What will an HF dovetail jig do/not do?

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Forum topic by Jim55 posted 10-06-2012 03:42 PM 1401 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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168 posts in 2090 days

10-06-2012 03:42 PM

Sorry to bring up yet another HF tool question but, I have read through many threads and not found the answer to my question.
First of all, please never mind the “All HF stuff is crap” type replies. This same jig is sold by others (as are many other HF items) for as much as $100+. I’m on a fixed income and have never used a dovetail jig before. I got one at HF for the reduced price of $29.99 AND they let me use a 20% off coupon too. For that price, I can’t afford to pass it up. When I gain some experience, I can decide whether or not I need something more AND have a better idea of what to look for.

Now, for my specific question; I know this jig is said to do only half blind dovetails. But, other templates are made for this (just not from HF) if I have been correct in what I was looking at. Will this jig do other things like through dovetails and/or box joints with other templates and cutters?

Thanks to all who reply.

8 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2601 days

#1 posted 10-06-2012 04:25 PM

Welcome to LumberJocks Jim55!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3984 days

#2 posted 10-06-2012 04:46 PM

My first DT jig was an old C’man unit that was given to me. It worked reasonably well.
I now own a Porter Cable 4210 that does half blind DTs. Have not added the other guides for thru tails, but might.
Any jig will take some carefull setup and practice.
The HF will work ok if ya don’t push it too hard.
A good router and quality bits go a long way in making successful DTs.


View cutmantom's profile


405 posts in 3059 days

#3 posted 10-06-2012 05:07 PM

check out, i think theirs is similar and they have different templates but may or may not directly attach to your jig, even if it doesn’t you may only have to drill some new holes to mount it. fine tuning on cheaper jigs is the hardest part

View Jim55's profile


168 posts in 2090 days

#4 posted 10-06-2012 08:29 PM

Thanks. So far, I can say a Porter Cable, shop Fox, Woodstock, General International, & Rockler all appear to be the same base machine though there is variation in the template attachment. Some even use the same imagery & description wile others have their own write up with different descriptions of what they can do.
Now Leigh, MLCS, and Hartville Tool jigs seem to be altogether different and independent of China’s base design. As noted a template, if fitting otherwise, can be D&T’d to fit.

Hoping for more definitive input…

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2600 days

#5 posted 10-07-2012 02:09 AM

For the fixed jigs, the PC 4212 is the best of the bunch, and usually the best value. Most jigs at this level are similar but not the same. I got mine for $104 shipped during the past pc rebate sale and don’t regret it one bit, nor do I wish I had gone cheaper. I am on less than a fixed income; my only income is from the crafts I sell occasionally. If I want something, I set my sights on it and save.

I’m a strong believer of buy once, cry once.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 2391 days

#6 posted 10-07-2012 12:44 PM

I have the hartville..4 \20\02..$319. came with everything. two router whiteside bits ..took a while to learn but i got it…


View Jim55's profile


168 posts in 2090 days

#7 posted 10-07-2012 02:34 PM

I Like Hartville Tool. I once lived near Hartsville in Ohio. (Ohio- a… never mind) I noticed in HT’s catalog they offer a large variety of older generation hand tools. Well, Hartsville is a major Amish community and those people demand old world quality in their tools and for a decent value. Any major tool company their has to consider them in their selling program and that’s a good recommendation to me.

Saving for and getting the best you can is a wise course. But no more than I paid for HF’s machine makes it a good value if for little more than a teaching aid and I expect and hope it will be a step up from making dovetails with a coping saw & file.

Now, please remember- I know nothing about the operation of a dovetail machine. I have never touched one or even seen one outside of pictures before this. Getting back to my topic, and please, no more recommendations for other tools right now, I can’t use them yet.

Will the HF dovetail machine accept other templates and do other things than half blind dovetails???

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2600 days

#8 posted 10-07-2012 04:34 PM

Looking at the jig it looks a lot like the rockler jig. If it can accept other templates, I would check with the rockler jig.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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