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Thread: Dovetail Jig - "Conventional" vs. Router Table

  1. #1

    Dovetail Jig - "Conventional" vs. Router Table

    I have an old, old jig that I'd like to retire and get newer technology.

    I'm trying to decide between a "conventional", benchtop jig versus a router table jig.

    Has anyone tried both and do you have a preference?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    1,606
    I have the incra system. And one of the earlier Leigh jigs. And a woodrat (with DRO).

    Honestly I just cut them by hand these days. Sometimes I will run the tails on the wood rat.

    The Leigh is 'ok' but still tedious to setup and get dialed in.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    greensboro nc
    Posts
    192
    I have the dovetail wiz that peachtree woodworking sells and I truly love it,,,i have 2 routers I use,,one with the tail bit and the other with the pin bit in it so I wont need to do a change over,,,,its a very simple operation,,,there is you tube videos to tell you how to use it and its actually so simple,,,keller makes the same system but I decided on the dovetail wiz,,,i would recommend it highly to someone who wanted to cut thu dovetails,,,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    NE Connecticut
    Posts
    535
    I think the limitation of a router table jig is that you are limited as to the size of the pieces you can use - a 6 foot board is going to be really hard to handle on a router table, even assuming you have the ceiling height for it. Similarly, router table jigs are narrower than some "traditional" jigs like the Leigh D4R which goes up to two feet wide, I think.

    If you're just doing drawers, though, a router table jig might be worth a look.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    2,627
    I've had a few different jigs over the years including the Incra and BIG P-C but few years back I was looking at the Leigh RTJ400 and bought it mostly because it is compact and easy to store in my space limited shop. I don't make DT's all the time but find it to be the easiest to set up and use - very short learning curve. My router table is on the tall side so I attach a 5x7 camping mirror to the RT fence to easily see what I'm doing. Would highly recommend this jig - there was a new one in the classifieds that you might want to check out.

    Mike

  6. #6
    The Keller jig and 2 routers works well for me.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Goetzke View Post
    I've had a few different jigs over the years including the Incra and BIG P-C but few years back I was looking at the Leigh RTJ400 and bought it mostly because it is compact and easy to store in my space limited shop. I don't make DT's all the time but find it to be the easiest to set up and use - very short learning curve. My router table is on the tall side so I attach a 5x7 camping mirror to the RT fence to easily see what I'm doing. Would highly recommend this jig - there was a new one in the classifieds that you might want to check out.

    Mike
    Thanks, Mike. I was curious about the RTJ400. I use an Excalibur lift in my router table, so I should be able to get very accurate results. I'm a little apprehensive about another Leigh - They're great jigs, but the setup is not trivial. I had one and sold it - It took me forever to set up to make one joint...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    100
    I have the Stots/Milescraft Master template system, Handheld or Table. Also the General EZ-Pro II, handheld.
    I tweaked both of the systems to minimal setup and adjustments, to achieve precision, repeatable results. I use 1/4" shank, bearing guided bits in my trim routers.
    Not much shaft deflection when using bearing guided bits that are captured in the templets.

    I also have the INCRA original positioner. I have never used it for Dovetails yet. The DVD instructions seem easy enough to set up.

    I think it comes down to each of our personal preferences. It depends of the type of work that we do, and how much to find the system we prefer to use.

    Ellery Becnel

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Little Hocking, OH
    Posts
    633
    I use the router dovetail jig by Sommerfeld. Works great for my projects. No tedious setups.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,026
    That one is mine and itís still available if interested.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Goetzke View Post
    I've had a few different jigs over the years including the Incra and BIG P-C but few years back I was looking at the Leigh RTJ400 and bought it mostly because it is compact and easy to store in my space limited shop. I don't make DT's all the time but find it to be the easiest to set up and use - very short learning curve. My router table is on the tall side so I attach a 5x7 camping mirror to the RT fence to easily see what I'm doing. Would highly recommend this jig - there was a new one in the classifieds that you might want to check out.

    Mike

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    459
    I own a Porter Cable 24" Omnijig and an Incra table. Both do a great job with quite a bit of flexibility. Either works well for drawers, boxes, and other casework which can be accommodated. However, if you are doing very large projects and want to dovetail corner joints, none of these will work and you would either need a portable jig to clamp on or do them by hand.

  12. #12
    The only dovetails I do are half blind joints for drawers. For that I use the very inexpensive HF jig with a Grizzly template guide. The HF jig is all metal except for the knobs but their template is cast and not so great. It is also 1 inch spacing and I like Woodsmith plans with 7/8 spacing. A Grizzly template added some expense but is much better made, and also aluminum. I typically keep one of my PC690s set up with the bit and template guide and the jig on a stand that has a drawer, added side guides for the drawer pieces and raises the jig up when placed on my assembly table. I can do dovetails as fast as I can any other joint except for glued and nailed.

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