Dovetail Jig

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by brunob posted 10-29-2007 05:17 PM 2492 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4436 days

10-29-2007 05:17 PM

I’m considering buying a dovetail jig and am looking for recomendations. Obviously, price is a considerating but I’m also considering versatality. Any suggestions would be helpful…and thanks in advance.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

15 replies so far

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 4359 days

#1 posted 10-29-2007 05:21 PM

I shared a bit of my experience with the Porter Cable 4212 in one of my blogs

-- Paul, Kentucky

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4428 days

#2 posted 10-29-2007 05:42 PM

The Leigh jigs offer a lot of features, but are expensive. The D4R is 24”, with adjustable dovetails. You can make them look home made by variable spacing, or space the dovetails evenly across your work. There are also attachments for making box joints, or even various other shaped dovetails.

Leigh also has a new line of jigs that are a bit less expensive. A few less features, but a lot of the same capability. You might want to check them out.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Dekker's profile


147 posts in 4147 days

#3 posted 10-29-2007 05:52 PM

Actually, it all depends on what you are doing with the jig.

I had a great experience with the cheap $20 hardware store jig. Of course, they are very limited in size.

-- Dekker -

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4141 days

#4 posted 10-29-2007 07:59 PM

I don’t know how much the dovetail jigs cost that you are looking at, but you might want to consider something “outside the box.” I have a dovetail jig that collects cobwebs and dust. I think they are good if you really need to make a lot of dovetails at one time, such as a full kitchen full of cabinet drawers. Because they tend to take a while to set up.

But depending on the type of work you are doing, what you might want to consider is an Incra system. They are very pricey. And it is not like me to spend that much on tools, but my Incra router table fence has changed the way I do everything. Just go on their website and see some of their demonstration videos. The only reason I like spreading the word about Incra is that I wish I had known sooner myself.

My blog about Incra
Incra's Website

-- Happy woodworking!

View bobdurnell's profile


317 posts in 4164 days

#5 posted 10-30-2007 12:06 AM

I avoided the “dovetail joint” for a long time and finally got the Keller jouneyman dovetail jig. Found it to be easy, user friendly, and practically mistake proof. Price was about $150. I have used it five times with great results. When I see David Keller, the maker of it at tools shows he says to send him pictures of the results. The last time I saw David I told him how I used the dust collection fixture that Rockler has to handel the dust problem. Sent him a picture of the set up. I might see him at the Woodworking Show at the Coasta Mesa Fair grounds the Friday November 2, 2007. The advantage to the Keller system is that it can make an unlimited length of dovetail, however the disadvantage is that it only makes a through dovetails.

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View mot's profile


4922 posts in 4303 days

#6 posted 10-30-2007 12:15 AM

Worth a look. Akeda Jigs I’ve owned the Leigh D4-R and Akeda concurrently. I kept the Akeda. The Leigh is a wonderful jig. Having both in my shop, the Akeda was the winner for me in ease of setup, repeatability, and retention of how to use it. The Leigh has a GREAT manual with hundreds of very useful pages. The Akeda doesn’t need hundreds of pages.

Just something to consider. The PC4212 is also a worth jig for a template based jig.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4229 days

#7 posted 10-30-2007 12:35 AM

I’ve got a Porter-Cable 12 inch. It seems to do OK. I haven’t had a chance to do the through dovetails with it yet. I’ve only had it a couple years. LOL

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View mot's profile


4922 posts in 4303 days

#8 posted 10-30-2007 12:37 AM

Lots of different ways to skin that cat, eh, Tom.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Myron Wooley's profile

Myron Wooley

226 posts in 4163 days

#9 posted 10-30-2007 01:26 AM

At Palomar College’s annual woodworking award potluck, I won the Route-R-Joint Precision Dovetail Joinery System from Woodline USA as a door prize. I’ve been very impressed with it’s performance and simplicity.

-- The days are long and the years are short...

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4436 days

#10 posted 10-30-2007 02:16 AM

My thanks to all of you. Got lots to consider. I think I’ll spend the evening visiting web sites.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View edp's profile


109 posts in 4227 days

#11 posted 10-30-2007 02:41 AM

I am a Keller man through and through. As a point of information, the keller will also make blind dovetails with a simple adjustment. That is what the slots on the one plate are for.


-- Come on in, the beer is cold and the wood is dry.

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 4155 days

#12 posted 10-30-2007 04:15 AM


I honestly believe that it is worth learning how to cut dovetails by hand. A friend of mine has a Leigh jig and it takes him more time to set it up than it takes me to cut dovetails on a box. If you want to work with thin materials (5/16 say) you just cannot use a jig without infinite care. Unless you have to do a lot of drawers, or you work only with a single width (say 3/4”) a jig is not worth it. Due to he high setup time most professionals dedicate one router to dovetails (they never remove the dovetail bit).

Now, it takes a while to learn to cut dovetails by hand but then it becomes pure fun.
Especially if you want to use the dovetails as a decorative element, handcut dovetails look natural but jig made dovetails look artificial (too lined up, obviously made by a machine; most people cannot tell the difference but can “feel” the difference).


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Dano's profile


222 posts in 4298 days

#13 posted 10-30-2007 05:59 AM


I bought a PC 4212 and was intimidated at the whole dovetail thing but when it came time to give it a go it worked flawlessly. The very fist one was good and with some tweaking (very little) they came out great. I had some trepidation since another LJ had just tried a Rockler jig and was having trouble and I was worried I’d do likewise but I watched a pod-cast from woodworking on line and went at it, I am now looking forward to my next project using dovetails!

BTW, I caught a special from Coastal Tool on mine and got the 4212 with the miniature template free. I recommend it (just remember I am hardly experienced).

-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!

View mski's profile


439 posts in 4247 days

#14 posted 10-30-2007 11:35 PM

brunob, Like Blake I give a vote for the Incra Jig, I have the LS positioner , I was looking for a dovetail jig and the better ones are expensive and time consuming to setup, I got the Incra and never regeted it, I have a dead on accurate router fence, jointer, box joint jig, dovetail jig with an endless combination of types of joints, and more.
The jig cost about what I was going to spend on the Leigh.
The setup is quick and simple. I wish I could cut them by hand like Alin , he is also right the Incra is so precise they do look CNC or machine cut.


View CharlesNeil's profile


2475 posts in 4137 days

#15 posted 10-31-2007 12:07 AM

well for what its worth my two cents have to go to the Katie jig,its adjustable and i like the long narrow 8 degree dovetails,I also like keller.,Ive not really tried the others as The katie has served me well ,i aslo have a keller and it has done me well also, for many years i hand cut everything and still do alot but both keller and Katie use the longer thinner dovetail that closely resembles my own handcut preference, here is alink where im using a katie if ya want to see it

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics