My Akeda jig arrived this week and I had the opportunity to set it up and
do some test cuts in preparation for drawer construction.
- This is a beefy piece of equipment and well constructed. I got the "C"
accessory kit with it that includes dust collection and additional fingers
for other dovetail angles.
- Fit and finish are excellent
- The fact that the jig supports the router on both sides is a huge plus.
That was really one of the Leigh jig's downfalls
- After only a couple of test cuts, I had fully fitting dovetails.
- The Akeda setup eliminates a large number of variables inherent in the
Leigh jig: a) router fully supported prevents tipping and also prevents the
finger supports from flexing or torquing while moving the router b)
changing from pins to tails does not involve flipping the fingers and
having to re-set the jig on the guides, thus repeatability is enhanced. c)
The clamping mechanism is much sturdier and less prone to flexing
- Dust collection, the system allows connection to dust collection. I
hooked up my shop-vac, an old, cheap, Shop Vac brand from Walmart over 20
years ago. Even with that vintage shop-vac, dust collection is good. Some
dust gets by, but nothing like the Leigh jig. One does not spew dust into
one's face when using the Akeda. I suspect even without the dust
collection kit, dust would be pretty well contained and localized instead
of spewed across the shop. There is an option to flip the clear window to
get more vacuum velocity by inverting it and making a narrower opening. I
did that originally, but had some of the cuttings plug the passage created
by the window in that position. The manual identifies this possibility and
recommends putting the window into the other configuration if this happens.
In only a few hours, I had gotten the system setup, identified the needed
techniques, and have built the frames for a box and a drawer prototype with
1/2 blind dovetails and am ready to finish cut my drawer stock and go into
production for the end table drawers.
- One is constrained to 1/8" increments for positioning vs. the "infinite"
positioning on the Leigh jig. I really don't see this as a huge impediment
since the payoff is dead-on repeatable positioning for both pins and tails.
This also drives the likelihood that one will not have symmetrical pins.
That is not a huge issue since the jig has the precision that allows
mirroring the joint at each end of the jig. This does drive a requirement
to be very meticulous about marking the stock and which joint is cut on
which end of the jig.
- The jig tail fingers are wide, restricting the number of tails that will
fit on a board. I have typically done 3 tails, the Akeda will require
using only two.
- The way one cuts the tails for 1/2 blind joint requires that the router be
guided along the front of the jig to cut the 1/2 blind inset, then route
the tails. Care needs to be exercised between tails to avoid cutting into
the tail itself (it's easier to see if you look at the information on the
Akdeda website). This is really more of a technique issue and certainly
not a major show-stopper.
All in all, thus far I am a happy camper and am looking forward to getting
the end table drawers completed.
If anybody in the Tucson area is interested in a Leigh D4 jig with several
bits, I've got one available that I'd be willing to part with for $275.
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough