Leigh Super FMT, or not?

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Forum topic by Rypy posted 08-14-2014 05:09 PM 1147 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1345 days

08-14-2014 05:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig

Hello to all in the know! I am just starting out in fine woodworking, I can build a house, framing, drywall etc, but this is a whole different ball game. I am planning on making external doors, tables, possibly chairs as i get better. So, as a kid, a memory of watchin my old man with his bit and brace, boring out mortises for locks comes to mind. For me, looking at this Leigh Super FMT jig makes me think i could bang a door together in no time, providing the lumber is true and straight, and the jig is set up perfect.

Am i being wise to invest in this jig? Would i be better off starting out buying a drill press?

Tools i have..

Crap ryobi table saw good for nothing
Bench planer
Small circular saw, i use this for cutting a straight edge.

I have given thought to making a jig of some sort, but not into that. Having to buy the accessories for the Leigh jig puts me off making the purchase. Its a lot of money for the whole deal. Festool is money too.

I possibly want to turn this into a business in the end, so i suppose a good investment for starting out may pay off in the long run.

Up to now, my efforts on fine woodwork mostly turn out flawed for one reason or another. A few things have turned out ok, varnishing is improving, cutting straight with good sharp tools i have learned.

Do you people think i am wasting my time?

Future buys would be a band saw, jointer, a real table saw.

I have plenty of space, and want to spend money wisely on all tools.

I built a house with a hammer, c/saw, 18volt dewalt drill.

Any and all advice welcome! Thank you.

6 replies so far

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

914 posts in 2198 days

#1 posted 08-14-2014 05:39 PM

If it were me I would use the money you are willing to spend on the FMT and put toward a good cabinet saw. If one keeps ones eye out older machines pop up in the papers, Craig’s List, etc. I have never built a door but I thinks mortises could be done with a router or chopped by hand. The tenons can be done on a table saw.
I have looked at the FMT but it is too costly. If, however, I cut MT a lot I might have another thought about it. A wood worker told me a long time ago to get the following items & get the best you can: cabinet saw, band saw, router, #5 jack plane, block plane and a good set of chisels. They don’t have to be new or purchased all at once. This advice has served me well.
Good luck.

-- Jerry

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2777 days

#2 posted 08-14-2014 05:46 PM

Well building furniture and exterior doors requires straight lumber so I would start with a jointer and good tablesaw (large contractor saw with cast iron top will do). Then add your specialty tools. For me, I use a dado blade to cut tenons, and a hollow chisel mortiser. I like the look of tradional square through tenons.
If you don’t need through tenons, consider the Domino or FMT.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Loren's profile


10252 posts in 3612 days

#3 posted 08-14-2014 06:03 PM

You need a jointer.

I’ll say hold off on the fancy router jigs. Find yourself
a solid table saw with a standard miter slot configuration
and get a Delta 1172 tenon jig.

Your mortises can be cut with a plunge router
or by other means.

Chairmaking may involve all kinds of joinery challenges
an FMT won’t help you with. It depends how ambitious
you are. I make chairs and a lot of the tricky joinery
comes down to hand tool skills. If you want to
buy an FMT and design your chairs around the
limitations of the tool, that’s fine.

The FMT is based around a shop-made version
that appeared in Fine Woodworking magazine. The
tool was made by the designer for doing a set
of relatively straightforward Craftsman chairs with
compound angled tenons on the side rails.
Another, much simpler, shop made jig for cutting
compound angled chair tenons is described in
Jeff Miller’s book on chair making.

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

4949 posts in 2457 days

#4 posted 08-14-2014 06:08 PM

I have an FMT and love it! Even so, I wouldn’t suggest you buy one at this stage of your woodworking effort. I would put most of the stationary tools you listed ahead of the FMT, and quite a bit of other stuff as well. Most particularly a table saw, starting there with a good one is going to give you a leg up on the work you want to do.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Rypy's profile


2 posts in 1345 days

#5 posted 08-14-2014 10:00 PM

Thanks folks, really appreciated!

I´d love a stint in a proper workshop to see how its done from a master. I realise the table saw is a necessity. Jointer a luxury, i dont fancy hand planes but find them satisfying to use.

I am trying to save myself time by using a jig for something which has to be pretty accurate. I seem to end up making a mess with chisels now and again due to me trying to be perfect. The idea of setting a jig up, then buzzin it with the router seems logical. Price is about the only thing against it, but if it lasts it aint so bad.

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

4949 posts in 2457 days

#6 posted 08-15-2014 01:07 PM

The FMT provides dead nuts M&T joints, but the wood has to be otherwise milled quite accurately (hence the need for the other tools first). About the most difficult thing is getting the router initially installed; it’s a little easier if you have a router that can be dedicated to the FMT, then you don’t have to repeat the setup every time you use it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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