Leigh dovetail jig ??????

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Forum topic by Budman72 posted 02-16-2011 04:14 PM 2813 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2666 days

02-16-2011 04:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: leigh dovetail question

Hello all,

1st post here, but have been lurking for a while.

I’m working on some jewelry boxes for family members and picked up a Leigh D4r Pro so I could do assymetric HB dovetails. No matter what I do the joints are very loose. I’ve lowered the bit, played with the board thickness, read the manual a couple times, watched the video etc, but no matter what it the joints come out loose.

I’m using the 120-8 bit for a 1/2 deep in 5/8 thick wood. I’ve also tried swapping out the e7 bushing with a 7/16 bushing.

Pulling my hair out (what’s left of it anyway) after spending $$$$ for this jig and playing with it for a week and can’t get a decent dovetail. I never had any trouble out of my old plastic Craftsman jig.

Thanks all,


8 replies so far

View OverHeight's profile


1 post in 2652 days

#1 posted 02-16-2011 09:53 PM

Hey, my first post too. Have you tried calling Leigh? They have exceptional customer service.

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3738 days

#2 posted 02-16-2011 10:07 PM

Is your bit centered in the bushing? If you are a little bit off center and then vary the router orientation you will be driven to drink.

I check centering with a dovetail bit whose bottom is bigger than my bushing and then bring up the depth until it touches the brass and then turn it and see if I get the same contact all around. Usually you can tweak the baseplate as the screw holes are often oversize.
I would then try a test board and go around the patern with the handles of the router kept perfectly constant and see if it solves your problem.

For 1/2 blind otherwise as you know – only bit depth is changing tightness.
Oh and on the Leigh – make sure that you have a scrap at the other end of the jig that keeps the fingers level.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3394 days

#3 posted 02-16-2011 10:24 PM

If you have not gone through the centering of the baseplate/guide collar do that! I get lots of email on that one thing and finally did a story on it at the link below. The Leigh jig does exactly what you tell it to and if that bushing is off just a tad, that’s how much your joints are off. Also, the bit height adjustments on any jig are tiny on a big day so you really have to take it easy there. If all else fails, call Leigh. They have great people on the phone and they really want to see you get it right.

-- Tom Hintz,

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3070 days

#4 posted 02-16-2011 10:46 PM

The key to tightness is how far forward or back you place the rack when cutting the pins. This is a little tricky because a very fine adjustment on where you place the rack will make quite a bit of difference.

I usually start by making joints that are too tight (you can not get them together). Then I move the plate less than half a mm and try again. I do this repeatedly until I have the right setting. This way I sneak up on the right setting. You can always make a joint that is too tight a little looser, but you cannot go in the opposite direction without using a new piece of wood.

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

View Budman72's profile


2 posts in 2666 days

#5 posted 02-16-2011 11:35 PM

Thanks for all the replies.

One issue I found last night is that the finger bar has a slight bow in it, probably just less than 1/8”. Once I made sure it was flat the joints tightened up. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it since but I’ll try some more!

View Gator's profile


383 posts in 3672 days

#6 posted 02-17-2011 01:17 AM

I try to keep a spacer board the same thickness as my piece under the bar to keep equal pressure all the way across. Seems to work for me?


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3284 days

#7 posted 02-17-2011 01:27 AM

thanks for the post I never got an answer to my question which was the same as yours. So it’s cool to get some things to try when I pull out the old leigh jig. I also have a cheap shopfox jig I keep for HB dovetails.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View kayakdude's profile


97 posts in 2772 days

#8 posted 01-02-2014 09:54 PM

i think you have a base plate issue

-- kayakdude

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