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  • Dovetail jig ?

    What kind of jig do you people use to cut dovetails ?

    Bob

  • #2
    I've used the cheaper Porter Cable (not Omni) and had pretty good luck. Would like to have the more expensive jigs but can't afford them.

    -------Randy
    "Ever Striving, Never Arriving"
    website: http://www.coincutting.com

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    • #3
      I have a Porter Cable 4216 DT jig, which is a deluxe version of their basic 4212 DT jig. It works pretty well for a variety of basic joints. This 4216 package also includes templates for making a couple different size box joints, which is why I bought it. Relatively simple to use, good instructions. You can spend a lot more for ones like Akeda, Leigh, Keller & Omnijig, which have more capacity for doing wider panels and more versatility in custom pin spacing, etc. But the basic PC is a pretty solid value.
      Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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      • #4
        I have used an Incra Jig. Fun to use.
        "All it Takes For the Forces of EVIL to Rule Is For Enough GOOD People To DO NOTHING!"

        Saws: Excaliber 30; Dewalt 788 'Twins', Makita SJ401 (Retired), Grizzly G1012 18" Bandsaw

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        • #5
          I also own a Porter Cable and these are great to make multiple draws. Once you learn to use them, they are worth their weight in gold.

          The only draw back is they always produce machine made joints that look machine made. They are very uniform which is good for draws that folks don't look at all the time. But if your making furniture with exposed joints, these machine made joints are... well... machine made. If you own a table saw, band saw or scroll saw, it's doesn't take an engineering degree to make dovetail joints that are not so uniform... more hand made. Numerous articles have been written on such joints, including some in Scroll Saw magazine.

          This is not saying these jigs are bad. I own a PC jig I use all the time. But if I'm looking for an authentic home made looking joint, I use shop made jigs and techniques. Have fun!
          It's never hot or cold in NH, it's always seasonal!

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          • #6
            I use the scroll saw, with out much luck.... But I don't make things with dovetails. So I am not missing much..


            www.pajarostudiowns.com
            Excalibur EX-21 fanatic
            One of the Chosen few



            "The Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated......I am retired!!!!!!!".

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            • #7
              Thanks for the suggestions so far. I am going to Woodcraft tomorrow and will look at their jigs in person. I have never used a dovetail jig before and am really bad at hand cutting dovetails.

              The Porter Cable jigs seem to be popular everywhere. Can the sizes and spacing be altered with the PC jig ?

              Bob

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              • #8
                I've only used the Leigh. It is very versatile, and its price reflects this. The learning curve is steep, but the manual is one of the best I've ever seen, and the jig comes with an instructional video which is also well done. If your budget allows it you won't go wrong with the Leigh.

                Its been quite a while since I last viewed their site, but I recall they provided some excellent information.

                I'm starting to sound like I sell for them - I don't have any connection to the company, except as a satisfied user!
                Last edited by Frenchy2; 09-16-2011, 09:16 PM. Reason: Spelling corrections

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                • #9
                  Unfortunately, unfortunate only for the cost, the Leigh does indeed look like the jig to do what I want.

                  I want to be able to do standard dovetails for drawers which the Porter Cable would do just fine. What I really want to do though is make a few old fashioned machinists tool boxes with finger joint ( box joint ) edges all the way around, even on the drawers. I need small finger joints for wood as thin as 1/4". The Leigh has a finger joint jig that will do this, at an extra cost of course. ~ $400 for the Super 18 jig and ~ $200 for the extra templates and how much more for special bits and etc ? Too much money. I am wondering if the project is worth it.

                  Bob

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                  • #10
                    Bob - I'm not sure about the PC jig I own (in regards to the model #), but it does have a finger template included. But if the Leigh jig is the one you want, don't buy now. Wait and save your money and I'm sure you won't regret it. Frenchy2 is right "the price reflects it". I've learned the hard way to wait and buy what you want and if you want it bad enough, you will find a way to buy it.

                    Consider this... most of my tools were bought with coffee $. I always brown bagged my lunch but when I wanted a tool, I saved my coffee break $ (about $5 per day for 2 breaks) and threw in an extra $5 per week. For example, I bought a sharpening system I could afford although I wanted a Tormek ($500 + ). The system I bought didn't satisfy my needs so I gave it to one of my 4 sons and saved my coffee money. About 4 months latter, I bought my Tormek and I've been more then happy with it. I saved more along the way to buy more jigs and now I have sharp chisels, knives (kitchen, carving, and more like wood turning tools, planner blades and jointer blades, scissors...) all sharpened professionally. I could even set up a professional sharpening business if I wanted too.

                    Take your time purchasing your tools and don't cheat yourself. You always get what you pay for.
                    It's never hot or cold in NH, it's always seasonal!

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                    • #11
                      Bob:
                      There are much simpler, less expensive ways of milling finger joints using home built jigs to use on a table saw, or router table. For example, check out the Woodsmith magazine site. There are many other sites that will pop up with a Google search. If you want the ultimate finger joint jig, look at: Screw advance box joint jig version 2. As you explore that site you'll find he shows how to "computerize" finger joint making, and also shows a technique for doing dovetails on the bandsaw.

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                      • #12
                        Bob, the PC4216 jig has templates to make both 1/2" and 1/4" box joints. It works well and is relatively easy to set up. I have an ongoing project at church where we make small chests to present during baptisms. The corners are box joints and I bought the PC jig specifically for this need.

                        I built the prototype chest with a shop made box joint jig and cut them on my table saw, with a dado blade. It worked fine for boxes with sides that are no more than 6" or so wide. On wider stock, the incremental error began to show up and the pins didn't line up. I know that is mostly my fault for not having the spacing precise enough, but my point is, that it is kind of difficult to hold the necessary kind of tolerances for making wide pieces, using regular woodworking tools.

                        I wanted accuracy, simplicity and repeatability. The PC4216 gave me all that, so I think I got my money's worth. IF this project is a "one of", then the jig is probably overkill. You can accomplish the same thing other ways. If you intend to make multiples of this kind of project, I think you would be satisfied with the PC.
                        Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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