AKEDA Dovetail Jig Closeout Deal

I'm finally getting to putting together a review of my AKEDA dovetail jig and happened to check the price on the WoodCraft site. When I bought it - on a "closeout deal", the jig and the "DC Accessories Kit" was $400. The current "closeout deal" for the same package is now down to $339.99 (don't you just love the 9.99 thing? Would $340 be too steep to buy - but if it's ONLY $339.99 - well hell - give me TWO!).
http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyidD06&mode ήtails
TheJigStore has the same complete jig package - for $329.99. And - if you JUST HAVE TO HAVE a jig that'll do TWENTY FOUR INCH WIDE BOARDS! check out the 24 inch model of the AKEDA.
http://www.thejigstore.com/products.php?typ=akeda_products
If you're considering getting a variable spacing dovetail jig that'll do through and half blind dovetails and box joints - and half blinds in rabbeted/rebated drawer fronts- and sliding dovetails - this Jig and EVERYTHING You Can Stick On It package deal is worth looking into.
The AKEDA is a Third Generation router based dovetail jig sytem, the LEIGH being a Second Generation router based dovetail jig system. It is an extremely well thought out, well designed, well made system that works well and is easy to use (like all dovetail jigs, getting the bits set right DOES require some test cuts, regardless what the ads and brochure say, or imply)
I've put up the pages I'm "almost done with" and will be revising and cleaning things up over the next week or so. But what's up has a LOT of subtle, but important, things about this jig that make it different - and IMHO - better - than ANY other variable spacing dovetail jig out there.
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/AKEDAdtJig/AKEDAdovetailJig1.html
Disclaimer: I have NO connection with AKEDA, any outfit that sells it and paid the going price at the time for the AKEDA I have.
charlie b
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Akeda _should_ be paying you for such a detailed review, Charlie. However, there is an unfortunate aspect of that review. Your timing sucks - I want one and I've already ordered my Valentine's Day gift to myself! ;)
Keep up the good work.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

I hope that some of the details I provided give a person who's looking into getting a dovetail jig some of the Devil's In The Details details to look for and ask about. They're potential "challenges" that can make the actual use of a jig quite different from what the marketing department puts out trying to get you to buy their product.

But wouldn't it be nice to have a back up jig, just in case your main jig gets a flat, or blows a head gasket? They make TWO car garages, so why not a Two Dovetail Jigs Shop?

When I get a tool, or jig, that does some common woodworking task easier, or does it in an interesting new way, I study it. How does it do it, why they designed it this way instead of that way, what are it's strengths - and weaknesses. Then I play with it and go back over what I got from studying it first - then revise what I found out, or theorized, before I used it.
During the Studying It phase I make diagrams, some at scale, some just illustrating something as I understand it.. That stuff gets revised after using the tool or jig and updated as I gain more experience with it - and find "challenges" I hadn't found before. And in the process I develop a better understanding of the tool or jig and how it is best used. The amount of time and effort to put that stuff on a few web pages is no big deal. If it helps someone else - well that's gravy.
If it's work - I'm out of here. But if it's fun and I learn something worth sharing . . .
charlie b
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"charlieb" wrote

For the item's covered your reviews are undoubtedly one of the best resources available to wRec participants.
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Swingman wrote:

Yes, they are. And they're invaluable. Thanks charlie
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Tanus

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I have one of the newer Leigh Supers, and I've been happy enough with it on thicker stock, but have been having big problems on thin, narrow stock for jewelry box drawers. I haven't completely figured it out yet, but it seems like when I bring the fingers so they actually touch each other there is some error that doesn't cancel out. I don't quite get it because there's no way the bit could be out of center in the bushing by as much error as I was getting.
So a few specific questions if you don't mind:
1) What is the minimum board width to get 2 tails with a through dovetail? My drawer fronts are 1/4" and 1-5/8" wide. The Akeda site says 1-1/4" but that is pretty meaningless without context. Leigh says 7/8" for example.
2) Is clamping in a backer board basically the same as with the Leigh? The manual talks about it but there are no illustrations.
The only beef I have with the Leigh on "normal" size stock is the whole positioning of everything is prone to error, particularly when you make the flip from tails to pins. When you tighten the guide finger assembly back down the whole thing can shift laterally, and the stops are a LONG way away from the business end of things so even though I know the two pieces are going to FIT, I'm just HOPING they line up. It leaves something to be desired. I figured the more expensive Leigh's were better in this regard, the whole super jig is bit underwhelming. So it sounds like the Akeda is better in this regard. I don't know if it's $350 better.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

