dovetail jig


Does anyone know of a good dovetail/box jig? I hope alot of people respond to tis so I can see the pros & cons of different jigs
So far I have seen the Porter-Cable Omini Jig, and the Sears Jig
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Gosh, do you think you can do a google search?!
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It depends on what type of projects you are planning to complete. If you are considering doing larger projects, such as case work, or need variable spaced dovetails, then you should consider looking at the Leigh D24. Yes, it's expensive, but once you master it, it's a pleasure to use. If you plan on smaller projects, then the P/C is good.
You should also consider doing your dovetails by hand. Yea, it's a bit of a hassle at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's a very rewarding task. In addition, I find that in come cases, if you add in the time to set up the jig, get the router ready, do the test cuts and tune the settings, and then the cuts themselves - I can get much of the handwork done.
Goof luck.

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I have the jig from Rockler. Just finished a dresser with 6 drawers all done with the jig. Came out fine.

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After you do a Google search, try http://www.leighjigs.com /
Dave

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If you are just starting out I would consider the cheaper jigs for blind DT's only. Learn on that jig and under stand the mechanics of DT's. Then move up to the Leigh DT Jig.
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splinter wrote:

What kind of work do you want to do with it and in what quantity? A Leigh won't do everything that an Incra will do but what it does to it does a good deal faster for example.
There's no one "best" dovetail/box jig--just best suited to particular needs.
--
--John
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I researched DT jigs extensively a couple years ago. Looked at PC, Leigh, Akeda and Keller. I ended up buying the Keller. It does not do half-blind DT's, but the only place those are usually used are drawer fronts. You can do through DT's and slap on a drawer front as an alternative. The Keller does do variable spaced DT's, but it's a bit more work than the Leigh.
The real reason I bought the Keller is it is fool proof. Once you set up the jig and lock it in, you don't ever have to futz with loose or tight joints again. You do have to adjust the depth of cut, but that only affects whether the tail is too shallow or too high. A couple of test cuts will get that adjusted in and you are ready to go. It doesn't hurt that the Keller was also least expensive, although I believe PC has a new low cost unit out this year. I was also impressed that David Keller himself does the show demoes and will talk your ears off about dovetailing if you've got the time.

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splinter wrote:

Since you seem to want to consider all options, you might consider shop-built dovetail/box jigs.
A few photos of the original versions of mine can be seen at <http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/cnc_joinery.html and some of my doodlings of (drawer) joints can be found at <http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/jigs.html .
Mine is mounted (more or less permanently) to a CNC router and the templates are disk files - but there's nothing to prevent a person from building a similar jig and routing or scroll-sawing templates for whatever joints they can dream up.
You aren't necessarily limited by what's on somebody else's shelf...
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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This one is my favorite by far. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pA718&cat=1,42884 It's completely adjustable to accomodate almost any size or pattern of dovetails, and costs much less than any other jig i know of on the market. Plus, quite simple to set up and use. However, you will need a good set of sharp chisels. If you have many drawers to cut, I'd suggest a router jig. But for a couple of drawers, I think this is the way to go. Besides, what can say "I'm a true craftsman" better than hand cut dovetails? --dave

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Purists wouldn't even use the guide, just a pencile, sliding miter, dovetail saw, and chisels.
Rob Cosman has a good video on it.....
http://www.lie-nielsen.com/library.html?cat=6
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(snip) Purists wouldn't even use the guide, just a pencile, sliding miter,

Certainly, in fact, that is how i learned to cut 'em. The guide simply added an element of production to the process by eleminating using the sliding miter to make the layout lines, and it keeps the dovetail saw at the right cutting angle with a strong magnet. Waste still must be removed with chisels, which is the most time consuming of the process, but it still doesn't take very long for a couple of drawers. After a little practice, (mostly for the spacing of the DT's) hand cutting with the guide has essentailly become a no-brainer, and the fit is perfect almost every time (occasionally, a little shaving needs removed here or there, due to bad eyesight) I think for a project with a couple of drawers, hand cutting adds a strong display of craftsmanship, especially in finer furniture. However, for projects involving many drawers I have no reservations bringing out the router jig. --dave

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Morris, I'm impressed with your ingenuity using the stuff from ENCO and McFeely's. However, it looks like you built a nice vice, not a dove-tail jig. Did I miss something?
When I think of a dovetail jig, I think of a device to run your router on which guides the router bit to the proper places for both the tails and the pins.
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Never Enough Money wrote:

Perhaps. It's a vise to the same extent that most off-the-shelf dovetail jigs are vises. <g>
What you can't readily see is that the vise face is exactly (to the limits of my ability to measure) square to the table and all this squareness is relative to the router spindle - over the entire width of the fixture and length of the table. I "cheated" by machining both the MDF table surface and the wooden clamp face in place with the same spindle used to cut the joints.

Fair enough. That's where I started from, before I started pricing various off-the-shelf jigs and templates. When I added it all up it looked pretty expensive. Then I started having ideas about joints that the OTS jig producers seemed to have overlooked or decided had insufficient market...
My router bit /is/ guided to the proper places for joint elements (provided I don't have programming errors) not only for dovetails, but for /any/ joint that can be cut with a vertical spindle on a three-axis machine and for which I can puzzle out a software "template".
I think it'd be fairly easy to add a hardware template capability so this jig could be used with a freehand router - which is exactly the point I wanted to make to the OP. (-:
The machine was purchased to hold down the labor content and to minimize material waste of a product with a significant amount of simple routing. That production activity isn't particularly interesting ("incredibly boring" might be a more apt description) but I enjoy, in a geekish sort of way, looking for joinery geometries and techniques that weren't practical/possible before CNC - after hours of course. <g>
I rather like the drawer joint with through tenons. The photo on my "jigs" page shows tenons with a round end cross section - but I'm tickled by the possibility of other shapes: five-pointed star, cross, Star of David, fleur de lis, etc. Who sells templates for stuff like that? I like the idea of matching joinery elements with decorative inlay patterns. So many possibilities and so little time...
The best I've managed so far isn't a dovetail/box joint; it's a 3D lap joint that's strong (well, at least not weaker than the boards it joins), rack-proof (can be used to build screen doors and garden gates that /can't/ sag), and doesn't require any fasteners except glue - and when cut to exactly fit (a program option) doesn't even seem to need glue; but does need to be pressed together /immediately/ after machining because even slight moisture content change in either direction tightens the joint. Photo at <http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/design.html .
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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