I'm thinking of taking the plunge on a decent dovetail jig. It looks
like the PC Omnijig has all the bells and whistles to make even me look
good. Now the 24 inch version has been slated for release several times
and now scheduled for sale in late February. Anyone think it would be
worth the wait? The instruction video, starring Norm, makes it look
almost foolproof. Anyone have any experience with the 16 inch version?
Is it worth the $450? Is there anything better out there?
Yes, there is better. Take a serious look at the Leigh D4R. It is the one
I own and use. It also was the "Best Overall" award by FWW in 11/06.
Only a little more expensive than the omni jig and MUCH more verstile. "Buy
once and cry once."
The Leigh jigs are the best, expensive. Expect to spend time learning
how to use it. I have a dovetail jig, but I now cut all my dovetails
by hand. This skill takes a week or so to learn, but you will be able
to make any size, any bevel, any width with a set of very few tools.
If you want to give hand cutting a try make sure you are using sharp
What is it with dovetail jigs all of a sudden?
Went through all the photos.
Sure are a lot of things sticking out all over the place.
Sure has a lot of screws to tighten and loosen.
Sure has quite a few nobs to turn.
Sure has some nice fine lines on the scale to align.
Sure seems to have plenty of adjustments to play with.
Sure has lots of moving parts.
Sure is BIG.
Sure is heavy.
I prefer the AKEDA idea - nothing sticking out anywhere,
(ok so there's the use and take off clamping nob thing)
- nothing to tighten and loosen since the guides "snap
in" and "snap out" WITHOUT any scales or fine lines to
see - and line up (get within just under 1/8th inch and
the jig design takes care of repeatability with just
a pencil line, and the pencil line only needs to be
thinner than 1/8"), no nobs to turn to get the clamps
close before cam levering tight, other than the
"get close and snap in" guides, only one external
part - and that's the removable clamping nob,
. . . AND - the router is supported - above the
guides - both front and back. Few parts, few moving
parts - no Flipping required at all.
Regardless of the jig, and the "feature" of the depth
of cut "setting accessory" - you MUST set the depth
of cut for the ACTUAL (as opposed to "nominal")
thickness of your stock - and that's a trial and
error / test cuts thing .
And for that reason, it's wise to get TWO of the
guide bushings for your jig and use TWO routers.
Switching back and forth between dovetial bit
and straight bit means losing your depth of cut
setting - even with the special depth of cut
Have fun watching the DVD with Norm and going
through the manual (in all three languages?). As
you use the Omni make notes to yourself as you
go so you can refresh your memory later without
having to go through the manual again.
Oh, pay particular attention to parts marking
and the procedure for for how parts must be
oriented for each step of the procedure. It's
very easy to cut nice tails and pins - not quite
as easy and obvious to get all the parts to fit
together properly AFTER they've all been cut
Oh - and don't bottom out the bit in the
router collet - it WILL jack hammer itself
loose and screw up your joint if you do.
Even though you probably are going to be
using a 2 or 3 hp router or two, the bits
are 1/4" or 8mm - and they stick out
quite a ways - so don't push the bit very
hard at all. Let it do the cutting and you
develop patience - again DAMHIKT.
Dovetails are nice - no matter how you
I'd like to see a demo of the Akeda at the WW Show. Be easier to
compare, side by side, so to speak, since the Omni Jig and Leigh are
always at these things. However, Akeda ain't to be found at t'all, at
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