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Dovetail Jig Recommendation

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Forum topic by Zod posted 12-01-2017 01:52 PM 1519 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Zod

13 posts in 12 days


12-01-2017 01:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig dovetail joinery drawers nightstand question recommendation advice

I am new to woodworking and I have been collecting equipment and tools as I go. My wife wants me to build a few nightstands and I thought dovetail joints on the drawers would be nice. I am not competent enough to cut them by hand and I wanted to see of I could get some recommendations on a dovetail jig. I can see myself using it down the road so I am okay with buying a jig, but budget is a concern. I like the idea of having a few different templates to switch things up and a few I have seen are:

MLCS Dovetail Jig
Leigh 12” Dovetail Jig

I have learned to get input from informed people before buying anything. The jigs I mentioned above are a little more expensive than I can afford. I was wondering if there was a good budget-friendly option that wouldn’t require a lot of extra accessories to be usable.

Thanks in advance for your advice.


29 replies so far

View jonah's profile

jonah

1443 posts in 3132 days


#1 posted 12-01-2017 02:15 PM

I have the porter cable jig and I like it. It doesn’t let you do arbitrarily sized dovetails, but it works well.

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

2949 posts in 546 days


#2 posted 12-01-2017 02:55 PM

even with a jig they are still very finicky to set up …I had the PC Omni jig never used it …GOOD LUCK :<))

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

954 posts in 425 days


#3 posted 12-01-2017 03:07 PM

PC is the best. Almost anything else is a cheap clone. I have one such clone hanging on the tool rack and taking space

View RogerM's profile

RogerM

786 posts in 2232 days


#4 posted 12-01-2017 03:10 PM

I have one of the earlier Leigh Jigs and have been very happy with it. It has a lot of dovetail related options and can be a bit complicated to use. On the plus side, it has an excellent, well written, manual that clearly explains how to set the various options up.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

404 posts in 574 days


#5 posted 12-01-2017 03:14 PM

Another vote for the PC. It is much more limited than the Leigh, but the price reflects that. Do yourself a favor, though, regardless of what you select, and watch some youtube videos on how to set it up. This was much easier for me than the manual (though it is fairly detailed).

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View Jacksdad's profile

Jacksdad

106 posts in 257 days


#6 posted 12-01-2017 03:15 PM

I think you should buy a nice handsaw and practice, it’s not as hard to cut them as think

View Andre's profile

Andre

1488 posts in 1639 days


#7 posted 12-01-2017 03:45 PM

Lee Valley sells a Dovetail saw and guide kit, add a chisel or two and practice!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5456 posts in 2647 days


#8 posted 12-01-2017 05:18 PM

I have the Akeda, Leigh 18” Super Jig, and the PC 4210.

My favorite is the Akeda by a landslide.

The Leigh is really cheaply made in terms of side stops and clamps that are flimsy. The e bushing system is Leighs Achilles heel, and needs to go.

The PC was my first jig and it’s actually pretty good. Sturdy enough to get the job done at a reasonable price point. It will make snug fitting joints time after time. Get the 4212 if you want to add the ability to do through dovetails. Otherwise save some money and get the 4210 which does HB dovetails only.

Have fun with it.

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

View PPK's profile

PPK

865 posts in 643 days


#9 posted 12-01-2017 07:35 PM

+1 for the Porter Cable. It’s very easy to use in my opinion. I have the one that does both half blind and through dovetails. Must be the 4212, based on what Willie said above ^. Someday I’ll be big and do handcut dovetails, but for now, just gimme some baltic birch ply and a PC dovetail jig, and I’ll crank out some drawers for you!! :-P

-- Pete

View John_H's profile

John_H

58 posts in 1539 days


#10 posted 12-01-2017 07:55 PM

Porter Cable had two main dovetail jigs that I am aware of

The Omni Jig is a beast and is no longer made. I have one, works great once you get it dialed in and has great dust collection. You may be able to find one used somewhere

They are currently making this jig, the 4216 – and I have no experience with it

https://www.amazon.com/PORTER-CABLE-4216-Super-Jig-Dovetail/dp/B000HGL59M/ref=pd_lpo_vtph_469_bs_tr_t_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=XC25655YNJGTMNRVK4TB

View Markmh1's profile

Markmh1

62 posts in 277 days


#11 posted 12-01-2017 10:11 PM

I have the porter cable 4216. Once set up, it does not hold settings reliably. On my jig, the horizontal and vertical clamping surfaces are not at 90 degrees to one another.
Knowing what I know today, I would not buy it again.
If you read reviews on it, the reviews usually include the words “For the money”.

I have been using a Keller jig. This has been working very well for me. It is repeatable and simple to use and set up. I would buy this again. The downside is, it only does through dovetails.

As far as your budget is concerned, I would keep an eye on e-pay. There seems to be Leigh jigs there frequently. I found a Super 12 with the vacuum and router support for a little less than $200. The cutters included weren’t in pristine condition,but still usable.

I have not used this yet, it seems I chicken out and use the Keller.

Good luck on your decision.

Mark

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

31 posts in 104 days


#12 posted 12-01-2017 10:39 PM

I looked at this for months. Finally just decided to buy an Incra jig and do it on my table saw.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3629 posts in 2142 days


#13 posted 12-01-2017 10:43 PM

Depend on what you want to do and how much you want to spend. I have a Leigh Jig because I like versatility. To ad to that versatility I bought a couple of Liegh’s optional templates. I believe leigh is the most versatile on out there.

There are a few good jigs around depending on what kind of dovetails you want to cut.

I’ve heard a lot of good thing about the PC but frankly to say anything else is a cheap clone is BS.

I forget to put this link in. Its a video of dovetail jigs done by Fine WoodWorking

http://www.finewoodworking.com/2006/10/15/top-picks-in-dovetail-jigs

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4407 posts in 3575 days


#14 posted 12-01-2017 10:50 PM

The Leigh is a great jig – -and was pricey.

No complaints about performance, but for how often I use it.... it wasn’t worth it.

If I just had a couple drawers for nightstands (I am picturing 1 3 inch tall drawer in each one)

I would in this order:

(1) borrow a jig… maybe even talk to the High School Shop teacher.
(2) hand cut them….
(3) buy a cheapie jig like this: https://www.ebay.com/i/253108138518?chn=ps

or find a good one on Craigs list

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

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

3629 posts in 2142 days


#15 posted 12-01-2017 11:31 PM



The Leigh is a great jig – -and was pricey.

No complaints about performance, but for how often I use it.... it wasn t worth it.

If I just had a couple drawers for nightstands (I am picturing 1 3 inch tall drawer in each one)

I would in this order:

(1) borrow a jig… maybe even talk to the High School Shop teacher.
(2) hand cut them….
(3) buy a cheapie jig like this: https://www.ebay.com/i/253108138518?chn=ps

or find a good one on Craigs list

- DrDirt


I don’t use mine that often any more either. My takes is, it’s always there when I want it and considering Ive had it 25 years or more, it cost very little in the long run and I’ll never have to buy another one. I suspect it would be easy to sell if I ever wanted too

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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