Ready to buy Leigh, Akeda or Omnijig

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wrote:

This hits home... Just last weekend I decided I was determined to cut at least one set of dovetails by hand just to say I had done it and I figured it would be a good learning experience also. Well it was a learning experience alright. I learned that a sharp carbide bit turning at high RPM is the way to go. Next time I get that wild hair I'll buy a dovetail jig.
After hogging out what I could using a band saw, I set after it with a newly purchased dovetail saw from Lee Valley. I was able to cut following the lines amazingly well. I was really impressed with myself. Then I got out the hammer and chisel to start cleaning them up.
The only parallel I can think of is similar to chopping wood with an axe. You ever swing an axe, hit the mark, and then can't pull the axe back out? That is exactly what it was like working with hard maple.
I worked for somewhere around 5 hours or so making sure I didn't screw up and take too much off and ruin it. I never did that but I was still working on the first joint and it still didn't quite fit together. Close but no cigar. It looked really good but it wasn't quite there yet.
I have a lot of admiration for someone with the patience and talent to do that because I certainly don't. Since I left myself an extra inch on the board just in case, I sawed the damn thing off and started over. Decided on a box joint instead. Built the jig and had all of the joints cut in about 1 1/2 hours...
YMMV
Larry
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On the off chance you'll try it again... I don't bother to hog out with a saw. Saw down to the gauge line, and just cut the marking gauge line with the chisel. It *is* rather like axing out wood. Cut straight down at the line, then chip back to it to pop out a wedge of the waste wood. Repeat a couple of times, each time taking out another bite, just with like an axe. Flip to cut from the other side when you get halfway. There is a little bit of art in knowing how far the chisel will drift back toward the gauge line, but mostly it's just brute Neanderthal at its primal best.
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I'll probably try it again, when I have more time, but it'll be softer wood. Can't waste a nice dovetail saw...
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A couple of points:
1. I don't think that 5 hours is an adequate investment in time. I think 1 hour each on 5 quick & sloppies would be better time pent developing the skill and figuring out what works.
2. Over time, I have become somewhat jaded by the whole "dovetail" concept. With a glued in plywood bottom, and a well fitting lock rabbet, you will have throw a drawer across the room to break a drawer. Even then, the wall might win. IMO, there is no *practical* reason for dovetails in this age of modern glue. I will probably never make a *utility* drawer with a dovetail again.
I can think of 2 really good reasons to design in dovetails:
*aesthetics (they look pretty) I can tell the difference between a variable-spaced machine-cut dovetail and I prefer the look of delicate pins, even at the expense of some accuracy. I acknowledge that joe-non-woodworker would probably select dead-nuts machine accuracy 9 times out of 10.
*customer-perceived quality. Joe-average has been trained to believe that quality drawers *should* be dovetailed. You would have to get to have some serious skills not to use a jig to create a kitchen full of dovetailed drawers.
-Steve
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When you started reading did you read the Encyclopedia Brittanica as your first book? Probably not. Assuming you play a musical instrument and its a violin, did you start with a Beethoven piece as your first music? Probably not. The first time you went jogging did you run a marathon? Probably not. Today everyone thinks they should be an expert the first time they try something. At least on hobby type stuff.
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in
oups.com:

Pretty quick to judge someone you know nothing about... I had no expectation of being an expert, in fact far from it. I simply wanted a project that I wasn't embarrassed for people to see. I have the rest of my life to learn and there was no need to ruin a project while learning. When I have some down time I'll try again.
Larry
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Larry wrote:

Larry, I didn't see anything insulting in what he wrote. In fact, you can just as easily see the opposite.
Like.... "Hey man, don't worry about it. No one starts out on the violin playing Beethoven. In today's culture, people expect to be experts at everything, but it takes practice, doesn't it?"
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
  Click to see the full signature.
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If I misinterpreted what he said, I apologize. That said, how is it possible to not understand "Today everyone thinks they should be an expert the first time they try something." Only the young and dumb seem to have that character flaw. Old farts like me understand that nothing is as easy as it looks. If it does look easy, it's probably because the guy doing it is good at what he does.
I'll never know what was really meant as googlegroups are normally filtered.
Larry
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org:

