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Forum topic by AandCstyle posted 01-25-2018 12:11 AM 411 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AandCstyle

2978 posts in 2163 days


01-25-2018 12:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig leigh d4 dove tail jig

I bought and successfully used a D4 years ago. Now, I can’t figure out what I am doing incorrectly. Please do not suggest that I hand cut the dovetails because I have tried that with abysmal results. I could understand if all the gaps were consistent, but I don’t understand why some are tight and others aren’t. The guides on the left side are square and aligned properly. My test pieces are square and uniform in thickness. Any suggestions???

This is my “best” result thus far:

Thanks for any guidance!

-- Art


18 replies so far

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Woodmaster1

894 posts in 2493 days


#1 posted 01-25-2018 12:23 AM

If your using the guide bushing that comes with it could be a problem. I tried the bushing with poor results went to a regular bushing my issues went away on first try. Good luck on finding a solution to your problem.

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pintodeluxe

5568 posts in 2719 days


#2 posted 01-25-2018 12:29 AM

I can tell you about my experience with the Leigh stuff. I’m not sure it will solve your problem, but I can sympathize with your frustration. I don’t have the D4, but rather the Super 18 Jig. Yours is the cream of the crop, and mine is entry level.

I occasionally get irregular spacing, and actually two different things can cause that on the Leigh system.

1. One or more of your guide fingers are tweaking slightly as you tighten them down.

2. The e-bushing is loose and rotating in the sub-base of your router. Rotating the router as you work would cause similar inconsistent gaps (the e-bush is elliptical).

The solution to #1 above is to hold light finger pressure on the guide finger as you tighten the screw. Just snug it up, don’t crank it down.

The solution to #2 is to tighten the guide bushing securely, and make sure to keep the same side of the router pointing forward at all times. I use an o-ring between the guide bushing nut and the router sub-base. It keeps the nut from loosening up as you work.

Now, I even have a fancy F18 template for finger joints on my Leigh. It is a one-piece aluminum template that is gorgeous to look at, and gleams in the shop lights. That said, it has never made consistent finger joints for me. I can get some fingers tight on any given joint, but not all.

Basically I think the e-bush is a major weakness in the design. They have a high-end bushing system for the D4 that is optional, but it adds $$ to a jig that is already $$$$. It is tapered rather than being elliptical, and adjusts up and down.

I switched to the Akeda and have been much happier.
I hope you can get it working right again, after all it worked well for you at one time, right?

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

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Rich

2289 posts in 495 days


#3 posted 01-25-2018 12:36 AM

I second the template guide bushing. I’d take it it out and use whatever means you have to ensure the plate is properly centered. The Porter Cable collet is tapered for doing that, or you can pick up a cone. Then put the bushing back on and give it another go. When I use my Leigh (original D4 with standard bushing), I make sure to keep the router facing the same way for all of the cuts. It’s tempting to roll through the cuts, but I think that doing so would make any error in the centering of the guide bushing more of a factor.

They also make centering guides that work with the guide bushing in place, which is probably better. I haven’t had any problem just screwing it in once I centered my plate, so hard to say.

Edit: I just read Willie’s post. I wrote mine assuming you are using a standard bushing since you said yours was an older model like mine. I’m glad he agrees about keeping the router straight, I always felt it was a problem to rotate it through the cut, but it’s nice to hear it from another source.

I’ve considered upgrading mine to the new finger style that cuts half-blind pins and tails in one pass and the tapered bushing. Since I get solid results with the setup I have, I haven’t felt any urgency to spend the money.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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pintodeluxe

5568 posts in 2719 days


#4 posted 01-25-2018 12:41 AM

Centering the guide bushing is a good idea, but unfortunately it won’t solve the current problem.

An off-center sub-base (and therefore off-center guide bushing) will cause the drawer sides to be offset slightly from the drawer front, but it shouldn’t cause one pin to be tight and the next one to be loose.

Now… offset + a rotating router technique would magnify the error and cause your problem. I’m assuming you’re keeping the router in one position as you rout, in which case it won’t fix the issue.

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

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Rich

2289 posts in 495 days


#5 posted 01-25-2018 12:43 AM


Centering the guide bushing is a good idea, but unfortunately it won t solve the current problem.

An off-center sub-base (and therefore off-center guide bushing) will cause the drawer sides to be offset slightly from the front, but it shouldn t cause one pin to be tight and the next one to be loose.

- pintodeluxe

But it would if he’s rotating the router, right? That would cause some cuts to be wider than others.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Rich

2289 posts in 495 days


#6 posted 01-25-2018 12:45 AM

lol, I was answering while you edited your post. It sounds like we agree though.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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pintodeluxe

5568 posts in 2719 days


#7 posted 01-25-2018 12:45 AM

Yep.

