I'm considering a jig for dovetails. I've got a "Norm type" router
table as well as a couple of routers which could be used for a Leigh
jig. I just watched the three LS type Incra videos on youtube and am
reasonably impressed by their capability. I understand the infinite
spacing adjustibility of the Leigh system and like it. But, I'm not
sure how many dovetails I'm going to make in the next 20 years. I've
got one project now. Amazon has the Incra Super LS for $360 and the
Leigh seems to run $499.
Any thoughts to help me in my decision?
I have both, and use both depending on the project. My basic
Leigh where strength matters, or for mass production.
Incra where appearance matters, or for fancy/small joinery.
IMHO the Incra is much more flexible and precise, but the Leigh
produces a more robust joint in less time.
If you're not going to use either much, I'd go with the Incra, because
the fence system can do so much more than just dovetails.
It's not clear to me how one makes a through dovetail on the Incra jig
using only ont bit. I found one web page
(http://www.woodshopdemos.com/incra4.htm ) which indicates that you
have to do some minimal "carving". But, it doesn't make a lot of
sense to me exactly what's going on.
With the Leigh, it's rather obvious and you use two bits.
It's not intuitive until the first time you try it, then it makes a
lot of sense, once you *see* what's happening.. The carving is easy,
there's a little bump left over where the router bit can't quite cut
everything, but it's flat all around it so a flat chisel is all you
The problem with the way the Incra does it is that there's an air
bubble inside the joint, because you *can't* make a perfect dovetail
with just one bit. The Incra method cuts extra off the inside of the
pins, which weakens the joint slightly.
On Sep 16, 2:51 pm, email@example.com wrote:
I can help make it harder by tossing in the Akeda :)
I have a Leigh Super and the Akeda is on my wishlist. I have two main
issues with the Leigh. Getting the fingers to all be in the same
plane is a real pain. When flipping the guide over from tails to pins
it always seems to find a way to get offset somehow, so the joint fits
but the pieces are not flush. Even a smaller error there is
significant by the time you get around 4 corners, but sometimes it's
off so much I have to stop and adjust the stop to compensate - which
is not intended to be adjusted. I don't know how much better the
"real" Leigh is in either of these regards compared to the super. The
Akeda seems to completely eliminate both issues.
I don't know how to make dovetails. Period. I bought the Akeda, but
need to spend really serious time with the instructions for making
dovetails (I forgot who has posted the excellent drawings for this, but
they were posted several times, sorry, whoever, I apologize for my
Alzheimers). One thing I remember is that I am so clumsy that several of
the Akeda's fingers have already been damaged trying to make dovetails.
As I said, I need to spend serious time studying the concepts and
practicing making dovetails.
Get yourself the dvd "Dovetail a Drawer" with Frank Klausz. Watch it
about five times. You'll have a pretty good grasp of how a through
dovetail works, but you still won't believe how fast he does them by
Since no one else has chimed in with this, if you are only doing the
odd dovetail here and there, doing it by hand or cutting at the band
saw and removing the waste by hand is certainly a viable alternative.
I've cut many a dovetail at the band saw, if I only have a couple to
do it's easier to do it that way than go through the whole setup of
the Leigh. It's really not that difficult, and certainly a more
pleasant way to spend time in the shop than anything involving a
The Frank Klausz video on handcut dovetails covers a lot of ground
and he goes through the steps THREE times. So when the tape
or DVD ends you''re certain you GOT IT. Then you head to the
shop to do what you just learned. That's when you'll realize you
missed something important. So you go back check the DVD and
THEN you're certain you GOT IT. You repeat the To The Shop
and Back To The DVD several times.
That was my experience at least - which is why I put together
the process in a form I could print and take to the shop.
Re: The AKEDA dovetail jig and comparing it to the Leigh
Hope this helps
I too have both the Leigh (D4R) and the Incra LS positioner. One
limitation for the Incra is the size of the panel (length) you are
dovetailing. Trying to slide a very long board on its edge can be
difficult. The Leigh will do almost anyting that the Incra will do,
but the incr is also a fun tool to use and allows for "help" when
making projects. (Your help- if you trust them- can make the
adjustments while you do the cutting) I owned the Incra first but
bought the Leigh because of the Incra's limitations. The Incra is now
predominantly used as a router fence system and while most of my
joinery is on the Leigh.
My recommendation is contray to my own uses if you plan to make a few
small boxes/cases/ drawers. You will get more use from the Incra if
your plans don't call for mega joints.
And getting back to the "help" topic I mentioned above. If you have
any kids or a spouse who is interested in helping you that is a great
way to get them involved.
On Tue, 16 Sep 2008 19:51:30 +0100, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote
Well I'm still waiting on delivery of my Incra - it has a long way to swim -
and in the next couple of weeks I hope to vindicate my insane expenditure and
the very difficult and carefully considered research that preceded it.
I suspect, however, that I'll keep on using the Stott jig for anything big
and heavy, and I wonder if it's an option you've considered?
The home-made jigs are actually quite fun to put together, it's a breeze to
set up compared with the half-blind jig I've struggled with, (the
instructional vid on Stotman's web site is _extremely_ useful and
informative) and the joints appearance shouldn't upset the "I hate the HB
dovetail look!" Klan too much either.
Other plus points. It's the cheapest system (apart from no system) it can
produce joints of any length you care to assemble a jig to handle and if you
slip and gouge your jig, it won't wreck your bit or your investment - just
re-assemble the jig using a new template from the pile that you produced when
you were in "cloning" mode. You can paint it pink or blue if you want, or
leave it vanilla.
well, if you produce an obscenely high number of joints, the jigs will
probably need replacing occasionally - again from the pile that you produced
when you were in "cloning" mode.
The pins are fixed width - though you can leave out every second, third or
whatever to give a very basic variable spacing pattern.
It doesn't look hi-tech, though the jigs can be a bit of a talking point in
themselves, if that's an issue :-). (particularly if you paint it/them pink)
If you like the system but want more durability, you could always buy a
Keller and continue using that in the same way..
meanwhile, http://www.stots.com /
I'd invest in one and play with it and THEN decide, It is cheap enough to
consider the expense as "research."
That's my choice, then - Stotts and Incra. IF I were in volume production I'd
probably go for a Leigh or a Keller with two router operators, but I'm not,
so I chose differently.
Whatever you choose, it'll be right for you. Good luck with it.
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