Looking for dovetail machine

Hello, I am looking for some advise on which Dovetail machine to buy. Right now I would just be using it for some blind dovetail work on drawers, but later I would like to use it on through dovetail projects. I have seen quite a few on the web but wanted real input from people that have used them.
Thanks, Greg.
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The Leigh D4 jig. Period.
Mike

Right
quite
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On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 19:20:29 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
|The Leigh D4 jig. Period.
That would be my *advice* too.
Wes
| |Mike | |
| |> Hello, I am looking for some advise on which Dovetail machine to buy. |Right |> now I would just be using it for some blind dovetail work on drawers, but |> later I would like to use it on through dovetail projects. I have seen |quite |> a few on the web but wanted real input from people that have used them. |> |> Thanks, Greg. |> |> |
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To expound upon my response.
The Leigh jig is NOT difficult to use. The manual is extremely detailed, which some people interpret to mean complicated. It is not. The Leigh people just provided illustrated step-by-step instructions.
The Leigh does take a small bit of time to set up and mount properly, but considering the much expanded capabilities of the jig, this small investment in time and effort up front is well worth it.
Finally, not only can you do half-blind and through dovetails, with infinate combinations of variable spacing (up to 24" wide, by the way), the jig allows you to do many other variations (double dovetails, angled dovetails, etc.). You can also do 1/4" finger joints using the jig as delivered.
Due to the large capacity, you'll realize you can easily use this jig to dovetail carcases for cabinetry, make large chests, etc. I looked at all the options, including the Akeda, when I bought mine and I realized the versatility of the Leigh just outpaced the others by heads and shoulders. I suggest you check out the Leigh website (www.leighjigs.com) and go look at the online manual for the Leigh. I think if you take a look you'll see it isn't that complicated or difficult and that the options you'll have will be welcome, not loathed.
Mike
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On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 03:18:27 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
|To expound upon my response. | |The Leigh jig is NOT difficult to use. The manual is extremely detailed, |which some people interpret to mean complicated. It is not. The Leigh |people just provided illustrated step-by-step instructions.
And they will provide a video, at least they sent me one before I even bought one. | |The Leigh does take a small bit of time to set up and mount properly, but |considering the much expanded capabilities of the jig, this small investment |in time and effort up front is well worth it.
Agreed. While I have had mine for six months I'll confess to only using it for a few projects, so I really have to learn it over each time. Nevertheless, the last project included four graduated sized drawers, requiring four setups and since I have one router, four changes of bits (I was doing TDs) and I knocked them out quite quickly, even when double and triple checking every step. It just isn't that complicated.
The purists here will say that they could hand cut the DTs in the time it takes me to set it up and I'm sure they are right. But I'm looking at doing another bathroom and kitchen overhaul with lots of same sized drawers, and frankly, I'm not looking for the "satisfaction" of doing them by hand.
I will say tho that if plywood is involved, I'd try another method or a different joint. I have not solved the tearout problem and neither has Leigh; they caution against using it.
Wes
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There is one right at the end of your arms that can cut more refined and a greater diversity of dovetails than any other machine...mjh

but
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That is true, Mike, but when I need to do a kitchen's worth of drawers, all the same, it becomes obvious to me that repeatability and consistency might be more desirable than diversity. ;-) I'm not in Ian Kirby's or Frank Klausz' league, not by a long shot.
For furniture, or decorative boxes, or similar, there is a joy to hand cutting the dovetails a machine cannot match.
Patriarch
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I agree, Mike. I'm actually getting halfway decent at doing handcut through dovetails, but I still have a long way to go in terms of consistency and speed. I figure I should master the TD before going on to half-blind or (God forbid) even mitered or houndstooth dovetails. I'll get there eventually. At any rate, if I have a project like a large carcase or something, especially where the joint won't be visible, I think I can get better results (or at least as good) faster than I will ever get handcutting them. I just don't get enough practice. I will say this, though, handcutting them is definately a lot more fun than using a loud, whining router.
Mike
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Mike, Do you know where it's made by any chance?                 Mark L.
Mike in Mystic wrote:

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the company is based in British Columbia, Canada. Whether or not the jig is actually manufacturered there I have no idea, although my guess is that it is, but it's just a guess.
Mike

but
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yea, get the Leigh if you have the funds, if not, a 12" jet for the half blinds is a good starter jig for around $50.

Right
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There's nothing wrong with the Leigh D4. The design has stood the test of time.
But I bought an Akeda DC-16 about 18 months ago, because the Leigh had the reputation of complexity, and the Akeda looked to provide a simpler, more repeatable user experience, as well as some really neat features. The design succeeded. I had rubber-mallet tight, variable spaced through dovetails cut in a small blanket chest, all four joints, within an hour of mounting the jig on the workbench. The first time. Half-blinds took me a little longer.
They, Akeda, struggled for a while, for a number of the same reason many startups struggle, plus a fire at a neighboring facility. But they are shipping again, and should be available at a Woodgraft near you (assuming you are in the US.)
And they are nice people to work with, for tech support.
There are some good comparative reviews on the web.
Patriarch
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On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 13:15:22 -0600, "melissasjohnson"

The Leigh dovetail jig is the one to have. I don't own one, as I don't have the $, but I'm skilled at making handcut dovetails.
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There will be allot of advise for the Leigh but if all you want is half blind dovetails for drawers, I would opt for a Jet or Porter Cable 4112 - they are less money and do that job (and only that job) very well. If dovetails of both half blind and through are something you intend to use regularly, then the price and learning curve of the Leigh is probably worth it. Personally, I can't justify having that much money in something I use so sparingly for drawers only.
Don

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Try the site below. No ads, no products to sell, no solicitung $$$, just good advice from a guy with a LOT of hands on experience. Good review of the top jigs available.
http://www.thewoodshop.20m.com /
On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 13:15:22 -0600, "melissasjohnson"

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Woodsmith (IIRC) had nice things to say about: http://www.woodhaven.com/detail.aspx?ID 43
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The Leigh is too expensive and a little hard to master.
Check out Akeda -- it's dust collection is best. http://www.akedajigs.com /
Woodhaven has a nice one, too. http://www.woodhaven.com/SearchResult.aspx?CategoryIDA

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Never Enough Money) wrote:

The basic Woodhaven apparently only does half-blind dovetails. By the time you add a through dovetail template, you're pretty close in price to the "too expensive" Leigh, and you still don't have variable spacing capability.
--
Hank Gillette

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