Hello, I am looking for some advise on which Dovetail machine to buy. Right
now I would just be using it for some blind dovetail work on drawers, but
later I would like to use it on through dovetail projects. I have seen quite
a few on the web but wanted real input from people that have used them.
On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 19:20:29 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
|The Leigh D4 jig. Period.
That would be my *advice* too.
|> Hello, I am looking for some advise on which Dovetail machine to buy.
|> now I would just be using it for some blind dovetail work on drawers, but|> later I would like to use it on through dovetail projects. I have seen
|> a few on the web but wanted real input from people that have used them.
|> Thanks, Greg.
To expound upon my response.
The Leigh jig is NOT difficult to use. The manual is extremely detailed,
which some people interpret to mean complicated. It is not. The Leigh
people just provided illustrated step-by-step instructions.
The Leigh does take a small bit of time to set up and mount properly, but
considering the much expanded capabilities of the jig, this small investment
in time and effort up front is well worth it.
Finally, not only can you do half-blind and through dovetails, with infinate
combinations of variable spacing (up to 24" wide, by the way), the jig
allows you to do many other variations (double dovetails, angled dovetails,
etc.). You can also do 1/4" finger joints using the jig as delivered.
Due to the large capacity, you'll realize you can easily use this jig to
dovetail carcases for cabinetry, make large chests, etc. I looked at all
the options, including the Akeda, when I bought mine and I realized the
versatility of the Leigh just outpaced the others by heads and shoulders. I
suggest you check out the Leigh website (www.leighjigs.com) and go look at
the online manual for the Leigh. I think if you take a look you'll see it
isn't that complicated or difficult and that the options you'll have will be
welcome, not loathed.
On Tue, 17 Aug 2004 03:18:27 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
|To expound upon my response.
|The Leigh jig is NOT difficult to use. The manual is extremely detailed,
|which some people interpret to mean complicated. It is not. The Leigh
|people just provided illustrated step-by-step instructions.
And they will provide a video, at least they sent me one before I even
|The Leigh does take a small bit of time to set up and mount properly, but
|considering the much expanded capabilities of the jig, this small investment
|in time and effort up front is well worth it.
Agreed. While I have had mine for six months I'll confess to only
using it for a few projects, so I really have to learn it over each
time. Nevertheless, the last project included four graduated sized
drawers, requiring four setups and since I have one router, four
changes of bits (I was doing TDs) and I knocked them out quite
quickly, even when double and triple checking every step. It just
isn't that complicated.
The purists here will say that they could hand cut the DTs in the time
it takes me to set it up and I'm sure they are right. But I'm looking
at doing another bathroom and kitchen overhaul with lots of same sized
drawers, and frankly, I'm not looking for the "satisfaction" of doing
them by hand.
I will say tho that if plywood is involved, I'd try another method or
a different joint. I have not solved the tearout problem and neither
has Leigh; they caution against using it.
That is true, Mike, but when I need to do a kitchen's worth of drawers, all
the same, it becomes obvious to me that repeatability and consistency might
be more desirable than diversity. ;-) I'm not in Ian Kirby's or Frank
Klausz' league, not by a long shot.
For furniture, or decorative boxes, or similar, there is a joy to hand
cutting the dovetails a machine cannot match.
I agree, Mike. I'm actually getting halfway decent at doing handcut
through dovetails, but I still have a long way to go in terms of consistency
and speed. I figure I should master the TD before going on to half-blind or
(God forbid) even mitered or houndstooth dovetails. I'll get there
eventually. At any rate, if I have a project like a large carcase or
something, especially where the joint won't be visible, I think I can get
better results (or at least as good) faster than I will ever get handcutting
them. I just don't get enough practice. I will say this, though,
handcutting them is definately a lot more fun than using a loud, whining
There's nothing wrong with the Leigh D4. The design has stood the test of
But I bought an Akeda DC-16 about 18 months ago, because the Leigh had the
reputation of complexity, and the Akeda looked to provide a simpler, more
repeatable user experience, as well as some really neat features. The
design succeeded. I had rubber-mallet tight, variable spaced through
dovetails cut in a small blanket chest, all four joints, within an hour of
mounting the jig on the workbench. The first time. Half-blinds took me a
They, Akeda, struggled for a while, for a number of the same reason many
startups struggle, plus a fire at a neighboring facility. But they are
shipping again, and should be available at a Woodgraft near you (assuming
you are in the US.)
And they are nice people to work with, for tech support.
There are some good comparative reviews on the web.
There will be allot of advise for the Leigh but if all you want is half
blind dovetails for drawers, I would opt for a Jet or Porter Cable 4112 -
they are less money and do that job (and only that job) very well. If
dovetails of both half blind and through are something you intend to use
regularly, then the price and learning curve of the Leigh is probably worth
it. Personally, I can't justify having that much money in something I use
so sparingly for drawers only.
Try the site below. No ads, no products to sell, no solicitung $$$,
just good advice from a guy with a LOT of hands on experience. Good
review of the top jigs available.
On Mon, 16 Aug 2004 13:15:22 -0600, "melissasjohnson"
The Leigh is too expensive and a little hard to master.
Check out Akeda -- it's dust collection is best.
Woodhaven has a nice one, too.
The basic Woodhaven apparently only does half-blind dovetails. By the
time you add a through dovetail template, you're pretty close in price
to the "too expensive" Leigh, and you still don't have variable spacing
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.