First impressions on the PC dovetail jig, and a little advice.

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Forum topic by Whiskers posted 07-09-2013 09:19 AM 1267 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 2232 days

07-09-2013 09:19 AM

I bought the 4216 version of this when Amazon had marked it down at a really good price. Watched it forever it seems til it came in at a price to bite on. When I got it it seemed really solid, but I didn’t have everything I needed to use it. LOL, like a decent router. That’s changed and let me tell you my story of how things went for a total novice.

First I read all the instructions and looked at all the stuff that comes with it and I admit, I was like many others I seen post here and on sawmillcreek about this critter. You read the instructions and your are like, What?, Huh?, Stick my what were? Is That even possible?

Found some good advice suggesting to download the PC videos demonstrating the device here and on sawmillcreek but unfortunately all the links were dead. The videos do exist still though so find them if your trying to figure this thing out. Sorry I didn’t mark them and can’t post them here. They are marketing videos, not how to, but seeing the thing in use will make the instructions make sense. There also a lot of u-tube stuff out thee. Watch the videos to get a basic understanding of how the thing works and than the instructions will make a little sense.

Now the next thing is step trough the instructions, and do what they say. It now makes some sense. For material might I make a suggestion. On a trip to my local lumber yard, the guy there and me kind of hit it off, and he mentioned one day they have these 3×1x24 boards that are stickers tween the other stock. They normally throw these away, but some of them actually look quite good if you have small projects. I commented he was right and even the rough stuff might be useful as backer boards to prevent routers from tearing out etc. He filled the floor board of one side of my backseat of my car with these sticker boards for free. These were great playing with this tool.

I picked out a couple sticker boards and laid out the instructions and got to work. Still confused but I did my best.

Pass 1: Total disaster! Didn’t get the clamping mech right and the top board shifted making a total mess.
A quick trip to the mite saw to chop out the failed dovetails.

Pass 2: Same board. Not so good, Lot wrong, Basically it was bad routing technique cause I’m not used to using routers and bushings etc. Back to the miter saw.

Pass 3: Hey, there is hope, I got ipins and tails, but they don’t align, and the depth everything don’t work.

Pass 4: Eureka! I get it now. That what this thingy is for, the top board goes in this way, not that, duh!
Try again and now the pins and tails align perfectly. It not right yet, according to the instructions I need to make small adjustments to bit depth on the router and the template, about 1/16 of a inch to each to make it perfect, but it is a realizable goal.

I’m so happy and it late and I’m not going to actually do that tonight, but I hope anyone who gets one of these things and is intimidated by it like me reads this and is inspired. Get a couple pieces of sticker wood that is free and watch the videos and just jump in and futze through it. Now that I have fought through this process the PC dove tail jig is actually a very easy tool to use. Although I haven’t actually made a good joint with it yet, I know once the alignment process is complete I can whip through multiple joints with perfect precision and repeatability.

This is a great tool!

6 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2243 days

#1 posted 07-09-2013 09:32 AM

There are a couple of reviews on LJ about the PC 4216. I bought it just for the mini template, which didn’t work for me. If you’ve never used a jig like it before then it can be tricky at first. To keep the pieces from sliding I glued some sandpaper to the bottom of the top and front clamping pieces. If you’re not going to use it everyday then start a journal. Once you get an exact fit, write down the thickness of the wood and the bit you used and the amount it’s sticking out of the insert. Then next time you’ve got that thickness of wood you can quickly get a “close” starting point for your setup and it shouldn’t take more than 1-2 practice cuts to dial it in.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2782 days

#2 posted 07-09-2013 02:33 PM

Congrats on the jig and thanks for the entertaining story. :-)
I grabbed the 4212 when it was on sale and had a mail in rebate too. I’m very happy with mine.

Make sure you grab the advanced manual, and do a search here on LJ for info about using a 14* bit.

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

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2232 days

#3 posted 07-13-2013 12:01 PM

I followed Joe’s advice and taped some 40 grit sandpaper to the top and front of the jig and it definately is a great idea. Looks ugly as hell, but who cares if it works and helps. Now in my playing the only other big issue I have is the PC jig comes with specific bits they say you “absoulutely must use our bits or we will kill you”. These are cheap steel bits that tend to cut rather ragged. I am still a bit of a novice with a router but I have already accumulated and used a few bits of various quality from Whiteside, MLCS, and these cheap HSS that come with things.

Is there anything in particular I need to watch for when buying a bit to use with these templates and jigs? Can anyone recommend any they specifically have had good luck with in this arrangement especially from Whiteside, MLCS or even Freud? At the moment I’m mostly doing half blind dovetaills.

View kdc68's profile


2691 posts in 2482 days

#4 posted 07-13-2013 12:40 PM

Whiteside and others you mentioned are of good quality…..If your router can accept a 1/2” collet, I’d look into using 1/2” shank bits whenever possible because they produce less chatter and deflection…..follow the recommended degree bit because the templates are tapered to match that degree..

advanced manual

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2782 days

#5 posted 07-13-2013 01:40 PM

Whiteside makes bits specifically for the 4212.

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

View runswithscissors's profile


2897 posts in 2230 days

#6 posted 07-14-2013 05:24 AM

Grizzly makes 1/2” shank dovetail bits. Haven’t tried them on my PC dovetail jig yet, but I would expect them to work.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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