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Thread: PC Omni, Akeda or Leigh DT Jig??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    243

    PC Omni, Akeda or Leigh DT Jig??

    I've decided to try another jig. I am a weekend warrior and not a professional. I work with wood to keep my sanity, plus, I just enjoy it. Fighting with DT jigs and trying to get a good fitting joint with a stack of rejects at my feet is not fun.

    I own a older PC Omni. Don't recall the model number, but it's a 24" jig. I bought it new back in the day when it was the king of DT jigs. I also bought the sliding taper DT template and variable spaced through DT templates with it. I fought with this thing for days ended up making a few OK half blind joints, but set up just irritated me to no end. I've used it maybe four times in the last seven or eight years that I've had it.

    I recently upgraded my router table. I bought the Incra 17" super system, a lift and a wixey gauge. I have attempted to make a few DT joints with it, and was somewhat successful but not without a lot of aggravation. Without going into to much detail, it is my humble opinion that this "joinery system" is not designed to be used for anything with a stock thickness more than 1/2" or any sort of heft or size. It's made for frilly little boxes like those demonstrated in the videos that make it look "oh-so-frigin" easy to use.

    So now I'm looking at biting the bullet, spending some money and getting a jig that I won't procrastinate using because it's a down right pain in the ass to use. I've narrowed it down to the new PC Omni jig, Akeda and the Leigh. I'd appreciate some user input from folks who have used all three.

    I want a jig that will let me cut half blind and through DT's, both fixed and variable spaced. I do not want to have to build things around a pre-set jig joint spacing requirement. I also want it to cut sliding DT's. Dust collection would be great, or at least being able to see where the bit is working would be nice. At this point, price is not a consideration. I've already wasted enough money on wood to pay for a jig, I think.

    Thanks for your time......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Grand Forks, ND
    Posts
    2,236
    I have a the newer 24" omnijig, its a good jig but lots of fiddling around for setup. Its really nice for through dovetails, and half blinds. But the manual and bushings for variable spaced half blinds are way off. If I had it to do
    over I'd go with the akeda, I have read alot of reviews and comments on that jig and not 1 is negative.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Northern Utah
    Posts
    396
    + 1 Akeda, I have owned three new and old Leigh jigs, new and old PC Omnijig and the best one out of them was the Akeda. The Leigh was too confusing, PC, well you can DT faster with a TS.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    243
    Thanks for that input. It's exactly what I need.

    I just found a sight with a lot of good comparisons and reviews.

    http://www.thewoodshop.20m.com/dovetail_jig_compare.htm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    WV
    Posts
    3,881
    My opinion of these jigs (own a D4R) is that unless you use them on a regular basis they are just going to be confusing. You trade complete flexibility with a jig like the D4R for complexity in the setup. That said, after its setup its a flawless operation.

    We dont use our jig very often and every time we do there is a bit of anxiety trying to work through the setup because every time is like the first time.

    I liken this to watching one of the Incra videos, if you used that thing every single day in varying configurations, it would be like a second language. For me, and the amount I would use it, I dont think it would be such a poetry-in-motion type of thing.

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Country Club, MO, USA
    Posts
    897
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drew View Post
    ...I want a jig that will let me cut half blind and through DT's, both fixed and variable spaced. I do not want to have to build things around a pre-set jig joint spacing requirement. I also want it to cut sliding DT's. Dust collection would be great, or at least being able to see where the bit is working would be nice. At this point, price is not a consideration....
    Michael,

    I used a Leigh D4 for many years. I was never able to figure out why people seem to think it is such hard work to set it up and get perfect joints.

    Then, recently, I got the D4R Pro. I have been putting through the tests, to see how it compares to the old D4.

    The bottom line:

    1. It IS better than the D4 - more features.
    2. It makes half-blind dovetails in one pass.
    3. And it also makes 3/8" and 3/4" inch finger joints, without the need for additional templates.
    4. On top of that, you can vary the dovetail spacing infinitely, at wish.
    5. You can do sliding dovetails, too, and you are able to adjust the amount of taper you get with them by simply sliding back one side of the finger joint assembly.
    6. The dust collection is terrific.
    7. You can get many templates, which makes it one of the most extensible jigs today.

    One example of 3/8" finger joints:



    Another example, of 3/4" finger joints:



    As with the old D4, the D4R also makes inlaid dovetails - this is an example I made some time ago with the D4, one regular through dovetails, the other inlaid dovetails:



    Imagination is the only requirement; and Leigh also has terrific Technical Support and Customer Service, possibly the best in the industry.

    Al
    Al
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/images/buttons/fotc.gif
    Sandal Woods - Fine Woodworking

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Kodak, TN
    Posts
    746
    Michael,

    I went through some of the same frustration.

    I did a lot of research and watching other folks tell me why their DT jig was the best.