In your previous post you said this:
"This hits home... Just last weekend I decided I was determined to cut at least one set of dovetails by hand just to say I had done it and I figured it would be a good learning experience also. Well it was a learning experience alright. I learned that a sharp carbide bit turning at high RPM is the way to go. Next time I get that wild hair I'll buy a dovetail jig."
So you try cutting dovetails by hand once, then decide a machine is the only way to go. And so I will say it again:
Today everyone thinks they should be an expert the first time they try something.
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In your previous post you said this:
"This hits home... Just last weekend I decided I was determined to cut at least one set of dovetails by hand just to say I had done it and I figured it would be a good learning experience also. Well it was a learning experience alright. I learned that a sharp carbide bit turning at high RPM is the way to go. Next time I get that wild hair I'll buy a dovetail jig."
So you try cutting dovetails by hand once, then decide a machine is the only way to go. And so I will say it again:
Today everyone thinks they should be an expert the first time they try something. ========== Nah. He said: "I tried grilling a steak for myself once. What a mess! Next time, I'll order out." And then he went on to detail the mess, which was all entirely typical and easily correctable. You'd have to make some pretty wild assumptions about the person to reach the conclusions you did, none of them supported by the rest of his message. So far, it says more about you than him.
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Mike,
Like I said previously, I admire someone who can cut dovetails by hand and they can and should take pride in that.
What I don't understand is MikeWhy you are so upset? It's a personal choice. Just like buying a car or anything else. Or...........using a snow-blower instead of a snow shovel, or............. a pneumatic nailer instead of a hammer, or........... Some folks get better results doing things a different way.
If I were building a log cabin today I sure as hell wouldn't be using an axe. Even if I had the time. It's just a personal choice and not an attack on you.
Jim
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Mike,
Like I said previously, I admire someone who can cut dovetails by hand and they can and should take pride in that.
What I don't understand is MikeWhy you are so upset? It's a personal choice. Just like buying a car or anything else. Or...........using a snow-blower instead of a snow shovel, or............. a pneumatic nailer instead of a hammer, or........... Some folks get better results doing things a different way.
If I were building a log cabin today I sure as hell wouldn't be using an axe. Even if I had the time. It's just a personal choice and not an attack on you.
========I'm not upset at all. Cursed google groups postings make it difficult to keep the attributions clear. My writing starts with "=====\n Nah. ..." Yell again if that doesn't clear it up.
But, if I were to build with green logs, I would at least try to hew and joint a few the old way. If I had other choices -- a small mill, in particular -- I'm too big a cheapskate to waste a whole log that way. They'd be planks and timbers instead.
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So I'll say it again, since you've clarified that I did understand you correctly the first time...
You've made an idiotic blanket statement that is completely untrue. You don't know a damn thing about me nor how much effort I am willing to put into learning a new skill. End of discussion.
Regards, Larry
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I don't have any confidence that the attribution of those words was clear, since you left my newstag on top. The words you quoted were posted by

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That was clearly not intended for you, my apologies. My trimming skills are deficient.
Larry
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DAryl:
Once again late to the part but here's some input for your decision
1. There are more LEIGH DT jig owners out there than AKEDA owners because LEIGH has been making and selling them longer than anyone else (they were the first out with variable spacing).
2. LEIGH - and the similar PC Omni Jig - are the previous generation of VS DT jigs. The LEIGH evolved overtime to correct shortcomings of earlier models. The newest version is the latest corrections/enhancments. Both still keep the Align This Line To That Line operation and the Flip This Around, Put It Back That Way - and Align This Line To That Line procedure.
Both also have levers and handles and nobs - sticking out all over hell
The AKEDA was designed from a blank piece of paper - starting with the criteria of what it should do and to make it as easy as possible for the user and somewhat intuitive - and ACCURATE.
Its support for the router is built like a tank - not an accessory or an afterthought upgrade.
The internal - tighten and loosen either from the left or right side - parallel clamp - for both the vertical part and the horizontal part.
The "snap in guides" can only snap in place in 1/8th inch increments. A pencil line, even a relatively fat one, is all you need to locate a guide - you don't need to try and see alignment marks and get them to line up precisely.
No tools are required to tighten or loosen fingers for moving them. With the snap in guides you pop one out - move it - and snap it back in.
Lots more here
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/AKEDAdtJig/AKEDAdovetailJig2A.html
And don't believe ANY dt jig requires NO SET UP or TEST CUTS. Your parts will seldom be EXACTLY 1/2" OR 3/4" thick. You have to set the bit depth of cut to the ACTUAL stock thickness you HAVE.
As for the limited number of sources for buying an AKEDA - mine came missing some screws. I called AKEDA's 800 number and Kevan (Kevin) was the person I talked with. Two days later I had the screws - and an AKEDA DT bit as a Sorry About The Problem gift.
This thing is built to last so I doubt you'd need spare parts in the future. Oh - and WhiteSide carries AKEDA DT bits
Hope this doesn't come too late - and helps with your decision.
charlie b
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I think the Whiteside bits are for the original Akeda bits though, with the 1/4" shank and over/under size straight bits. Akeda now uses 8mm bits and over/under size router bushings, with a single straight bit. Woodcraft still has the old bits on clearance for $3/bit, along with extra guides.
And I will also echo that I had a slightly defective straight bit, and Kevan sent me out a new one no questions asked. Well, other than my address.
-Kevin
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On Jan 19, 4:10pm, snipped-for-privacy@YAHOO.COM wrote:

I have some of the Whiteside bits from Woodcraft and they are 1/4" shaft. Still a good deal though.
I just bought the standard sizes and not the over and under. I have the over and under bushings with my unit but I have never used them.
Mike - Sorry if there was any misunderstanding.
Jim
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