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

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

5247 posts in 2171 days


#8 posted 01-25-2018 12:57 AM

Art, like you I bought a Leigh jig decades ago and it sat dormant until I put it to work a couple of years ago. One thing I can tell you is that it is a very unforgiving tool! I spent an entire month, 30+ days getting to where I could use it correctly. I have no idea about the amount of lumber I burnt up. I even went so far as to use adhesive sandpaper on the bearing surfaces so the wood didn’t slip. From what I see you’ve got a depth of cut issue. Please forgive me if I can’t explain exactly what your doing wrong. I’ve been there and almost threw the jig out the window. Like I said it’s a very unforgiving jig. Your adjustments have to exactly correct. That means on the jig and the router. One other thing I’ve learned and will correct in the future is that I will have 2 routers set to the precise depth of cut. One for pins and one for tails. Using one router and switching bits leaves to much opportunity for error.
The up side is once you get it dialed in, the skies the limit. I found Leigh tech services a bit condescending and irritating. They were much like computer nerds. You either know it or you don’t. Come back when your smarter!
I might be a little critical. But that was how I felt after my conversations with them. In the future I’ll not be bothering them again!

Here’s another observation. When you run your router against the fingers. Make certain, damn certain that you maintain the exact same angle of attack. That means if you keep the router cutting at the exact same angle to the front of the jig. Don’t roll the router around the fingers. Straight in and straight out.

I’ve fought, struggled and made it work for me. PM me if I can help you in anyway.

I’ve got some dressers to build this next year. I’m going to put my D4 work again. once it’s mastered it’s a great tool. The problem is getting from here to there!

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EarlS

744 posts in 2254 days


#9 posted 01-25-2018 01:49 AM

Art,

I agree with the previous comments. I thought of one other thing to check based on my experience. I’ve had problems with the left side stop under the fingers not being perpendicular to the bottom of the fingers so when you slide the board in and clamp it down the edge of the board isn’t flush with the bottom side of the fingers. I use a LED flashlight to check to make sure the side of the board is against the stop and the board is flush against the fingers.

Hopefully my inept description makes some sense.

If I think about it tomorrow, I will pull out the jig and get a couple pics to post.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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AandCstyle

2978 posts in 2163 days


#10 posted 01-25-2018 02:06 AM

Thanks for all the helpful comments. I will work through the list Friday (tomorrow is booked solid with non-woodworking). I know that I was rotating the router so that will be high on my priority list to check. I am using a Freud bushing so that should be okay, but I will check it to ensure that is is tightly in place and to determine if there is any run out. The fingers may be the issue and I will reseat them-I am often guilty of over tightening things. I carefully checked the alignment of the left side stops before hand, but will double check them tomorrow. I’ll report back. I would prefer to not go the route of 2 dedicated routers.

One final thing, tonight, after routing the dovetails, I set the depth of the straight bit by using the tail cavity as a depth stop. That seems more accurate to me than trying to split the line as Leigh suggests.

-- Art

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Mark

878 posts in 1880 days


#11 posted 01-25-2018 02:41 AM

I’ll tell ya Art. I know you said not to…but I gonna any way :) Hand cut dove tails just ain’t that difficult. Get your self some scraps for practice, and away ya go. Hey I did it! Can’t be any worse than what your going through now. JMTCW

-- Mark

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

2289 posts in 495 days


#12 posted 01-25-2018 05:05 AM

Going back to look at the photo, there is clear evidence that the bit is not centered in the bushing. Notice on the center pin and the one above it how the bottom edge is flattened — that is, it does not follow the angle of the tail. That angle is provided by the fingers on the jig. It is physically impossible for the bit to move at a flatter angle than the jig if the distance between the bit and the outer diameter of the bushing is constant. Therefore, it can only be explained by the bit being off center such that rotating the router (which Art said he did) puts it in a position where the distance from the OD of the bushing to the bit is smaller.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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CampD

1628 posts in 3392 days


#13 posted 01-25-2018 03:31 PM

I think your plate is not centered.
I’ve gone through so much frustration trying to set it up correct, I’d give up, go back and give up again.
You mentioned that you didn’t want to do two dedicated routers but that’s been my only solution so far as to getting repeatable cuts, once I got them dialed-in they’ve been good.
One other thing to mention, maybe one of the fingers may have gotten nicked, that’ll throw them off.

-- Doug...

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AandCstyle

2978 posts in 2163 days


#14 posted 01-25-2018 10:08 PM

Thanks, again, for all the input. I will try again tomorrow, but if these suggestions work for me, the drawers will not have DTs.

-- Art

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AandCstyle

2978 posts in 2163 days


#15 posted 01-26-2018 05:35 PM

There is joy in my life! Willie’s suggestion #1 in the second post of this thread seems to have done the trick. I measured the straight edges between the sides of the fingers with a caliper and kept adjusting them until they were within a few thousands of an inch of being parallel and that cured the problem. They aren’t perfect because I think the boards cupped a bit and I need to increase the depth of the router cut a skosh, but I think with a couple more practice runs, I will be good to go. :)

Thanks to all that offered suggestions, even Mark! haha

-- Art

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

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