Leigh R9 Plus Dovetail Jig initial impressions

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Review by Jake Willet posted 01-23-2012 07:50 AM 12740 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Leigh R9 Plus Dovetail Jig initial impressions Leigh R9 Plus Dovetail Jig initial impressions Leigh R9 Plus Dovetail Jig initial impressions Click the pictures to enlarge them

New on the market from Leigh is a consumer friendly dovetail jig. Assembly takes an hour. The instructions tell you to use 5/8” mdf. I had a hell of a time finding this and ended up stealing it from the top of a rolling tool cabinet at work. The beam assembly was pretty straightforward. 8/4 beam and 5/8” mdf. The way you have to use this necessitates using 5/8” material as a backer board. I cut 12 backer boards. I used 1 for an initial test. The jig worked great and I cut my tails with no tearout. Then I cut the pins without rotating the backer board and I got some tearout. My fault. I’m sure it would have turned out better had I rotated my backer board. I have pics of the dovetail with tearout but am constrained by the 3 pic max. Again, it was my fault, but my dovetails were not acceptable.

I have received a new set of bits for this jig that will allow me to use more dovetails per inch of drawer. I’ll give this a try soon and let you know how it goes. I’ll be sure to better manage my backer boards so I can post a pic that gives an accurate representation of the product.

Of note, half-blinds are not possible with this jig. Unless I am unaware of the possibilities of the new bit kit I riceived. I’ll be trying these soon and will post the results.

View Jake Willet's profile

Jake Willet

28 posts in 3560 days

5 comments so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3875 days

#1 posted 01-23-2012 11:42 PM

I’ve been curious about this jig since I first saw it advertised. I already own a Leigh jig, the Super 12, and I like it very much for variably spaced through dovetails. I like that I can create the illusion that I am doing hand cut dovetails.

I think I would be very interested in the R9 if I did not already own the Super 12. Many of the cheaper, more basic dovetail jigs only do half blind dovetails with no option for variable spacing. When done, they look like they were machine cut in a factory. IMO, a through dovetail has a classier look and, for the same money, I think I would prefer the Leigh R9 to some of the cheaper blind dovetail only jigs.

However, based on what I see, variable spacing does not appear to be an option with this jig. I could be wrong about that. If so, I would appreciate the correction.

Based on my experience with the Super 12, I feel that Leigh makes quality products and I would expect the same with this product despite the fact that its capabilities seem limited.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4309 days

#2 posted 01-24-2012 03:45 AM

Good post. If you have a router table, these jigs are much easier to use and you’ll have more control upside down.

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View felkadelic's profile


220 posts in 3340 days

#3 posted 01-24-2012 06:57 AM

I’ve been curious about this since I saw it in a Rockler e-mail. The one review on the Rockler site was very negative, although I believe that consumer didn’t really understand what he or she was buying.

View semi75's profile


78 posts in 3700 days

#4 posted 01-24-2012 04:36 PM

I watched the videos when this came out at Highland hardware and thought to myself then, “I’m not sure how easy I can find 5/8 mdf.” It looks like a real pain to set up for the first time but there is the savings factor. Thanks for the review.

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 4041 days

#5 posted 02-07-2012 09:59 AM

I bought one, have set it up, and if you read the directionscarefully, on the drawing it does allow for 3/4” MDF as well. That’s what I had, and used it with no issues.

The making of the beam is critical to the use of the jig (for more than a 9” set of dovetails), but once done, it works as described.

The jig is OK, and it does what it says. When cutting the fist set of tail boards, you must get used to cutting every other slot, but it works.

As I needed to dovetail 3 20” panels, I made a 40 ” beam, and bought an additional set of locator plates. With a lot of test cuts to dail in the e-bush setting and a considerable amount of knashing of teeth, the dovetails are where they are supposed to be.

Overall, for a first experience using any dovetail jig, the results were satisfactory. Now i have to learn a bit more about finessing those scribe lines…......

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

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