    I don't do DT's everyday or every month so I needed something with a short learning and re-learning curve. I purchased a 24" Akeda and I have never looked back. From the time UPS dropped it of, I had a perfect through DT the first time in 20 minutes and that includes reading the manual.

    See other comments in #13 here, http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...light=dovetail

    I'm sure it doesn't fit everyone but it sure fits me.

    PS- I didn't pay any attention to that "infinite setting" thing some folks put the Akeda down for. I has never held me back. In fact they have accessory for it if you think you need it. I am more interested in exact duplication if needed.

    Just my two cents(or less).

    Thanks,
    Jim

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    243
    Thanks Al, I did not know Leigh had a Pro version out with DC. I will have to look at that one closely.

    Jim, I love the KISS philosophy. The Akeda, if nothing else, gets a lot of "ease of use" comments.

    I've watched a few videos of Norm and others using the PC. I dunno, seams like a lot to remember with that thing. My choice is definitely narrowed down to the Akeda and Leigh Pro.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Country Club, MO, USA
    Posts
    897
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drew View Post
    Thanks Al, I did not know Leigh had a Pro version out with DC. I will have to look at that one closely...
    Michael,

    I probably caused some confusion, unintentionally. I should have said that you can also consider getting the VRS (Vaccuum & Router Support). It is very, very effective and, for the money, a must-have accessory. The VRS is available for just about all their models.

    Al
    Al
    http://www.sawmillcreek.org/images/buttons/fotc.gif
    Sandal Woods - Fine Woodworking

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Port Orchard WA
    Posts
    433
    Mostly because I don't cut dovetails all the time, and the intervals between are longt enough for me to forget all the ins and outs of a complicated system, I went with the Akeda. Very very simple, and I don't require "infinite" variable spacing. The 1/8" increments on the Akeda are more than sufficient for me, and more repeatable than an infinite adjustment. Dust collection is also great and doesn't require putting the collector on and off the jig all the time. I'm sure the PC and Leigh are great jigs, and they are intruiging, but the process is just too much for me no matter how easy they look at the shows!

    I do my box joints with the Incra fence on the router table as I can cut all four pieces at the same time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    1,392
    How about the Router Boss or Wood Rat? Do they have any merit? I use an Incra fence on my router table but it's not simple. I just cut some box joints tonight, they are good but a bit too tight. I think I'll go back to the tablesaw with my shop built fixture and Freud box blade for those. I built a DT jig for my table saw, but it's still complicated so I'm still looking for the perfect DT jig too. May try the band saw next.
    The Plane Anarchist

  12. #12
    Eight months ago, I was trying to determine which DT jig would be the best for me. This was to be my first jig, and simple but flexible was important.

    After reading everything I could find, I went with the Akeda. Went to order the 24" model from The Jig Store and was informed they were backordered until September and I would be put on the list and advised as soon as they were available.

    October came around and I had not heard from anyone so I attempted to order the 16" Model (in hindsight should have done that in March). That one is now backordered.

    Last week I contacted the Jig Store to see if they knew when they would be available. Short reply was see website, contact Akeda, we don't know.

    Emailed Kevan at Akeda:

    "Hi Daryl: Apologies, I've been away from the office all day and just
    catching up. I don't have an ETA at the moment. If you've reserved
    with The Jig Store, they will email you when they expect to have
    stock. - Kevan"


    Makes you wonder if they will ever be available again.

    In light of this info, which jig do you use now?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    879
    Another vote for the akeda.

    Its simple to use and has excellent dust collection. I spend very little time looking at the manual because its so intuitive. I'm using it right now for some Greene and Greene drawers. By moving the plastic pin/tail inserts after a round of cuts, variable spaced proud finger joints are easily done on the Akeda.

    ~mark

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    52,309
    I've always been a fan of the Leigh and own the D4. Although some others have added features to get similar flexibility, the Leigh has always been focused on creation of dovetail joints without limits. Nice folks to do business with, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    243
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    I finally cut some through DT's with my Incra yesterday. Man that sucker takes some time to set up..... I was so concentrated on the joints themselves that I pulled a bone head move and labeled my boards wrong and cut the tails in the top and bottom boards. All that work to cut a decorative type joint and I put it in the boards that will never be seen. Can't cut them out and re do either as that will make the cabinet too small. Dammit... Yep, I'm most definitely going to get something easier to use.

    One thing I am a bit troubled by with the Leigh, is the "infinitely adjustable" part. If there is no way to index the fingers mechanically, there is no way to have them repeatable. Even 10 thou of a difference can screw up a project. I think I'm leaning towards the Adeda. I can deal with an 1/8" limitation for finger positioning.

    The Akeda inserts look kinda cheesy to me, as well as how they snap in. I have not actually held these parts, so I'm only speculating here, but they look as if they are not very robust. The snap in feature also looks like it might be prone to premature wear. Those who have the Akeda have any input regarding this?

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