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Fast Joint Mini ornamental joinery jig

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Review by Madmark2 posted 02-06-2021 01:24 AM 1192 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Fast Joint Mini ornamental joinery jig Fast Joint Mini ornamental joinery jig Fast Joint Mini ornamental joinery jig Click the pictures to enlarge them

Recently I was looking for a jig to cut ornamental dovetails on a router table.

Project links:
  • See Blog entry on first project—box for the jig itself.
  • 2nd project — Valentines wall clock — blog HERE
  • 3rd project — Easter Shrine — blog HERE
  • 4th project — Indoor Car Stereo — blog HERE

Looked at the Leigh LDJ400 and it looks great but is too big for the space I have.

Used to have (20+ yrs ago) a PC dovetail jig that took a lot of space and time to set up. I want something that I can easily set up and dial in WITHOUT a dedicated router.

I was planning on doing smaller stuff down to 1/4”x1/4” finger joints. No chests or big drawers needed.

I liked the size and scale of mini (or at least smaller) patterns.

Realistically I expect to be working with 1×6 resawn to 1/4” x 5-1/2” max. So a 6” wide jig would do it.

Seen threads on “best” but this is a “best” of a specific subset.

Money, as always, is an object. I m willing to pay good $$$ for a GOOD tool, but I’d like to keep it less than the mortgage.

So now I’ve chosen the ”Fast-Joint Mini” from:

Peachtree Woodworking Supply Inc.
6684 Jimmy Carter Blvd.
Suite 100
Peachtree Corners, GA 30071
(770) 458-5539
PTREEUSA.COM

The Fast-Joint Mini showed up in a deceptively small box. All pieces and parts present and assembly was a slow hour to try and get everything right. Overall fit & finish was excellent with the slight exception of some milling flash on the stop blocks. However this flash has no effect on the proper operation of the jig.

The tricky part of using the jig is layout. To make a symmetrical layout with no partial tabs you need to be sized on a multiple of the tab spacing.

There are four pattern plates with different tab counts and spacings over the 6” jig:
  • Heart – 6” / 5 = 1-3/16”
  • Crown – 6” / 5 = 1-3/16”
  • Key – 6” / 5 = 1-3/16”
  • Lock – 6” / 4 = 1-1/2”


Heart


Crown

So using the five tab templates the perfect spacings are:
  1. 1-3/16” – not clampable
  2. 2-3/8”
  3. 3-9/16”
  4. 4-3/4” – jig actual is 4-11/16”
  5. 5-15/16” – jig stop is fixed at 6”
The four tab Lock template works out as:
  1. 1-1/2” – not clampable
  2. 3”
  3. 4-1/2”
  4. 6”

In either case the single tab size is not an option since the smallest the clamp block will move to is 2”. Even this is problematic because the clamp arms collide at close distances.

There is sufficient space on the clamping blocks to move the middle and end clamps to one side by 1/4”. This will offset the clamps just enough to get closer than 2”. This will also make the hold points shift accordingly but I don’t think this will impact proper holding – (after using it, I’m sure that holding force won’t be impacted)

The notes show the limits on full tab cuts but there also limits on widths for random width pieces.

The middle clamp has only about 11/16” of adjustment in 1” spaced holes. This means at each position there are a series of 5/16” wide “unclampable” zones from:
  • 2-11/16” to 3”
  • 3-11/16” to 4”
  • 4-11/16” to 6”

The dead zone can be cured by drilling additional 1/4-20 mounting holes midway between the existing sets. This would relieve the dead zones except from 4-3/4” to 6”.


Assembled and ready to go!

The concept is great and it seems simple enough to align and use. Everything had arrived, the jig, the bushings, the bushing plate, the bit. I got it all together and was about to mount the bit when I couldn t find the 1/2” to 1/4” collet adapter. ARRRRRRRRRRGH!


1/2” hole will swallow the 1/4” shank bit.

$20 later the collet adapter is on its way.

… time passes …

The collet adapter showed up along with a couple of spare bits. I ordered another 3482 router bit that comes with the kit. This is a HSS cutter and I prefer carbide (Don’t start!)

