dovetail jig

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Forum topic by pommy posted 05-22-2008 10:24 PM 1353 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3932 days

05-22-2008 10:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jig

Guys im looking at bying a new dovetail jig and was wondering what you thought is the best or worst out there trend is the only make i really know so if there are different models and makes you can surgest all advise greatly welcomed

thanks guys

andy aka pommy

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

11 replies so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4008 days

#1 posted 05-22-2008 10:53 PM

I did a lot of research several months ago. I came to the conclusion that Leigh makes some of the most versatile, best constructed jigs on the market. I purchased the Leigh Super 18 jig. I have not used it extensively, but I have been pleased so far. I like the ability to manually space the dovetails. It gives it more of a hand cut look.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View benhasajeep's profile


30 posts in 3910 days

#2 posted 05-22-2008 10:53 PM

Really deppends on what you want to do. I have the PC 4212 and it works for me so far. If money was no object I would get the new Omnijig though. The Omnijig and Leigh allow more custom looking work. The 4212 and similar looking jigs you are limited to the jigs templates for cutting. But there is alot you can do with them. Check out Porter Cables site and you can download the 4212 manual and I recommend downloading their “advanced” manual as well. Will give you a good idea of what that style of jig can do (lots of similar type of jigs by different companies).

-- Ben, Living the good life in Maine now (almost, just need to retire in 2 decades time)

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4410 days

#3 posted 05-22-2008 11:04 PM

I checked them all out and although the Leigh and others are a little more versitile, I picked the Porter Cable. I think it’s much easier to use and produces very good results. Not much of a learning curve either. I was up and running in less than an hour. Now, it only takes a few minutes.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4229 days

#4 posted 05-22-2008 11:38 PM

I have had the Leigh 24” model and like it a lot. There is a learning curve but it comes with a good book and video. I go step by step through the book almost everytime I use it just to be safe.

A non-adjustable jig is just that, but not much of a learning curve.

It all depends on what you are looking for.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4009 days

#5 posted 05-23-2008 12:17 PM

i have a 24” Leigh and i love it! the omnijig is nice to but it costs a lot more. the 24” Leigh costs 500$ the omnijig 600$. i would say if money is an issue the best bet would be to check out Leighs superjig line. they are less expensive but just as good.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4134 days

#6 posted 05-23-2008 01:42 PM

I recently borrowed the 24” omni jig by PC. In the end it produced half blind doves but

shoving the sides into the jig requires majical abilities…....I used a foot to hold one piece in place, then ackwardly tried to clamp the two sides. maybe I missed a trick but I found it difficult and time consuming.

Calibrating the bolts so that the cam in the roller bar which clamps the wood in place was also time consuming and after a few drawers it had to be “tweaked” again. Sometimes the pieces would move and the whole drawer was “toast”.

The allan screws that hold the part, that determines the offset from drawer side to drawer front are impossible to get at when the parts are clamped down. When you remove the parts to adjst the stops the allan screw tends to move the stop when you tighten it….....why couldnt they put some kind of gear there.

because the dovetails are uniformly spaced it makes it almost impossible to place the bottom of the drawer in without busting off a tail.

many moons ago I had a liegh jig and loved it but the X thought she could get better use from it by selling it. I liked the liegh and roughly its the same $$$$ as the omni

I’m glad my friend let me borrow it but if I were in the market for one, I’m not sold on that.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4040 days

#7 posted 05-23-2008 01:52 PM

I have a leigh 24” and love it. I recently added teh new dust management system to it and now i love it even more.

Porter cable missed the boat with the omni-jig. I know two people who tried and returned it. You have to buy so much extra crap to make it work and it is hard to use.

Now if you dont need adjustable spacing in your dovetails, the regular porter cable jig works well. There are also several other simple dovetail machines that work well.

-- making sawdust....

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 4116 days

#8 posted 05-23-2008 03:04 PM


You might be interested in looking at this post I made this morning here on Lumberjocks. I agree with what others have already said. The Leigh dovetail jigs have nice features – some feel they have a steep learning curve, while others think the documentation is superb and smooths that curve.

Disclosure: Leigh Industries is one of my blog sponsors. However, those of you familiar with my work know I used the Leigh jigs a long time before Leigh became my sponsor.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

View gbvinc's profile


629 posts in 4187 days

#9 posted 05-23-2008 04:06 PM

Great advice from everbody, as usual. Depending upon your needs, you might also check out the Incra Incremental Positioning Jig. Makes great dovetails and some pretty cool double dovetails.

View bobdurnell's profile


317 posts in 4138 days

#10 posted 05-23-2008 05:27 PM

pommy… this is always a good question. I don’t profess to be a dovetailer, but I have to admit that simplicity is my way. As I have posted before when someone asked the big question, what dovetail devise should I buy? I put in my two cents and say Keller dovetail jig. The journeyman model 1500 is by far the least costly and the simplest to use, however it only makes through dovetails. I hope this helps your decision.

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View davidtheboxmaker's profile


373 posts in 4046 days

#11 posted 05-26-2008 01:07 PM

Hi Andy
It does depend on what you intend to make.
I concentrate mainly on boxes – 8” x 12” is a large box for me.
I bought the Gifkin Jig which produces through dovetails and finger joints. When I bought it, it only produced the through dovetails.
It is easy to set up, and is ideal for the small boxes that I like to make. Roger Gifkin who developed the jig is a fellow boxmaker, and you can buy a couple of his booklets that give plans for various boxes using his jig.
Recently I’ve bought the Incra Jig as I want to produce boxes with a range of different joints. I’ve found this straightforward to use and the versatility is immense. I’m going to make a new router table, then I’ll be more fully exploring the potential of the Incra.
You’ll find both the Gifkin and Incra jigs on the web.

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