D4R vs Omnijig ?

Page 1 of 2  
Hello all,
Well, it's time to finally buy a dovetail jig. I've narrowed it down to the Leigh D4R and the Porter Cable 24" Omnijig model 77240. I need the variable spacing and the 24" width.
I've searched the archives and read all that has been written so far. It has been a while since this has been discussed and was hoping someone has something new to add, some real hands on experience with both jigs and can speak from experience. I keep waiting for one of the woodworking mags to do a detailed comparison and am surprised that they have not yet.
So, following are some questions I had. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks, Larry
Any comments on any of these issues/features? :
1. First, my overall impression of the two jigs: Both are functionally the same. The Omnijig is built like a tank, but the machining and manufacturing tolerances are less precise than the D4R. I have read a few comments about the finger-template-bar being seriously bowed and also about a height mismatch or step between the finger template and the stabilizer bar causing the router to not sit level. The D4R is more precisely made though perhaps a bit more delicate. Any truth to these impressions?
2. The Omnijig bit depth gage and template positioning stops - Are these really accurate enough so that, once dialed in, test cuts are unnecessary. Or, are they almost close enough and therefore just a gimmick?
3. Clamping systems: The Omnijig looks nice?
4. Dust collection ?
5. Available bits: Omnijig uses 1/2 shank bits, the D4R uses 8mm. Does either system have more or fewer bits available (width, depth and dovetail angle)?
6. How does the selection of available bits affect the look of the finished dovetails?
7. Router stability?
8. Do either of the jigs have any great, must have features or any annoying or deal-breaking features?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I own a D4 and have for about 12 years. I have no complaints. I have heard of less than happy Omnijig owners, bits being made incorrectly was the major problem. Some have reported fingers slipping with the Leigh D4.

IMHO it is a gimmick, but that is only my opinion. I experience has shown me that 2 "identical" sized DT bits will cut differently and will needed to be adjusted differently. IMHO every bit has it's "sweet spot" to perform the best cut expecially for "half blind DT's. Additionally every type of wood and its hardness will require a slightly different bit depth setting. The set up gauge with the Omni IMHO is a place to start from to achieve the best cut.

The Leigh works.

Leigh offers a router support/dust collection set up for <$100.

Leigh offers full sets of bits but I recomend that you buy what you need as needed.

With the Leigh the bits differ in angle and the larger bits are, suited for thicker stock.

Typical on the D4 probably better with the set up I mentioned above concerning your DC question.

The Leigh offers other templates for different type decorative joints and a box joint/finger joint jig that is a no brainer and works very well. The immediate reaction I have every time I see the Omni is that I think I am looking at an air craft carrier, it looks like it would take up a lot of real-estate in the shop.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Only for half blinds. For through dovetails they are all 8 degrees. The Akeda is the only jig that does different angles for through dovetails.
-Kevin
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I agree that the Akeda has the nicest looking dovetail angles because they move with the thickness of the wood. An 8 degree angle just does not look right on a 1/2" piece of wood.
Add to it that the Akeda is much easier to use than any other jig on the market and you have a winning combination.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have only used the 12" omnijig, but here is my .02$ anyway

not a gimmick, but no big deal. You can make test scraps that serve the same purpose

it work well

The omnijig uses 7 bits. I've seen replacement bits that are advertised at 8 . I have no clue if it will work within 1, if the bits are close enough anyway, etc. I assume that the 12 and 24 inch jigs use the same bits. For through dovetails, the bit angle has to match the template angle (omnijig) There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of selection for the omnijig bits.
I assume that either jig should use scrap pieces under the template to prevent it from bowing
enjoy,
shelly
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

... snip
If you've looked through the archives, you've read of my recent investigation into trying to get gapless dovetails with my D4 (not a D4R) and my decision to replace it with the Akeda jig. If you can get the optional router support for the D4R, that may alleviate part of the problems I was seeing.
If you're close to Tucson, I'll make you a deal on my D4. :-)
--

There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage

Rob Leatham
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark & Juanita wrote:

Recently did another batch of kitchen drawers with my 7 year old Leigh D4 (half blind joints). Biggest problem in batch routing parts in a run of 20 or so drawers with the jig is that some of the fingers move apart very slightly, but noticeably, over time, with gaps showing up in the joins part way through a run if you don't keep a close eye.
Only those fingers in a particular location see to be the culprits and no amount of tightening solves the problem.
Replaced both with unused ones to no avail, so I'm assuming it is an issue with the bar they slide on ... perhaps worn from use, or from over tightening in the past?
As always, the final product is quite acceptable and a damn sight quicker and better than if I did 20 drawers by hand, but it is exasperating that absolute consistency in a large run of batch cut drawer parts has always been somewhat unattainable using my particular Leigh.
One or two, or a few drawers, no problems ...
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Do you have any PSA sand paper? I wonder if you applied some to that bar if things would stay in place. If you want to consider doing that and don't have the paper, I can help you out.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
the gap problem might be a worn bushing
shelloy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Probably not, as he stated that the fingers move.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I understand, but still doubt it. It would take quite a bang (like dropping it) to bend a finger The impression I got is that he meant the fingers wiggle - something I don't understand at all.
Besides, if a finger moves wider in one direction then it would close in the other. I don't think the dovetail would even close at that pont
He might be talking about the "fingers" of the joint itself, in which case it could be either a worn or flattened bushing, or a setup problem - wood not clamped down well enough, the side guides working themselves loose, etc. Maybe even the pressure that he's using on the template. IIRC, the instructions say to only route along one side of the finger template
shelly
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@stny.rr.com wrote:

Leon is correct.

