MLCS - 9094 (#8706) 12" Steel Dovetail Jig (Rating: 2)

Don't you love having to fix something, out of the box, that you bought, new.
I bought a dovetail jig from MLCS.
I open it up and start to assemble it and there are problems, right off the bat.
You can see in the following pictures that half of the six bolts on it are bent.





What you can't see is that the template brackets were also bent and the
jig body was out of square. (The jig body holds the stock together at 90degrees)

Of course, they offered to replace it, but I would have to ship it back to them and wait for them to get it, until they send another one back. And I don't want to pay to ship something back… then wait a couple more weeks until I could use it.

So I decided to repair it, myself.
(I spoke with MLCS and told them I was going to see if I could bend the parts back without them breaking. The pictures I took are for for the record.)

That's what I did, I bent them back and put it together. It worked fine… I guess. It turns out that the out-of-square jig body also needed to bent back to 90 degrees, because I was getting dovetails that help the joint at an acute angle. The jig body was at an obtuse angle, and since the stock is held together upside-down in the jig, it makes sense that the assembled angle would be opposite.

First of all, I know I got a lemon and I know I could've sent it back. But I find it hard to believe that just about every part of this jig was bent to some degree and it was a fluke. Maybe so, maybe it had been dropped down a flight of stairs, or maybe it was a return. Enough about that, now on to the things that weren't "defects."

I know this is a budget jig, but there are some things they could do to make it MUCH better and much easier to use.
First off, as others often find, the clamps are too smooth and the stock often slips.

All it would take would be to add some sandpaper or rubber to this piece.

Next…
The instructions call for making a set-up block that helps position the template in the correct position. You need to mark a scrap with a line 19/32" from the edge. You then position the template so that this line is at the gullet of the teeth.


The main flaw with this procedure is that, in order to have it set properly, the line is hidden under the template. One quickly discerns that it is prudent to mark a line proud of 19/32" and set the template so you can see the line a bit, as in the second picture.
I went a step further and glued an mdf stop that rests against the back of the template and holds it in the proper position.



I think they could've easily marked 19/32" ON the template with some score lines, as pictured here in sharpie marker.


Also, I don't have a picture of this, but the template is bowed slightly, so that it is higher in the middle. This causes it to sit off the stock a bit, which effects the depth of the dovetail cut. I'm going to see if I can bend it back flat.

So anyway…. I know, I know, you get what you pay for.

UPDATE

I was able to bend the template to flat…
and I added sandpaper to the clamp bars.
I noticed it now takes much less pressure to securely hold the stock in place, which will help prevent the bars from bending when using narrower boards.