I was wondering what the wisdom is on selecting a dovetail jig. I
notice that Rockler, Woodcraft and others offer jigs ranging from $80
to $200 and seem to be limited to 12" wide boards and fixed or limited
On the other hand, Leigh and other offer jigs that can accommodate
boards up to 24" wide and have fully adjustable fingers but cost $300
So if you were going to purchase a jig, which would you go for; the 12"
fixed finger variety or the larger, adjustable variety?
We own both the Leigh and the Porter-Cable jigs here at the school.
If I was a cabinet maker making mainly kitchen cabinets I would buy
the Porter-Cable Omni Jig. I like the eaze and the quick set up of
making half-blind dovetails on the Omni.
If I was a furniture maker, I would buy the Leigh. I like the
versatility of the Leigh. I mainly cut through dovetails and prefer
the Leigh for this application. The Leigh comes with a video and an
excellant owner's manual.
Both jigs are built well and will give the user years of trouble free
Mike from American Sycamore
I have the leigh d4 and like it a lot. It's fairly complicated, but
it's a great tool. I really like the variable spacing. I use it on
nearly every project. It wasn't available when I got my jig, but
there's another one that does variable spacing (sort of). I think
it's called the akeda or something similar. IIRC, it can do variable
spacing, but with a granularity of 1/8", meaning that the inserts are
notched so that the fingers line up on a 1/8" boundary. I think the
dust collection was a lot better with that one. It's not so good on
the d4. Leigh sells this router attachment that hangs below the base
and sucks up dust. It makes the router unweildy though and only gets
maybe 3/4 of the dust. If I were to do it again, I would try making
them with a table saw and a saw blade with the teeth cut at the right
angle. I may try to do that anyway. That technique would make
thinner pins and would work better with plywood.
email@example.com (brian lanning) wrote in
I have the Akeda, and it's a great jig. You can do neat things with it,
and more are being developed. If you have a Wood show coming up, look for
the fellow from The Woodworker's Choice, doing the demo (gary something?)
They have a pretty good price package as well.
That having been said, for the pure skill-building of it, I have been
practicing making DTs with a good backsaw and chisels. Teaches humility,
who seems to need better glasses and lighting these days...
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