Choice of dovetail jig

Hi, I am just starting to get into woodworking and have decided to get a dovetail jig. The choice so far is between a Trend DJ300 and a Trend CDJ300.
The specs seem to be the same.
Given the choice, which would you go for?
Rick....
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Rick,
Stick your post in www.ukworkshop.co.uk Woodworking forum only, so you should get an informed answer (no disrespect to UKdiy)
Rgds
Noel
noel dot hegan at virgin dot net
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Have you looked at the Woodrat? It's versatile but a little complex at first - try a web search for info.
Dave S
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wrote:

I looked at one. It's more limited than it appears and not very sturdy. Not cheap for what it is.
.andy
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..snipped

I picked one up at an auction several years ago, in my experience it's pretty versatile and seems sturdy enough but I haven't used it a huge amount. The key seems to be mounting it somewhere sensible but that isn't always possible; I've got mine on the back of a mobile workbench but it's not ideal. They're certainly a bit pricey new.
Dave S
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I have a Leigh and am pretty pleased with the results that I get with it. Depending on what you want to do, it does take a while to set up, but the flexibility is good.
.andy
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wrote:

A slight difference in the price I fear, no ?
I wouldn't be inclined to buy Trend gear. I always think it over priced.
Do Axminster not do an alternative to either of the above ?
Paul Mc Cann
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wrote:

I have the Axminster one. It is an absolute PAIN to set up, oh and one of the eccentric clamp (plastic) bushes broke within days but I've made a replacement in aluminium (how DO people manage without a lathe ???)
Andrew
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Paul Mc Cann wrote:

Be careful about choosing the 50 ones from Axminster screwfix and almost anyone else. The build quality and repeatability is poor. Money saved on the jig will soon be lost in turning wood into scrap.
Yes the Leigh is in a different price league but it is a first class tool. I bought mine secondhand on Ebay much cheaper than new prices. It is cheaper in the US if you are every travelling that far. It does dismantle to make it fit in a suitcase.
Bob
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On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 21:05:18 +0000, Bob Minchin

You do have to look at the specs. carefully, and the Leigh does have a lot more flexibility than the low end products.
I forgot to mention that they also do a very nice finger joint template for it which fits onto the base instead of the dovetail comb assembly and is very easy to use - also producing really nice results..
.andy
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On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 21:05:18 +0000, Bob Minchin
snip

I got mine in Garret Wades along a few other items.I was expecting to be hit with excess baggage allowance but I was saving plenty over what the English importer was asking.
Co-incidentally on that visit to NY I suffered a slipped disc. Spent best part of a week in the hotel room, and I can tell you American television sucks.
Anyway because of the bad back SWMBO decided we should hit JFK good and early to bag an exit seat. We were 2 1/2 hours early. We dragged some poor clerk out to book us on board and he didn't give a s**t about baggage allowance or anything else, just booked the whole caboodle through without as much as a second glance he was so eager to get back to whatever he was doing.
Magic
Paul Mc Cann
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I bought the Axminster one a few months back and am happy with it.
As others have said it take a bit of time to set up but once done it works a treat.
Sean
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Sean Delere wrote:

My axminster one turned out to be quite a bit out of square. I made a small box as a first trial job and when it wa glued up square all the joints gapped. I ended up stripping the jig down to the bent sheet metal base, gluing a 6mm thick mdf sheet on the vertical face and then machining the thing square on my metal milling machine. I'd have sent it back if it had not been many months between buying it and trying it out for real. Maybe mine was a friday afternoon one but the build quality, poor instructions and set/repeatability problems put me off this model completely. The leigh is a joy to use by comparison and can be got second hand for a relatively good price if you look around.
Bob
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Neither. I really don't see dovetail jigs high up the list of things to buy.
What are you making ? Why does it need dovetails ? strength or beauty? What thickness(es) of timber are you going to use ?
IMHO, the dovetail is a joint for things that last a few centuries, so that they still hold together when the glue fails. It's a high quality joint, for high quality work. If you start to look seriously at dovetails, you start to appreciate the quality of really good hand-cut ones. It's hard to cut good dovetails by router, it's impossible to cut the finest shapes, and it requires a sophisticated jig to cut any but the simplest.
So I only use dovetails on the good stuff, and if I use them, I cut them by hand.
For "everyday" work, I might use the router. But it's biscuit jointed butts, lock mitre cutters, drawer lock cutters or a finger joint at most. Only rarely do I set a comb jig up and rout with a dovetail cutter.
If you're spending money on a dovetail jig, then get either a cheap one or a good one. A cheap one has fixed fingers and cuts " '50s style" regular short stubby round-ended dovetails with little hassle. But it's inflexible and rather ugly. A good one has adjustable fingers and you'll use it with two cutters in two passes. Katy or WoodRat are good at this level, although the Katy only works for thick stock.
I barely use my (expensive) Incra. Useless for this sort of jointing - it's a pain to use with any board wider than about 6".
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Rick wrote:

I have a DJ300 (which I bought ages ago before realising places like axminster existed!). Having said that, I actually quite like it. Well enough made and with a good solid feel. It has screw down clamps for fixing the work in place which are very effective but perhaps not as quick as some of the lever types. It could also do with slightly longer threads on the clamps for working on thicker stock.
Personally I prefer the "even" look of the dovetails that this type of jig cuts - but each to his own ;-)
Make sure you have a fine height adjustment on your router if you want to make for easy adjustment of the joint tightness.
I tend to use my one for making drawers - there are quicker ways of doing this with a router - but the dovetail adds a nice finish and gives a very strong joint. You can even find that if you test fit the parts with too much enthusiasm, you will have a job getting them apart again to get the glue in there!
As for cutting the beasties by hand - sod that! I will save that task for people with an ability to saw in a straight line by hand ;-) (unless there is a hand saw dovetail jig one can make or buy?)
--
Cheers,

John.

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On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 02:20:22 +0000, John Rumm
Lee Valley do one. Very simple, quite cheap, and works pretty well. It's a piece of extruded aluminium box with a slopig top surface, covered in slippery plastic and with a magnet underneath.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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