Dovetail...

This is my first post so if the subject has already been discussed, forgive me.
What is the best dovetail jig on the market today? I have a Sears model, but its more frustrating to set up and use then getting an answer from my wife. :)
I work for a drawer company, and we use a DODDS CNC SE25, but I don't have 20-30,000 dollars laying around.
Any help would be appreciated.
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The quick answer is "it depends".
The more detailed answer would be to review the message threads in the Google groups archives, searching on Dovetail Jig recommendations.
As for getting an answer from your wife, I can't help you there.
Patriarch
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I agree with Patriarch: do a google group search (DAGS). There's plenty of info. You'll get names like Leigh, Akeda, Woodhaven, Keller, Porter-Cable. What you may not get is the Incra and JoinTech router table precision fences that can do dovetails and a lot of other stuff. There's also the Wood Rat. Prepare to be bewildered with choices.....


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Never Enough Money wrote:

snip
A vote for JoinTech. In addition to doing through and have blind dovetails of various sizes and with variable widths as well, along with finger/box joints, you get a fence that is precisely positionable WITH replaceble zero clearance fence inserts that minimize or eliminate parts being pulled into the bit opening at the start and end of the cut. Also comes in handy for making sliding dovetail joints, raised panels, molding etc.
You're going to end up with a router table eventually. Why not kill two birds with one stone now? Strongly recomend you look into JoinTech - the Cabinet Maker System specifically.
Or - cut them by hand. Here's some instructions of one of the many ways to hand cut them. http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/DovetailDrawer0.html
charlie b
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I agree with Patriarch: do a google group search (DAGS). There's plenty of info. You'll get names like Leigh, Akeda, Woodhaven, Keller, Porter-Cable. What you may not get is the Incra and JoinTech router table precision fences that can do dovetails and a lot of other stuff. There's also the Wood Rat. Prepare to be bewildered with choices.....


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Yes, it has been discussed and you can do a search but I'll make a recommendation anyway. If you are mainly doing drawers and want primarily half blind dovetails, it's hard to beat the Porter Cable 4112 for a hundred bucks. Once set up, I can go out to the shop, put the boards in, use my homemade guide to set the depth of the bit and just get it done.
If you're looking for through dovetails, you would need an Akeda, Leigh or Porter Cable Omnijig in order to do both or do variable spacing.. More money and more complex to set up but depending on your needs, might be the right way to go. The other option is the through dovetail jigs such as the Keller style. They are unlimited as to length because you can keep moving the jig down the line, but it's very difficult to get anything other than standard spacing.
Do your search and you'll get tons of info.
Don

forgive
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The Leigh jig is one of the best ones around. Very versatile, IMO easy to set up once you know how it works. Yeah, the manual is thick, but that's only because there are MANY sections on creating different dovetails.
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I use the Leigh Dovetail Jig. It is a top dollar jig but it is very versatile. As you may have already found out, the cheaper jigs like the Sears jig typically do no let you adjust the size of the tails and pins. You are stuck with the fixed spacing on the template. The big advantage of being able to adjust the spacing of the pins and tails is that if you do not have to make the project fit your Dove Tail Jig set up. Typically you want to have a half pin on both ends of the joint. With the ability to adjust the sizes and spacing of the pins and tails you can easily accomplish this. With fixed spacing jigs you may end up with a non symmetrical DT Joint and perhaps no pin on one end of the joint. To have the joints come out properly spaced on a project, you have to size the joint length to the spacing on your jig. If building a chest of drawers, you must first determine the height of each drawer to have proper spacing on the drawer joints and then design the chest around the drawers. With a jig like the Leigh you can design the chest and build the drawers to fit. With that in mind, the Leigh is not the only jig with this capability. I am only pointing this out as I consider this to be an important feature to consider.
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OK, you've got the answer - Leigh. Own, use, love mine.
Used a Craftsman until I got the other three years ago, and it was not difficult once you got the markings correct, with in/out right/left. Nothing but rote without much logic. The other mental adjustment is to realize that the depth of cut determines the tightness of the joint.
If you just make drawers where strength is the object, use the Sears. If decoration is part of the plan, get one which allows through dovetailing.

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Here is a link to an excellent review http://www.thewoodshop.20m.com/dovetail_jig_compare.htm
Bob
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Bob -- thanks for the URL -- lot's of interesting stuff, there.
[snip]

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Bob said:

Great stuff - added to my library of links! Thanks,
Greg G.
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I bought the Keller jig and it worked great first time. It has its limitations, mainly no variable spacing. It requires the construction of a base block but overall it is simple and makes good tight dovetails. It is made of some kind of plastic or composite but is very strong.
--Billy

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wrote:

The best is expensive...The Leigh jig. It take awhile to learn and takes time to set up. I don't use a dovetail jig anymore, but cut all of them by hand.
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I've been meaning to spend some time dabbling with hand cut dovetails - as soon as I finish some of the other non-wood related projects I've got on my plate. I remember seeing a PBS show a long time ago - and I do mean a long time ago - with an old German fellow who advocated the handcutting of dovetails. Whipped right out on TV like they were straight cuts across a 2x4. I figure I'd rather do it that way than with a jig so I've put the idea in the back of my mind to research this whole thing. And then along comes your post. So... how 'bout a pointer or two to your favorite sites or resources on hand cutting dovetails?
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com
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You talking about the video by Frank Klausz called "Dovetail a Drawer." It's awesome. My local library had it.
In Lonnie Bird's bandsaw book he also has a good description of how to use the bandsaw for the cuts, which is what I do.
Mark

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