I pulled out the long dollar and bought a D4R based on discussions with
other users, much of it here. My main priorities were:
- Adjustable spacing
- Half & through DT's
- Ease of setup and use
The D4R has totally blown me away, and I'd buy it again. I wouldn't
call it "easy" to use, but the manual is probably the best written,
easiest to follow example of documentation I've EVER seen. If I follow
ALL the steps, in the order written, I get perfect results every time.
I didn't think I'd need the width, but I've learned to use both ends for
I _still_ haven't even bothered to watch the DVD included with the jig.
The manual is that good! <G>
If you only need one kind of DT, or don't care about spacing, save money
and look elsewhere. The D4R fits my requirements, yours may be different.
Depends on your needs but the Porter Cable would be hard to beat
for the money.
The real nice Omnijig that was introduced at the IWF has not
brought out yet but that is going to be a killer product. I
got a peek at the jig at the show. It will very easily
compare to the Leigh jig. Prices were not available.
For garden variety work, the above jig is quite nice and
is currently about $169.
The Leigh is a fine jig but I find that a jig with a
400 page manual is just a wee bit much. I also think that
it is vastly overpriced.
Norm is probably responsible for that since he made it
Alan Smithee wrote:
Have you used the jig?
I only ask because the manual has discrete sections, which you use based
on the particular joint you need to cut. Some of the information is
repeated in every section. Once you've cut a type of DT, the next pass
through the manual is more like a checklist vs. a detailed read. A good
30-40 pages of the manual is devoted to initial assembly, and another
large chunk is devoted to detailed theory of how each operation works.
Typical operations are 8-10 pages long.
Had I not used the jig, I'd agree with you about the daunting size of
the manual. <G> I still haven't bothered to read the theory sections.
At some point, if you don't already have one, you're gonna have a
router table. And it's gonna have a fence. And if you want to do
half blinds and through dovetails, as well as box/finger joints and
perhaps DrawerLok or MiterLock joints, maybe even raised panel
doors or box lids - you're gonna look at Incra and JoinTech fence
"systems" because a shop made, clamp on fence ain't gonna do it.
I skipped over the dovetail jigs and got the JoinTech - which I
recomend. Replaceable zero clearance fence inserts, dust collection
through the inside of the sqaure extruded fence, T-slots on top for
attaching hold downs, stops etc., fence moveable in 0.001" increments
(click indicators for each step of course), . . .
The jigs - well you'll only use them for dovetails and maybe finger
joints. A router table, with the JoinTech Cabinet Maker System -
well that'll get used a LOT more often - and you don't have to buy
"special" router bits.
Now if you have a cabinet saw with an extension table, and your
router is mounted in the extension table, JoinTech has the Saw
Train - which does everything the Cabinet Maker System does
PLUS you have a precision positionable fence.
When you think of machine making dovetails - skip the jigs and
get a JoinTech!
Here's my router table set up - ALL the joinery done with the
JoinTech. And this was my second or third woodworking
Before you buy a "jig" at least have a look at what this puppy
other than being a very satisfied customer, I have no connection
I've had Incra Jigs for years, and I love them for some work, especially fancy
or "creative" projects.
But for repetitive tasks, like building drawers, they're a tedious PITA with
continuous resetting and multiple passes. My Leigh D1600 is far easier to setup
(just once), and a single pass cuts all the pins (or tails) with absolute
accuracy (no chance of ruining a workpiece by being "off one notch" when moving
I've been working my way up though the less expensive jigs with mixed
success. I started with a Craftsman that didn't hold the work very
well. I upgraded to the Porter Cable 4112 which works well but
doesn't do through dovetails. When the Porter Cable 4212 Deluxe model
came out for $150 and it did through dovetails, I jumped on it and
thought I was done. However, I don't like the looks of the 4212
joints, they seem too big for draws and the bits provided with the jig
are very low angle (7 degrees?). This low angle results in dovetails
that almost look like box joints. For my last project with draws, I
went back to the 4112. The bottom line here for me is that I'm on my
third jig, am not happy, and have spent almost as much at the cost of a
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