The fingers in the Leigh D4 are two halves, each tightened separately. One half can indeed move independently, by design, and this is what is happening.

No noob to the Leigh D4 jig here ... been using one for years, with literally hundreds of drawers, for lots and lots of kitchens, made on this particular jig.
Exactly what I stated ... some (two halves, actually) of the fingers on the jig move during prolonged use(IOW, one half of a finger moves away from the other half - which half remains stationary is intermittent from one setup to another)all by their little bitty sorry selves.
The problem has worsened over the years.
What is not known is why fingers, any fingers, in this particular area of the bar to which they are attached, are prone to movement during prolonged use ... even when tightened/torqued like all fingers, and even with locktite on the screws used to tighten them to said bar.
Since replacing the fingers didn't help, and as previously stated, it sounds like a problem with that particular area of said bar?
Then again, it is possible that I may be just one of the few that have actually worn a Leigh D4 out!
Next time I do a run, I may try to swap ends, or get Leigh to ship another bar.
Despite the loosey goosey problem, it still makes nice drawer parts:
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/IMG00046-20090804-1833.jpg
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/IMG00045-20090804-1833.jpg
http://www.e-woodshop.net/images/IMG00054-20090807-1820.jpg
... but takes a bit too much time futzing with the problem to get the desired result for a small production shop, and that's a smaller than usual run.
:)
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Swingman wrote:

The results you are showing there are way better than any that I was ever getting, even after multiple weekends of futzing about with the jig, wood, etc.

While lacking the infinite variability, I'm really sold on the Akeda as requiring significantly less fiddling to get really good joints. Maybe the Leigh I got was somehow defective, but it just never got me the joints I wanted.

--

There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage

Rob Leatham
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark & Juanita wrote:

What I've taken to doing is to setup and cut a single tail board, then swap to cutting all the pin boards, making sure the first few pin boards are good joints with that first cut tail board.
Then I flip the jig fingers and cut all the tail boards in reverse order (last cut to first cut), testing each pair, and adjusting the culprit fingers as needed ... and the first few (last cut) always need adjustment.
By the time I get back to the first dozen or so pin boards, the culprit fingers are basically "adjusted" back to where I started.
PITA, should not be necessary, and the only way I can get acceptable results on a large "batch cut" run ... still quicker than hand cut.
Problem is, by the time I get around to the drawers in a kitchen project, I'm already worn out and too damn busy to solve the problem permanently, so just go for the quick fix at the time to get it done.
Rest of the time the Leigh sits on a shelf and doesn't get a thought otherwise ... time to do something about it would be now. But I won't hold my breath! :(
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Swingman wrote:

If you understand all I posted above, you're a better man than me! :)
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I would think that you would have a finite number of drawer heights, or that you could standardize during the design process. If that is so and you wound up with three or four standard drawer heights, I wonder if you could get a perfect setup for each and use that to cut a solid template out of phenolic/acrylic/aluminum etc.
Probably a rainy morning's worth of fuss but ,once you're done, the moving finger problem is gone for good on production runs.
Regards,
Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tom Watson wrote:
...

...
It's been _a_long_time_ (tm :) ) since I did production work for pay and don't intend to return but I'm virtually positive that any more I'd simply buy drawer boxes rather than hand cut them (even w/ fixed jig). Just too many competitive choices these days...
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dpb wrote:

You can indeed get away with that if you use drawer slides that work on the "opening less 1"" principle, but try it with under mount slides like Hettichs, where the drawer has to be built specifically to the slides specs and with close tolerances, and you would be doing nothing but creating installation problems that would take far more time to resolve than making the drawers themselves.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Swingman wrote:

Many will make whatever you want to whatever sizes you wish...they'll build to spec; their advantage is they've got the volume to afford the CNC to allow it that unless you're Morris most ( :) ) don't in small/mid-production shops.
If I were again to think of it, I'd far rather do the "more funner" stuff and pass off the routine repetitive stuff...
Last one I used was in Morristown, TN, (before came back to the farm) but I know there are many others. They got into the widespread custom business when the furniture manufacturing for which they were supplier started to disappear from VA/TN/NC/etc. ...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dpb wrote:

No thanks ... nothing in your argument is new to me as I've used that rationale on cabinet _doors_ for years, but made the decision a long time ago to draw the line at drawers, and always will.
You reach a point where you take away too much of the "by hand" aspect of the work and you end up with the problem Tom Plaman had when he switched to using a CNC on some of his carvings ... he found out quickly it was the "by hand" aspect his clients wanted, not the product of something that was merely a convenience to him.
My kitchens are not the fanciest, and far from the best out there, but they sell themselves, and, more often then not, a house or two ... and I'm still building them in today's economic climate.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.