the manual…you’ll need it everytime you use it.

View wwbob's profile


111 posts in 3016 days

#13 posted 01-31-2011 07:05 PM

Current Tally for selected jigs:

  • Incra – 2
  • Leigh – 3
  • Keller – 1
  • Rockler – 1
  • C. Neils – 1
  • Omnijig – 1
  • PC 4210 – 1
  • and one NOT Harbor Freight

I like this hobby. Everybody does something different and yet we all have fun doing it.


-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3621 days

#14 posted 01-31-2011 07:17 PM

Another vote here for Leigh. They may not be the easiest to learn to use, but they are very accurate.

I could also add that I have the 24” Leigh and the size is nice for blanket chests and larger pieces. Also, I called the Leigh customer service a couple of times with questions and looking for some accessories and they are very good.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4129 days

#15 posted 01-31-2011 07:25 PM

I also have and use the Leigh. I have to read the book every time I use it though since I don’t use it too often.

You could also get a cheap little generic (Harbor Freight) one for around $40-50. Not very versatile but it works for making drawers. I used one for making all the drawers on my Highboy:
Click for details

Worked fine for what I used it for. Just took a little time to set it up right.

It all depends on what you want it for.

If you want versatility, then get a Leigh.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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