Porter Cable Dovetail jig 4216 ! ! ! ! !

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Forum topic by gblock66 posted 06-12-2010 12:06 AM 13194 views 1 time favorited 56 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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58 posts in 3300 days

06-12-2010 12:06 AM

Hi All,

I hope there is someone out there that can help me with this. Im using a porter cable dovetail jig to make half blind dovetails. I have read and re-read the instructions over, and over, and over again. . .Im using the right template, im using the right dovetail router bit, i set it up the way the instructions tell me to, centering the vertical board (tails) between the dovetail spaces and setting the black guide lining up the horizontal piece (pins) with the offset. when im done routering and i go to join both pieces together they dont fit, the Tails are an 1/8” bigger then the pins. . . .this is driving me crazy. . .i dont get why they dont fit together. . .If anyone has any experience with this jig and making half blid dovetails. . .i would love to hear from you. . . .there has to be something im doing wrong. . .

56 replies so far

View doninvegas's profile


334 posts in 3301 days

#1 posted 06-12-2010 12:20 AM

Glock. sorry I really can’t help you. I bought the 4212 about 5 years ago and I could never could get dovetails to fit right. I was able to get sliding dovetails semi close but that was after a lot of trail and error. I finally throw it under my bench and never touched it again. If anyone as a secrete to these jigs I’d love to hear it. I feel your pain.

-- "Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway."

View Boris 's profile


190 posts in 3309 days

#2 posted 06-12-2010 12:29 AM

I am sorry to tell you this, but I had one of those portecable dovetail jig and I traded it for a lathe and I purchased a Veritas dovetail saw and woodriver chisel, I couldn’t figure out how to set it up

good luck

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4612 days

#3 posted 06-12-2010 12:31 AM

Gary, are you using the black guide on the right of the jig to set up your boards? You’re supposed to be using the guide on the left side of the jig.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Adam's profile


46 posts in 3548 days

#4 posted 06-12-2010 12:39 AM

Have you centered the bushing on your router. The jig does not come with a centering pin (cone?), it should. I bought one and it made a huge difference in the result. Also check you stock it must be flat, any warping or twisting etc will mess with the accuracy.


View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3317 days

#5 posted 06-12-2010 01:26 AM

I have a 4212. Gathers dust. Bought a Incra Positioner for my router and eliminated the alignment problems.

-- Life is good.

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3955 days

#6 posted 06-12-2010 04:04 AM

I have a 4216 and don’t have any trouble. Are you using the guides as Charlie said? Maybe a picture would help to understand your problem.

Porter Cable also has a supplemental instruction book that can be downloaded that helps understand the setup better.

-- Joe

View CyBorge's profile


79 posts in 3569 days

#7 posted 06-12-2010 04:20 AM

I have only used my dovetail jig once and it is a different brand, but the concepts may be similar. Once the boards are in position and lined up correctly (check this first!), there are two adjustments to tweak the fit.

The first adjustment is how loose or tight the joint is. This is determined by how deep your router bit is set to cut. If the fit is too loose, lower the bit slightly so that it cuts deeper. If the fit is too tight, raise the bit so that it cuts shallower.

The second adjustment is how flush the drawer pieces fit together. In other words, whether the drawer front sticks out from the side, is recessed, or aligns perfectly. This is determined by how far back the router is allowed to cut. My jig has a top-mounted fence to limit router travel front to back, though I don’t see why adjusting the template itself wouldn’t accomplish the same thing. After all, the router bushing runs into the back of the template’s finger holes at some point…

Edit: One other thing comes to mind. When you clamp the two boards into place, are you making sure they are lined up correctly? The top edge of the vertical board should be flush with the top face of the horizontal board. The boards should also be butted up against each other with no gap in between.

-- "How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?"

View Belg1960's profile


1089 posts in 3459 days

#8 posted 06-12-2010 02:11 PM

try looking on this thread looks like your not alone. Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3568 days

#9 posted 06-12-2010 03:00 PM

I think CyBorge has it right.

For me, depth of cut is the single biggest issue. The regular PC instruction book is—IMHO—crap, in this regard.

On the other hand, there IS good info in their advanced book .

Check Page 5, in particular.

When you DO get it figured out, they really DO work well !

EDIT: Ayup. Joe said the same thing. The link is above, though :-)

-- -- Neil

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4269 days

#10 posted 06-12-2010 04:04 PM

Yeah, I’m with the others who have said the bit height is the issue. This helps me remember – “Heighten to tighten, lower to loosen.” You have to remember that “height”=”bit projection”. Basically your joints are way too tight, so you need to lower (or retract) your bit.

@CharlieM1958 – you only use the left side of your jig?

-- -- --

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3680 days

#11 posted 06-12-2010 05:34 PM

I have the 4212 and found it relatively easy to set up. Like Adam, the only real issue I had was not having the template guide centered in my router. There had been a consistent gap on one side of every dovetail.

I started out with my Porter Cable 690 router but found fine-tuning the height was next to impossible. Switched to my Bosch 1617EVS and had no trouble setting everything.


View CyBorge's profile


79 posts in 3569 days

#12 posted 06-12-2010 05:36 PM

My jig’s manual has the same “heighten to tighten” line. It confused the heck out of me for a while, because what they call heightening I call lowering. :-) The forward/backward comments for the stop bar/fence were also confusing because, again, I interpreted those directions opposite of how the manual does. It makes for some interesting challenges when left is right, down is up, inside is out, and less is more!

-- "How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4612 days

#13 posted 06-12-2010 05:38 PM

Peter, my 4212 has an aluminum-colored offset guide on the left, and a black one on the right. The amount of offset is different on the two guides. As I recall without referring to the manual, the right side is for certain types of joints, but half-blinds need to be made on the left.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View gblock66's profile


58 posts in 3300 days

#14 posted 06-12-2010 06:28 PM

All. . .here is an update with pictures. . .the first picture is the jig all setup ready to cut the half blinds . .also this is the router bit and spacer and template the manual tells me to use. The second picture is the pins and tails cut. . .if you look close you can see the pins are slightly bigger then the tails. . .and the third picture is both pieces put together. . .they dont fit . . the cherry is 3/4” thick. . .my depth was 5/8” . If it’s lower to loosen i cant go any further down

View gblock66's profile


58 posts in 3300 days

#15 posted 06-12-2010 06:35 PM

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