I'm going to buy a DT jig in the near future. I'm firmly in the "buy
once, cry once camp" and I think I'm going with one of the Leigh
Jigs. I've read until I'm cross-eyed and would like to hear from some
folks that have had practical experience with these jigs. I'm trying
to decide between the D4R and the 24" Super Jig. Which would you
prefer and why? Thanks.
Ok, I have the D4. The D4R is a more refined jig.
Considering the Super Jig and the D4R, for my money I would go with D4R at
about $120 more.
Take a look at a comparison guide here
3 main areas that caught my eye are,
1. The D4R has CNC milled side stops. These side stops are what you
reference your wood against on every set up. the Super Jigs are similar to
the older design D4's in that those side stops are bolted on by you and
adjusted by you. This is IMHO a weak part of the jig as the adjustment can
go out of adjustment. That is not going to happen on the simpler milled
2. The fingers on the D4R are 2 piece and the Super Jigs are 1 piece. This
means that you will have less flexibility on your layouts. You are paying a
lot of money for either of these jigs and that money is going towards
flexibility in joint layout, you might as well not short change your self at
3. The D4R jig will accept 50% thicker stock, 1.5" vs. 1" on the Super Jig.
IMHO you decision to go 24" is a good one. With these jigs, over the
cheaper fixed finger jigs, you get joint layout flexibility. With joint
flexibility you can have wider tails and pins at one end of a joint or a
totally asymmetrical designed joint from one end to the other. For the
joint to match on the opposite end of the board you need to cut a mirror
image of the layout. With the larger jigs you can set up both ends of the
jig to create that mirror lay out for joints up to 12" wide. With the
shorter jigs you either have to work with narrower joints or do half of your
joints and then set the jig up again to mirror those cuts. IMHO this is
much easier and less prone to error if you can do all of this in the
beginning before you start cutting the tails and pins.
With this all in consideration the Super Jig does have one advantage over
the D4R that I would want to consider. Typically you cut through or half
blind DT joints. With the Super Jig you put both pieces of wood in the
jig, one in front and one on top and make a single pass with your router
cutting both boards at the same time. With the D4R you have to cut each
piece separately making 2 passes with the router for each joint. I gave
this up when I went from the fixed spacing DT jig to the D4. I still prefer
the D4 despite this drawback.
I bought the Leigh 24" Super Jig. It's a well designed, versatile jig.
Every sliding piece and set screw feels solid and perfectly machined.
Because of its versatility, though, it requires a fair amount of study,
practice, and use of templates. I've been using my jig for a good while,
but I'm still not comfortable just clamping and cutting. I refer to
the manual quite a bit still just to be sure. The results are excellent,
though. After the initial setup, making well fitted, variously aligned
dovetails is easily done. One thing I really like about the jig (and
this is probably true for many jigs, actually) is how portable it is.
Once you screw it down to a supporting piece of plywood, you can clamp
it anywhere quickly and easily. Because my workshop is fairly small,
this is a real plus.
All I can say is that I have a D4R and find it more than satisfactory,
so I haven't bothered to look at jigs since.
While that may not seem that helpful at face value, I have on several
occasions, replaced major tools that I thought could have been better
made or designed.
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