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Thread: Two Routers for Leigh Dovetail Jig?

  1. #16
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    Feb 2003
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    Does Porter Cable still make the 690? I've got two Bosch 1617EVSs, but I like using them and don't think I want to dedicate them to only making dovetails. Plus, you need two adapters to use template bushings. I ordered a De Walt 616, they're only $124 and according to the specs, weigh almost 4 lbs less than the Bosch routers.
    Dennis

  2. #17
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    Sep 2006
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    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
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    Two routers dedicated... only way to go...
    Mine are 690's but the Bosch 1617's are basically the same..

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis McDonaugh View Post
    Thanks for the input, I'll set up two routers. The manual cautions against using two routers in multiple places -- 7-8 and 7-9 are two places where it mentions it.
    I suspect that's because many folks wouldn't take the time to insure that the router base is adjusted so that the guide insert is perfectly concentric with the tooling...that requires a "cone", etc., and is really important. But one should be doing that with even one router motor for this kind of application because the router WILL get reoriented during the cut just because of how human hands will move it. As long as one gets these adjustments as "perfect" as possible, things should work well.
    --

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

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis McDonaugh View Post
    Does Porter Cable still make the 690?
    The Porter Cable brand pretty much is out of the router business as well as for many other tools. Stanley/Black and Decker has deprecated the brand in favor of DeWalt and Craftsman, etc. The DeWalt DW611 and DW618 routers are very nice tools. I have the latter which is what I typically used with the Leigh jig when I owned it.
    --

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

  5. #20
    ones I use are 75182. Sounds like a chicago song.

    I have three and the plunge same size. The three were tortured for many years and still on the original bearings and work fine. Had read people had issues with them guess I lucked out on all four. They did tons of work. Sure not as tight as new but still did the work well. same with any router out of the box tight only lasts so long.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Central North Carolina
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    1,710
    I've made a lot of dovetails using my Leigh D4R jig.

    I learned early on that router weight was important when cutting dovetails all day, because I remove the router from the jig each time when changing the work pieces. Lifting the router on and off of the jig can really be hard on the muscles if you do this all day. I built a small platform with a hole in the middle that is the same height as the dovetail jig, to put the router on when I'm changing the work pieces, so I can minimize the lifting and movement of the routers. I did this after the first full day, because I couldn't fully raise my arms to lift the routers again on the next day and had another 2 days of dovetail work to go.

    I went with two Dewalt DW618 routers with the D handle bases, because they are one of the lighter routers available that have 1/2" bit capability (too much flex in 1/4" bit shanks). Using 2 routers eliminates the problem of getting the bit heights exactly right when changing the bits in a single router. Set the height on both bits once, and they will be right for as long as you need that setup. The bit height is very critical when doing 1/2 blind dovetails. I like the trigger control that's available when using the D handle bases. I have two 3 base DW618 router kits and a third 2 base DW618 kit in my shop router stable and I prefer them over others that I've tried using for dovetail work. I bought the second router bushing from Leigh, because I found that my router bushing kit did not contain the size bushing that was needed that was close enough in diameter to the original Leigh bushing. The one in the bushing kit was 0.018" smaller in diameter than the Leigh bushing. Use what you want, but this combination of routers and bushings is what has worked the best for me.

    When using two identical routers, it's wise to put tape on the top of the router motors with a marking pen profile of the router bit drawn on it to show which bit is installed in the router. DAMHIKT !!

    I also learned that drawing a marking pen arrow on the top of the router base and always pointing this arrow toward the D4R when doing the routing, pretty much eliminates the need to get the router bushing and bit perfectly concentric with each other. I go through the centering cone procedure, but if I'm a little bit off with this (can happen if bit height is changed later), keeping the router orientation the same using the arrow will result in a perfect fitting joint pattern, if I do everything else correctly. Doing this will remove any concentricity errors from the joint, because it will shift the whole joint slightly and not change the spacings of the cuts within the joint.

    I learned to make two passes for each cut, to make certain that I have stayed against the jig guides, as it's easy to miss a spot and not stay tightly against the guides while making the first pass. Making a shallow climb cut from right to left when first cutting into each cut, then plunging in on the left and working to clear out the rest of the cut will reduce chip out.

    I also learned to make use of the bridges between the ends of adjacent guides, so I don't make a cut between them where I shouldn't. I now use pieces of pine to make these bridges, since it's easy to cut the stock for them on the table saw from scrap. I usually then hand cut them to length with a hand held razor saw.

