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need craftsmen dovetail jig help

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Forum topic by Toddmc posted 1898 days ago 4403 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Toddmc

30 posts in 1973 days


1898 days ago

I am making drawers for a pair of night stands I just built and my next project is a 9 drawer dresser. I currently have a craftsman 12” dovetail jig. I know craftsmen is terrible quality especially in this jig but it was given to me for free from a friend so the price was unbeatable. I was wondering if anyone else has this jig.

The instruction manual says it should be 17/32 from the router base. This height is unachievable because when I adjust the bit height it comes in contact with the guide collar. My idea was to grind away on the dovetail bit until I can lower the bit into the collar to the proper depth. I wanted to know what others have done to solve this problem and if grinding/modifying a router bit is a good idea. I read the reviews on the sears website and many others have the same problem but it does not say how they solved it (most just returned the jig). The bit that the manual calls for is obsolete so it is no longer sold and sears said that any ole router bit should work (which is obviously not true). Maybe I should be using a dovetail bit with a different angle, perhaps an 8 degree bit?


15 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

9954 posts in 2359 days


#1 posted 1898 days ago

I’m not sure if this will work, but could the bit be seated less deeply into the collet. You might be able to gain about 1/4”. Or, you could shorten the guide collar, slightly, by cutting it with a hack saw.

I would not grind anything off of the bit. It might weaken the carbide connection or make the bit out of balance.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112001 posts in 2181 days


#2 posted 1898 days ago

These jigs are very difficult to get set up . If possible replace it or even make another Jig I believe I saw a home made one a LJer had made.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/16652

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2625 days


#3 posted 1898 days ago

You don’t mention what “it” is?
Do you have a picture of the jig as I don’t have a clue what model you are refering to.
17/32” dosen’t relate to anything?
It has to be from somewhere to somewhere.

Could you link your request to a website showing the jig?

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Toddmc's profile

Toddmc

30 posts in 1973 days


#4 posted 1898 days ago

here is the jig I am talking about.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00902579000P?keyword=dovetail

the 17/32” is the “recommended height of the bit in referance to the base.

The main problem is that if I lower the bit it cuts into the guide collar. I do not see any way to make the jig work besides grinding on the dovetail bit to make it seat further into the collor (that way the bit will not cut into the collar).
I have tried shortening the guide collar (adding washers to make the collar rife lower in the router) but then the collar does not ride in the dovetail template correctly and makes the jopints so loose they are completly unusable.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2625 days


#5 posted 1898 days ago

If you are referring to the comb as the guide bar I can see two wing nuts to adjust the height of this part.
Normally these types of jigs are built to be used with 3/4” thick lumber.
Raising the comb so that the lumber fits under it should take care of positioning the bit. It should cut about 17/32” thru the front lumber and the same with the peice that is horizontal. ( half blind joint)
These jigs are notoriusly hard to work with so I suggest you practice lots and out of earshot of little children.

You may want to get a Dovetail saw and a couple of chisels if you want to learn how it’s done and do it more quickly. ( search dovetails here and you shouldget lots of hits)
Unless you are doing a production run even the more expensive ones are time conlsuming to set up.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View olddutchman's profile

olddutchman

187 posts in 2539 days


#6 posted 1898 days ago

I can not find the reference, however i believe that you can downlosd manuals from sears parts. There is also a place that has all kinds of manuals. Do a search on Yahoo for Craftsman parts manuals
I think that yu can try this:http://www.old-woodworking-tools.net/craftsman-tool-manuals.html

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

View LesB's profile

LesB

1060 posts in 2047 days


#7 posted 1898 days ago

Save yourself a lot of hassle and grief. Scrap the Craftsman; I did a long time ago. Look into the Porter Cable jig or if you have a bunch of extra cash laying around and want a great jig get the 24” Leigh. It does every thing but super thin dovetails. The learning curve is a bit steep but worth it to do great machine cut dovetails.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2625 days


#8 posted 1898 days ago

Les B is on the right track. I didn’t mention my Leigh 24” jig because I figured youwer not into that kind of investment.
p.s. Learn to cut them by hand first.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Toddmc's profile

Toddmc

30 posts in 1973 days


#9 posted 1897 days ago

I tried to get the jig to work again last night but I gave up after an hour or two. I like to spend my time in the woodshop working with wood not setting up tools. I plan on doing 11 drawers and figure that by the time I get this thing working I could have cut them all by hand. I will try and grind down the collar when I finish the dresser as a “one last try”. If that dies not work I will probably toss it into the trash. If I had actually paid money for that jig I would be upset over it. The hand cut dovetails sound good to me. I have a set of chisels but despretly need some sharpening stones. If anyone is selling some at a good price let me know.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2625 days


#10 posted 1897 days ago

Search on this site for Scary Sharp and you will see a low cost method of sharpening that will fit your budget and give a great edge.
It uses sandpaper, contact glue and glass slabs with an inexpensive blade guide.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1840 posts in 2165 days


#11 posted 1897 days ago

I bought a Porter Cable 4212 dovetail jig (also got a 4215 miniature dovetail/bo joint template a few weeks ago. My first attempt at making box joints with it went great. I was able to fine tune the adjustments to make perfect joints in 2 tries. For me, that is a major accomplishment. The instruction manual was ok, but there is a supplemental manual that can be downloaded that is really good.

There are also some great posts and links on this site that helped a lot.

-- Joe

View northwoodsman's profile

northwoodsman

227 posts in 2350 days


#12 posted 1897 days ago

Grind, sand or file down your guide bushing collar. They can be purchased in various sizes (depths). I purchased a PC set several years ago and they have a 1/4” and a 1/8” tall collar for each size. Also make sure that you have the correct diameter collar for the specific bit that you are using.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View Elaine's profile

Elaine

113 posts in 2227 days


#13 posted 1897 days ago

I had this same jig -it’s somewhere in the cellar…Bought a 24” PC which is very good, and now I cut them by hand. I enjoy it more. I enjoy not having high pitched noises blocking out my Supertramp or The Doors…The Craftsman jig is why I save and save and save to get something worth using.

View Toddmc's profile

Toddmc

30 posts in 1973 days


#14 posted 1897 days ago

It is a sad state for the craftsman line of tools when a jig that costs a little over a hundred dollars does not even work.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2625 days


#15 posted 1897 days ago

I personally make a habit of never buying my tools from stores that sell ladies undergarments. <g>

Your mileage may vary.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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