It's been proven that the fewer zeros in a price, the more likely people are to buy the item. This is particularly true of real estate.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

This is what I think you mean - pardon the ASCII diagram but a picture of what we're talking about helps. ____ ____ _\ /__\ /_ | |
Well that depends on the size of the "half pins" on each end you're comforatble with. I can tell you that with three tail guides in the jig the distance between the center of the end sockets centerlines is 2.005 inches (2 1/128" or 50.93 mm). With the AKEDA, the bottom of the FULL tail sockets is ALWAYS 1/2", regardless of the bit's dovetail angle, 7, 9, 11,14 or 20 degrees.
Now the reality is that if you make the bottom of the tail socket truly HALF of the dovetail bit's bottom diameter, the fat end of the "half pin" will be half of the dovetail socket's bottom width of 1/2" -or 1/4". That doesn't leave much wood on the thin end of the half pin.
So let's say rather than a "half pin" you go with a "5/8 pin" one on each end. 0.625 x 0.5 = 0.3125 or 21/64" per half pin, two half pins comes to 0.625" or 5/8ths inches. The minimum distance between the centerlines of two tail sockets is 1".
So - for two 5/8ths "half pins" plus one "full" tail socket you get 1 5/8" minimum width - for thin stock - ie 1/4" thick. BUT - as the thickness of the stock goes up the minimum width of the part has to go up - determined by how narrow the thin end of the pin you are comfortable with.
Because the bottom of ALL the AKEDA's full sockets are ALWAYS 1/2" wide - by design - given one of the five dovetail bit angles - you can mathematically or graphically work out the miminim board width, given the number of full pins you want to go with and how wide you want the bottom of the half pins on the ends to be.

Any time your routing a part set vertically - which you do for both parts of a through dovetail joint, it's wise to have wood behind the area being routed to minimize or eliminate tear out a the back of the part. It's easy enough to slide a piece of stock in the jig horizontally and clamp it down. Routing into that end grain is a bit unusual - but no big deal.

Yup. Better if the jig does more and you have to do less. And the more moving parts, the greater the opportunity for error. The AKEDA "snap in" in discrete 1/8th inch increments pin and tail guides eliminate the "cut and then flip" issues.
As for "normal size" - there ain't no such thing - with wood. "About" (half or three quarters) is what you play with in The Real World. With the AKEDA there are only two moving parts on the jig - the two clamps - everything else is fixed (the variable spacing guides another exception of course.

Yup again. More moving parts, more opportunities to either move them to the wrong place, or move from where you originally put them. All that is gone with the AKEDA.

That's what happens when you start out with an idea that has several inherent shortcomings and rather than start over and do it right, keep adapting the original idea. Some of the problems identified in version 1.0 can be "fixed" with add ons and "accessories" that should have been thought of in the design phase become "standard equiptment" on version 2.0. The LEIGH dovetail jigs are Second Generation router based dovetail jigs. The AKEDA is the first of the Third Generation jigs.

Unless the LEIGH jigs are free - and give you $20 back the difference, if there is one (I haven't priced the LEIGH jigs) IS NOT $350.
What are the LEIGH 16" jigs going for - loaded - not PLUS the cost of the "accessories"?
GREAT QUESTIONS. Am working on putting the question and answers on the AKEDA pages I'm still working on. Thanks
charlie b
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charlieb wrote:

I think LEGEND56 was talking about getting an Akeda in addition to the money he's already spent on the Leigh.
Chris
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charlieb wrote:

The main question I had about the Akeda is around the durability of those snap-in plastic guides. In 10 years will they still snap in with no play, or will they wear somewhat and slip around enough to cause problems?
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

The "plastic guides" are made of a special synthetic - "plastics" have come a long way in the last 15 or 20 years so don't think "plastic = cheap or plastic = short lived. The guy who came up with the AKEDA is an industrial designer who stays up on current manufacturing technology - machines, materials and methods. As with any moving parts, there will be wear and tear over time if used. Ifyou're concered about that you can buy spares of what you use the most and save them for a rainy day. If you're anything like me - FINDING them later will be the real challenge :)
charlie b
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<snipping a lot of detailed response - thank you!>

Okay, sounds like I could only get one tail on it, and I don't like that. I'm willing to change methods to get faster production or better results, but I'm not going to sacrifice quality from what I could do at the band saw.

