View Poll Results: Should I go with the low price MCLS dovetail jig with templates or save for PC 4212?

Voters
10. You may not vote on this poll
  • Buy the MCLS

    1 10.00%
  • Save for 4212

    3 30.00%
  • Neither - they both are bad options

    6 60.00%
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: MCLS dovetail advice

  1. #1

    MCLS dovetail advice

    Hi,
    I have the opportunity to buy the MCLS dovetail jig with all of the extra templates for through dovetails, box joints, etc in mint condition for $65 shipped. That's about the top of my budget for now though I've found a 4216 with through template for $155, which I could maybe pull off if I waited a bit. I'm not using it for production, but want something relatively easy and reliable for making boxes and the like. I've read mixed reviews of the MCLS and only good reviews of the PC. Should I wait until I can afford the PC, or is the MCLS a good deal that I should buy it? I'll be using a Milwaukee 2 1/4 HP router. I'm not sure if the MCLS comes with bushing and bit but I have a set of bushings and am sure I can find an appropriate bit somewhere. Thanks.
    Last edited by Corey Rebette; 01-02-2020 at 3:39 PM.

  2. #2
    First, go online and down load the extended manual for the 4212. It's amazing what this jig can do. Second watch for a used 4212. I own two. Bought first new using some CC points, and bought second used (barely) just to get the bits. Paid less for complete jig than bits would have cost me. Look online ( you tube) for shop made jigs for doing both thru dove tails and box joints. Woodsmith has a super simple jig to do box joints. It's on this weeks E Tips.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    592
    I've got the 4216 set-up, and once i got the hang of it, it worked very well. And Bruce is right--the extended manual really helps expand your thoughts. Been using a Leigh for the past few years (local find) so the PC has been on the shelf. If you're near Northwest Indiana, i'd be willing to sell but cost to ship would lead you back to the new version if you can get free shipping.
    earl

  4. #4
    Thanks, Earl. I'm not near Indiana, but the shipping on the PC I'm looking at might be prohibitive, too. If you don't mind, could you tell me what you'd sell for with shipping? I'm hearing from the responses that folks like the Porter Cable but haven't heard anything about the MLCS jig yet, which would be half the price with the same metal templates. Would love it if anyone had feedback on that. I'm a beginner when it comes to dovetails.

  5. #5
    Send me a pm. I have the mlcs dovetail jig and it worked fine enough for me. I donít use it any more. I would be happy to mail it to you for free.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    7,409
    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Send me a pm. I have the mlcs dovetail jig and it worked fine enough for me. I don’t use it any more. I would be happy to mail it to you for free.
    The best advice may very well be the reason Prashun gives why he no longer uses this jig.

    Regards from Berlin

    Derek

  7. #7
    If you do dovetails frequently and long enough, you may want either a faster, more flexible or convenient jig.

    As for me I prefer these days to use a bandsaw, handsaw and chisel to kind of do them by hand. More flexibility and just more fun.

    Ymmv, but this jig automates a process that isnít too hard to do by hand, and doesnít automate it completely enough to be convenient. But it is fairly accurate at the end of the day.

    Oh yeah, it also only does through dovetails. Half the time I find I need half blinds.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    592
    Quote Originally Posted by Corey Rebette View Post
    Thanks, Earl. I'm not near Indiana, but the shipping on the PC I'm looking at might be prohibitive, too. If you don't mind, could you tell me what you'd sell for with shipping? I'm hearing from the responses that folks like the Porter Cable but haven't heard anything about the MLCS jig yet, which would be half the price with the same metal templates. Would love it if anyone had feedback on that. I'm a beginner when it comes to dovetails.
    If i sold, i'd like to be in the $70-$80 range. Shipping probably $45 +/- these days, which puts it too close to new price to be worth buying my used one. At some point, i'll follow Prashun's thinking and part with it for shipping cost (or sell local on CL or something). I've not been doing much furniture--so not a lot of dovetailed drawers. I do make a fair number of small boxes, typically with splined miters. So...every time i use it, it's a fresh start. Setup got faster once i quit using the on-board depth setting thing and started striking a depth line on the board to eye-ball the bit depth.
    In summary, the 4216 is functional (and can do half-blinds), has a learning curve (what doesn't?), and takes a bit of fiddling. The biggest advantage for me is that i'm still not great at sharpening chisels, so it's a blessing in that a sharp router bit is easy to come by!!
    earl

  9. #9
    I own the Porter-Cable, and have used it a bunch. Think hard about what you really want to do. The PC is sort of 'industrial'. It makes great repetitive dovetail joints. I didn't count how many dovetailed kitchen drawers I have made with mine, but it would probably run to a couple hundred, and it still looks nearly new ten years on. But it does not do finesse at all. You crank out dovetails, next to each other, same size, same spacing. It makes the kitchen owner very happy, but I wouldn't call it artful. Leigh now makes an add-on dust collection hood, and you will want that or a router that comes with a dust collection port.

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