    Charley
    Last edited by Charles Lent; 04-27-2021 at 1:06 PM.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    56,952
    Many of the Leigh specific tooling offerings are 8mm shanks which is stronger than the .25" shank tooling but fits better for many of the typical dovetailing operations that the jig is capable of. So choosing a router model that has 8mm collet capability available will be an asset in that case.
    --

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

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Salado, TX
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    I received the DW 616 today and it looks exactly like what I'm looking to use in the Leigh Super 12 jig. I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't weigh the 6+ lbs Amazon said it did, but I wondered how that was possible in the first place. I'd say its just about the same weight as the Bosch 1617, which is over 10 lbs. I'm not real pleased with height adjustment ring being able to back off fairly easily, but I don't suppose it makes much difference if the motor is locked in place, the height can't change. I sure wouldn't want to use this as an every day router though. It does have one nice feature, there is a line across the clear base plate. It is in line with the direction of normal travel, but shifted 90 degrees, it serves as the 12 o'clock mark for indexing the Leigh e-bushing. You can also adjust the base for concentricity which is a nice feature. I haven't tried it out because I am currently finishing a cabinet in the shop and don't want to make any dust, but I'm hoping its a fairly inexpensive solution for my needs.
    Dennis

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Salado, TX
    Posts
    1,607
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Lent View Post
    I've made a lot of dovetails using my Leigh D4R jig.

    I learned early on that router weight was important when cutting dovetails all day, because I remove the router from the jig each time when changing the work pieces. Lifting the router on and off of the jig can really be hard on the muscles if you do this all day. I built a small platform with a hole in the middle that is the same height as the dovetail jig, to put the router on when I'm changing the work pieces, so I can minimize the lifting and movement of the routers. I did this after the first full day, because I couldn't fully raise my arms to lift the routers again on the next day and had another 2 days of dovetail work to go.

    I went with two Dewalt DW618 routers with the D handle bases, because they are one of the lighter routers available that have 1/2" bit capability (too much flex in 1/4" bit shanks). Using 2 routers eliminates the problem of getting the bit heights exactly right when changing the bits in a single router. Set the height on both bits once, and they will be right for as long as you need that setup. The bit height is very critical when doing 1/2 blind dovetails. I like the trigger control that's available when using the D handle bases. I have two 3 base DW618 router kits and a third 2 base DW618 kit in my shop router stable and I prefer them over others that I've tried using for dovetail work. I bought the second router bushing from Leigh, because I found that my router bushing kit did not contain the size bushing that was needed that was close enough in diameter to the original Leigh bushing. The one in the bushing kit was 0.018" smaller in diameter than the Leigh bushing. Use what you want, but this combination of routers and bushings is what has worked the best for me.

    When using two identical routers, it's wise to put tape on the top of the router motors with a marking pen profile of the router bit drawn on it to show which bit is installed in the router. DAMHIKT !!

    I also learned that drawing a marking pen arrow on the top of the router base and always pointing this arrow toward the D4R when doing the routing, pretty much eliminates the need to get the router bushing and bit perfectly concentric with each other. I go through the centering cone procedure, but if I'm a little bit off with this (can happen if bit height is changed later), keeping the router orientation the same using the arrow will result in a perfect fitting joint pattern, if I do everything else correctly. Doing this will remove any concentricity errors from the joint, because it will shift the whole joint slightly and not change the spacings of the cuts within the joint.

    I learned to make two passes for each cut, to make certain that I have stayed against the jig guides, as it's easy to miss a spot and not stay tightly against the guides while making the first pass. Making a shallow climb cut from right to left when first cutting into each cut, then plunging in on the left and working to clear out the rest of the cut will reduce chip out.

    I also learned to make use of the bridges between the ends of adjacent guides, so I don't make a cut between them where I shouldn't. I now use pieces of pine to make these bridges, since it's easy to cut the stock for them on the table saw from scrap. I usually then hand cut them to length with a hand held razor saw.

    Charley
    Sounds like good, hard earned advice.
    Dennis

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Salado, TX
    Posts
    1,607
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Many of the Leigh specific tooling offerings are 8mm shanks which is stronger than the .25" shank tooling but fits better for many of the typical dovetailing operations that the jig is capable of. So choosing a router model that has 8mm collet capability available will be an asset in that case.
    It's too bad that a router like the Bosch Colt doesn't come with the industry standard router base to accept bushings and at least an 8mm collet. With 1.25 HP and light weight it seems ideal for making dovetails.
    Dennis

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis McDonaugh View Post
    It's too bad that a router like the Bosch Colt doesn't come with the industry standard router base to accept bushings and at least an 8mm collet. With 1.25 HP and light weight it seems ideal for making dovetails.
    No. Routing dovetails is fairly violent. The router often wants to jump around. The Colt would be way underpowered and too lightweight.

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