Okay same as the Leigh.

I just mean that the jigs are mainly designed to handle 3/4" stock. The Leigh wants to use a 1/2" dovetail bit. You can use a smaller bit, and the pins get smaller, but you just end up with bigger tails when you get down into the minimum spacing. When I use thin stock I want the spacing to get proportionally smaller, not larger.

I meant on top of the Leigh. I have basically two production setups now. The drawers I already mentioned, just did 40 of those, and some cedar boxes with 3 different widths but same thickness, just did 40 total of those too.
It might make sense for me to have two jigs at this point, I could have all four setups on the jigs at once. I suppose I'd need 4 routers then... I can drum sand the stock to the exact thickness each run if I wanted to. It's a lot of $$$ and a chunk of shop space.
Thanks again for the response!
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I finally got some input on why WoodCraft was dropping the Akeda line. I actually read a press release online and then fconfirmed it with my buddy at WC. The Akeda folks were unhappy with the price WC was selling their products and felt like their markup cut them out of a larger section of the market. I can see how that would be since The Jigstore offers the same package for less than WC, even when WC is supposed to have closeout pricing in effect.

I have been window shopping this unit
http://tinyurl.com/ywoqmz
and it seems to have a lot of the same features you are describing, plus the added benefit of coming with some of the bits you need to get started. Reviews are sparse on this new Leigh, but the comments I have read have all been raves.
I was just wondering how the Superjigs would stack up against the Akedas. It seems feature for feature there are a lot of similarities. Any thoughts on how these two might compare?
As always Charlie, your reviews are the best. Thanks for lending your analytical mind to the rest of us.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The 12" LEIGH SuperJig, with all the accessories included package is $319.99 and I assume that's with EVERYTHING.
The 18" LEIGH SuperJig loaded package prices is $389.99
The 24" SJ complete package appears to be $449.99
The AKEDA 16" loaded is $339.99 at Woodcraft as a close out deal. So compared to the 12" SJ, the AKEDA gives you four more inches of width capacity FOR FREE.
The 18" SJ gives you 2 more inches of width capacity - for another $60. Is $30 per inch of added width capacity worth it?
The AKEDA 24" loaded package (P/N 2400-3100-3800) at The Jig Store is $499.99, about $50 more than the 24" SJ. IS $50 going to be your only criteria when it comes to deciding between the AKEDA and LEIGH Super Jig 24" models?
Other telling things to compare 1. One only needs a 43 page manual - and the pages are a bit wider but shorter (5 1/2 x 13" vs 8 x10) vs a 163 page manual. Do you want to read - or cut dovetails?
2. Do you enjoy flipping things around, locking stuff down, adjusting several things - or do you prefer making dovetails
3. Do you want to use a Second Generation router based dovetail jig - or a Third Generation router based dovetail jig.
There are plenty of woodworkers who love making jigs and setting up and tweeking tools. I'm not one of them. Are you?
charlie b

The AKEDA 16" loaded (EVERYTHING) package is $329.99
The AKEDA 16 package deal comes with ALL the accessories - guides, dust collector and ALL the router bits- for $330 - complete.
The Jig Store has the AKEDA 24" complete package for, IIRC $389.99.

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charlieb wrote:

Has the tool been discontinued?
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See above - only at Woodcraft. Akeda is alive and well.
Robert
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On Fri, 15 Feb 2008 11:28:51 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Great!
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B A R R Y wrote:

The original AKEDA DC 16 is still in production and on the market. It apears that WoodCraft is closing them out because they're no longer carrying AKEDA though The Jig Store is.
The New and Improved models appear to use 8mm (0.315") shank bits rather than 1/4" (0.25") shanks and come with an adapter to fit 1/2" router collets - the added 0.065" inches of shank diameter - a 25% increase which means a stronger, more ridgid bit. It's not clear if that change requires different pin and tail guide sets.
charlie b
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