I finally bit the bullet and bought a D4R.
In the past, I've been hand-cutting dovetails for fine work, and using
other joints, like lock miters and sliding dovetails cut on my router
table, for cabinetry and built-ins.
Facing a set of 19 drawers that need to be DT'ed, I Googled up jigs.
My searches narrowed things down to the Leigh, Akeda, and PC Omni-Jig.
The Akeda apparently isn't in production, or at least nobody bothers
to sell it, so it came down to the D4R and OmniJig. I was able to cop
a feel of each tool at some local merchants, both are well-made
The two main negative perceptions uncovered in my research came down
to the OmniJig's lack of flexibility, and the D4R's complexity. I
went for the Leigh, figuring I can always eBay it if things don't work
out. The jig arrived, and yesterday, I spent about 4 quality hours
with it and a Bosch 1617.
Results? Perfect sample drawers on the first shot, and I haven't even
seen the video yet! <G>
- This thing has THE BEST manual I've ever seen. The spiral-bound D4R
manual is more clearly written and easier to follow than anything I've
ever seen, including some top-notch manuals for high-end sound gear
and the pilot's operating handbooks for the spam cans I fly. The
manual's photos and illustrations are very well done on durable stock,
and the spiral binding won't close and lose your page. If the user
follows the instructions in order, including the sub-sections on
baseplate centering and routing technique, I can't see any reason a
perfect joint won't result.
- The flexibility of this thing is superb. Sizing of parts based on
tool limitation will not be required. Layout (except for the angle)
is as flexible as it is with my bevel gage, I can simply put things
where I want them, and do it.
- By following the manual steps in the order stated, I don't see
typical setup taking any longer than cutting a "warm-up" set when hand
- I followed the Leigh recommendation of scribing the bottoms to
prevent tearout, using a Veritas wheel cutting gage. This technique
makes the machine made joint look even more like a well-cut hand made
joint. I showed a set of hand cuts and a set of D4R cuts to (3)
people, who could not tell the difference.
Today, we do the real parts...