I was told that “any standard” 3/16” bit would work but that isn’t perfectly correct. The bit needs to be 1/4” longer than the maximum side stock thickness. This is to compensate for the 1/4” jig thickness. So if you use 3/4” stock the bit needs to be 1” long – and most “standard” 3/16” carbide cutters are only 3/4” (sigh).


3482 at top is 1”, Freud solid carbide is only 3/4”

Amana makes model 45205 3/16” x 1” carbide cutter for about $20 + s&h. I’ll have to order one and see.

As per the instructions I checked the collar / bit centering and the bit was just touching the side of the insert. After pulling the four router plate mounting screws and cleaning out the dust I was able to coax the plate and collar to center on the bit as best as I could see with these old eyes (I really am losing my close vision without a klieg light!)

Once the bit was centered everything was ready to go. I started cutting pins on 1/4” stock and found that the tips of the pattern would break off. I tried oak and purpleheart with the same unsatisfactory results with 1/4” stock.


1/4” stock the tips of the pins break off.

There are four pattern plates in the set. These results were from using the Locks pattern. The other pattern plates, specifically the Keys plate, may work better on 1/4” stock.

The clamps quickly unscrew and reattach making pattern plate changes fast and easy, realistically under a minute.

With 1/2” stock the results are better. This thickness works with the 3/4” length bits.

The wingnuts on the clamps make changing thicknesses simple. Loosen the wing nut a half turn, spin the screw shaft and snug down the wing nut when the clamping force is right. You can test the force without tightening the wingnut so adjustments are fast.

I cut pins on 1/2” stock without any problems. 3/8” remains to be tested.


1/2” stock cuts perfectly.

Likewise the tails cut well in 3/4” pine stock.


Tails cut into 3/4” pine.

The final joint fit together on the first try. I cut both ends of two pieces and got the orientations correct on the first try.


Completed joint

Here is a complete Heart joint.


This is just the second project using the jig. Tight fit, eh?

Overall I give it an A-. The jig fits together well and cuts more or less as advertised. I like that the bit height is much less fussy than other jigs. The instructions are clear and easy to follow on both assembly and use.

One drawback I noticed that you’re basically working blind when cutting tails unless you lean over the jig. This is a common issue with other jig brands as well. However guiding by feel isn’t hard.

A nice feature is that you can lift the jig, stock and all, up so you can check the cut progress. Nothing in or on the jig wants to move and I was able to clear a missed cut without the jig shifting.

It works well with a few reservations, I think its worth the price.

… time passes …

The more I use it, the more I like it. Here is a project with different patterns on each end of both sides:

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!




View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

2647 posts in 1668 days



7 comments so far

View mel52's profile

mel52

2061 posts in 1344 days


#1 posted 02-06-2021 04:12 AM

Great review and pictures, Madmark. May have to look into this. Thanks for showing. Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

3546 posts in 4024 days


#2 posted 02-06-2021 05:14 AM

Thanks for the info. Well put together and quite informative.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7076 posts in 1901 days


#3 posted 02-06-2021 01:34 PM

Good and thorough review Mm2. Got me quite interested.

Unfortunately Peachtree wont be getting my shekels, however, I believe Leigh offer a similar comb for their D4R... All these years I’ve been ignoring it, but you have whet my appetite.

Thanks for the info.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

5240 posts in 3068 days


#4 posted 02-07-2021 12:07 PM

Great review … thanks !

It makes interesting joints .

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7667 posts in 1654 days


#5 posted 02-07-2021 07:20 PM

Nice review Mark.

-- Think safe, be safe

View sras's profile

sras

6071 posts in 4209 days


#6 posted 02-13-2021 05:34 PM

Nice review Mark. I like the idea of using the table for something like this vs holding a router.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1300 posts in 991 days


#7 posted 02-14-2021 11:31 PM

I was looking at this a year ago and decided not to get one. After your review, I put this back on my wish list. Checked with other suppliers, and I was only able to find this jig on Peachtree woodworking website. I like that you can purchase the extra templates separately, you don’t have to purchase all twenty templates.

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