Advice sought - Porter Cable Dovetail jig 1st time use.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Milo posted 10-11-2011 06:37 PM 1673 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3518 days

10-11-2011 06:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question

Hey gang,

Long time no chat… ;)

Trying to get myself back into woodworking after a long absence. Thought I’d jump in with both feet and finally try using my Porter Cable dovetail jig to make some 15” x 15” x 15” boxes for my wife to replace some ratty cane covered ones we’ve had for years.

Can anyone point me at a decent tutorial on using a P.C. dovetail jig? What would be the best dovetail cut to use the first time I try this? I’d love to do a through cut so you can see the dovetail.

I don’t have a jig wide enough to do a 15” glued up board. How do you properly cut two board so the dovetail properly fit together after everything is glued up?

What would be the best thickness to use for floor boxes. 1/2 inch? I’ll be planing down some antique pine board for the boxes.

Thank a lot for the advice.


-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

6 replies so far

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2853 days

#1 posted 10-11-2011 09:26 PM

I’ve had mine for 2.5 years now and have never been able to get it to work right. Took it back to Woodcraft twice to see what might be going on and they have no idea why it won’t cut pins and tails accurately. The aluminum one-pass template for making drawer boxes flexes when you tighten it down. No reply from PC on inquiries about this issue.

All in all it was a waste of money in my opinion. I won’t sell it to someone else because I wouldn’t feel right charging someone money for a great idea but POOR execution of a jig/tool. Now I’m stuck with a $500 setup that won’t work. Very disappointing to say the least.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3760 days

#2 posted 10-12-2011 12:09 AM

There is a supplemental instruction manual that tells how to dovetail boards longer than 12 inches.

I’ve had mine for several years and after taking the time to practice and find out the cause and effect of the various adjustments, found out that it’s not that hard to use.

Here is the link to the supplemental manual:

-- Joe

View RZH's profile


73 posts in 3308 days

#3 posted 10-12-2011 12:45 AM

I use a Leigh jig, but it is probably applicable to your set up. The trick I use to get tight joints on a through dovetail is to set up two routers (one for pins and one for tails). Two routers take some of the frustration out of having to switch between your dovetail and straight bit in the middle of the job. Do practice cuts with boards that are of the same exact thickness as your good pieces. Cut the pins and tails off the scrap and try again until you get the fit your satisfied with. Don’t go to the good stuff until you’re dialed in on the scrap.

-- Ron

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3340 posts in 3308 days

#4 posted 10-12-2011 02:33 AM

As RZH says, exact thickness. Don’t even depend on the dimensioned S4S boards you may have purchased for these boxes. Run every piece through the same thicknessing process, including your scrap pieces used to set the router(s) up. Otherwise, you WILL end up with ugly, loose and/or tight pins and tails. BTDT.

Thanks, ajosephg for the link to the manual! It has more than the standard(?) manual that came with my PC dovetail jig.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3518 days

#5 posted 10-15-2011 07:24 PM


I am planning on using recovered antique pine for the boxes, so I will be planing all the wood down together before I start. Hopefully this will take care you this problem?

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3760 days

#6 posted 10-16-2011 02:32 AM

Milo – That’s how I do it. Make sure you plane a couple extras for practice and screw-ups.

-- Joe

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics