Dovetail Jigs: Drawers and Boxes.

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Alan Smithee wrote:

I pulled out the long dollar and bought a D4R based on discussions with other users, much of it here. My main priorities were:
- Adjustable spacing - Half & through DT's - Ease of setup and use
The D4R has totally blown me away, and I'd buy it again. I wouldn't call it "easy" to use, but the manual is probably the best written, easiest to follow example of documentation I've EVER seen. If I follow ALL the steps, in the order written, I get perfect results every time.
I didn't think I'd need the width, but I've learned to use both ends for different setups.
I _still_ haven't even bothered to watch the DVD included with the jig. The manual is that good! <G>
If you only need one kind of DT, or don't care about spacing, save money and look elsewhere. The D4R fits my requirements, yours may be different.
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Ah. That's a neat trick. Use either end of the jig. One side for tails and the other for pins....

have
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Alan Smithee wrote:

Not exactly. <G>
You use the same setup for matching pins and tails, but use opposite ends of the jig for different layouts at each end of the board.
I learned it here!
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Depends on your needs but the Porter Cable would be hard to beat for the money.
http://www.portercable.com/index.asp?eT7&pX39
The real nice Omnijig that was introduced at the IWF has not brought out yet but that is going to be a killer product. I got a peek at the jig at the show. It will very easily compare to the Leigh jig. Prices were not available.
For garden variety work, the above jig is quite nice and is currently about $169.
The Leigh is a fine jig but I find that a jig with a 400 page manual is just a wee bit much. I also think that it is vastly overpriced.
Norm is probably responsible for that since he made it famous.
Alan Smithee wrote:

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Pat Barber wrote:

Have you used the jig?
I only ask because the manual has discrete sections, which you use based on the particular joint you need to cut. Some of the information is repeated in every section. Once you've cut a type of DT, the next pass through the manual is more like a checklist vs. a detailed read. A good 30-40 pages of the manual is devoted to initial assembly, and another large chunk is devoted to detailed theory of how each operation works. Typical operations are 8-10 pages long.
Had I not used the jig, I'd agree with you about the daunting size of the manual. <G> I still haven't bothered to read the theory sections.
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Alan Smithee wrote:

At some point, if you don't already have one, you're gonna have a router table. And it's gonna have a fence. And if you want to do half blinds and through dovetails, as well as box/finger joints and perhaps DrawerLok or MiterLock joints, maybe even raised panel doors or box lids - you're gonna look at Incra and JoinTech fence "systems" because a shop made, clamp on fence ain't gonna do it.
I skipped over the dovetail jigs and got the JoinTech - which I highly recomend. Replaceable zero clearance fence inserts, dust collection through the inside of the sqaure extruded fence, T-slots on top for attaching hold downs, stops etc., fence moveable in 0.001" increments (click indicators for each step of course), . . .
The jigs - well you'll only use them for dovetails and maybe finger joints. A router table, with the JoinTech Cabinet Maker System - well that'll get used a LOT more often - and you don't have to buy "special" router bits.
Now if you have a cabinet saw with an extension table, and your router is mounted in the extension table, JoinTech has the Saw Train - which does everything the Cabinet Maker System does PLUS you have a precision positionable fence.
When you think of machine making dovetails - skip the jigs and get a JoinTech!
http://www.jointech.com /
Here's my router table set up - ALL the joinery done with the JoinTech. And this was my second or third woodworking project.
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/RouterTable.html
Before you buy a "jig" at least have a look at what this puppy can do.
charlie b other than being a very satisfied customer, I have no connection with JoinTech.
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I've had Incra Jigs for years, and I love them for some work, especially fancy or "creative" projects.
But for repetitive tasks, like building drawers, they're a tedious PITA with continuous resetting and multiple passes. My Leigh D1600 is far easier to setup (just once), and a single pass cuts all the pins (or tails) with absolute accuracy (no chance of ruining a workpiece by being "off one notch" when moving the fence).
Hans
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I've been working my way up though the less expensive jigs with mixed success. I started with a Craftsman that didn't hold the work very well. I upgraded to the Porter Cable 4112 which works well but doesn't do through dovetails. When the Porter Cable 4212 Deluxe model came out for $150 and it did through dovetails, I jumped on it and thought I was done. However, I don't like the looks of the 4212 joints, they seem too big for draws and the bits provided with the jig are very low angle (7 degrees?). This low angle results in dovetails that almost look like box joints. For my last project with draws, I went back to the 4112. The bottom line here for me is that I'm on my third jig, am not happy, and have spent almost as much at the cost of a Leigh...
Scott
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why not try the Woodrat ????
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I would also consider Stots: http://stots.com/ It is dramatically less expensive than everything else mentioned here.
Mark
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Now that's neat. Not all _that_ much cheaper than Rockler's 60 buck Incra when you throw in the cost of a sheet of MDF but still that's neat.
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