Porter Cable 4216 Dovetail jig

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Forum topic by coloradoclimber posted 04-09-2007 06:14 AM 9701 views 2 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 4271 days

04-09-2007 06:14 AM

If you’ve read the 2 bits on router bits thread you know I broke open my new PC DT jig this weekend. I got the 4216. It’s the 4212 with the 4215 template for making 1/4 inch DTs and finger joints.

I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve invested a couple half days playing with it and so far I’ve found it fast to setup and easy to use. I’ve cut half blind dt, through dt, sliding dt, and finger joints on it. In terms of out of the box to first dt, less than 30 minutes. Additional time to first reasonably tight fitting dt, another 10 minutes. It turns out you have to fiddle with setting bit depth and template position to get a good tight joint. But it’s pretty straightforward and PC scribed the instructions for adjusting the joint right into the template.

I started with sliding DTs. I tried a couple different sizes, width and depth. Cutting the joint was easy but I did have to fiddle with the settings to get a reasonably tight joint.

Next I tried half blind DT. It took three tries but on the third try I had an excellent joint. Tight, clean, and spot on edge to edge match up. I was very pleased with results.

Note here, if you’ve read the other thread on router bits this where I comment about using high quality bits. I tried a few different bits and there is a notable difference in the ease and quality of cut between an el-cheapo bit and a high end name brand bit. I tried some cheap box set brand new carbide bits made in china and struggled to get really crisp results. I switched to a brand new Whiteside dt bit and the difference in quality of cut and joint were significant. If you use this jig for joinery (which, I assume, is what you bought it for) get quality bits that you reserve just for cutting joints.

I switched the template to through dovetails. I only cut one, it came out ok, the cut was clean but not as tight as I wanted. I’m sure I could have adjusted the bit or the template and gotten a very nice joint but that was the end of the first session and I was done for the day. I just wanted to set up the jig and try a through dt, just to see how it would work. For no adjustment or tweaking the joint came out pretty good, just not as tight as I’m sure I could get.

The next day I focused completely on 1/4 finger joints. This was journey of discovery. Read my post in the 2 bits on router bits thread for the whole story. The bottom line ended up being, use a 1/4 HSS up cut spiral bit and you can get excellent results. Try to use a cheap 1/4 carbide straight bit and you’ll waste hours trying to figure out how to overcome all the tearout. I cut a couple dozen joints today and I never could get a good clean cut with a cheap carbide bit. I eventually tried the spiral bit and cuts are great, the joints are tight, with near zero tear out.

Overall I’m very happy with this jig. It was fast to setup, easy to use, and it allowed a weekend warrior like myself to produce some tight clean joints pretty quickly. It wasn’t cheap, a couple hundred bucks for the jig. And I’ll probably spend another $50 to $80 getting some high end bits I’ll dedicate to joinery.

That’s my 2 cents so far. And since this is my new toy I’m interested in anyone else’s take or stories on this jig.

8 replies so far

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4364 days

#1 posted 04-09-2007 07:08 PM

Nice write up CC. Glad your experience went well. I bet we will see a lot more dovetail projects from you soon.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4297 days

#2 posted 04-09-2007 08:18 PM

Hey, CC. I put a referring link to this topic in my most recent response on my thread. (I had a few questions in that response, too.)

Here is a link directly to ColoradoClimber’s post mentioned above in the 2 bits on router bits forum.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View TaylorML's profile


10 posts in 1893 days

#3 posted 11-25-2016 05:15 AM


I am looking to get a dovetail jig myself and had stumbled upon the Leigh D4R Pro online. Not sure I want to spend that much money, so just curious on what brought you to buying the Porter Cable? What other brands had you considered/sought reviews? Thanks for the post and good info. It will certainly weigh into my decision.


View muleskinner's profile


918 posts in 2639 days

#4 posted 11-25-2016 06:00 AM

ColoradoClimber, a few months ago I ran across this supplement to the user manual that comes with the jig. It was a revelation and really expands the utility of the tool, especially the 12” limitation.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View johnstoneb's profile


3060 posts in 2375 days

#5 posted 11-25-2016 01:50 PM

Good review. I bought the 4212 2 years ago then purchased the other two plates and have had the same experience you have had. It cuts very good dovetails with a fairly quick setup once you learn how to fiddle with it. The manual that comes with it is very good.
I found with box joints that the clearance between the plate fingers and the router bushing just left me with a good joint but a tad bit looser than I liked. I can make a jig and cut box joints quicker and tighter on my router table. I don’t use the PC for box joints any more.

Here is another address for the supplemental manual. It really expands the capability of the PC.

I bought the PC on price alone. It was on sale at Woodcraft at the time. I have been very happy with it.

The Leigh gives you more flexibility in uneven or different spacing on dovetails. The supplemental manual really opens up the capabilities of the PC. I would buy the PC as a first time user then if I really got into dovetails look at the Leigh.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View TaylorML's profile


10 posts in 1893 days

#6 posted 11-25-2016 05:22 PM

Thanks for the link to the supplemental instruction. That is a game changer for sure. Next, question…are the guide bushing for the bit compatible with the Festool OF 1400. I would hate to buy the PC then have a compatibility issue with my router.


View muleskinner's profile


918 posts in 2639 days

#7 posted 11-25-2016 05:35 PM

Taylor, don’t know about the Festool but I can tell you that the base plate on my Craftsman router has a 1.25 inch opening which accommodates the bushing. Plus a 1.375 inch recess so it sits flush with the base plate. Hope that makes sense to you.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View TaylorML's profile


10 posts in 1893 days

#8 posted 11-26-2016 03:44 AM

So I’ve done the research on the brands that are good to go, but what dovetail bit sizes should I get to get started on basic projects using the Porter Cable 4216? I keep seeing all of these sets that are $200+, but I know that I will only actually use a few sizes, so interested to see what all of your go-to sizes were for the majority of your projects?

Again thanks for the replies and great discussions!


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