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Thread: Jet dovetail jig mini review

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Southern California

    Jet dovetail jig mini review

    I've been scouring sources for a good dovetail jig (Leigh, Akeda), but there's no one in my local area that sells them and so far I've run dry on fleabay and the classifieds here. So, needing to complete some drawers for my miter saw bench, I decided to give the Jet a try. It's basically the same as all the other $50-80 dovetail jigs on the market. I got the jig, an Amana 1/4" SH 14° bit and the 7/16" collar guide for about $75 at my local Toolmart, which seemed like a pretty good deal. After purchasing, I came home and searched the internet and found some decent and some terrible reviews. Many reviews about how hard it was to setup and how bad the instructions were. Many reviews saying it took them 3 hours to setup the jig until it was usable. The main thing I gleaned from the instructions were that the bit depth was supposed to be set at 5/8", not the listed 7/8" in the instructions. Keeping that in mind, I set it at 5/8". Carefully following the instructions, and having never used a dovetail jig before, I loaded my first two pieces of scrap 3/4" birch ply. I set the pieces and clamped them. I lined up the fingers 1/8" from the edge of the workpieces, I did some complicated math and set the fence. And then I routed. A couple minutes later, I pulled both pieces out, knocked them together with a hammer and they fit. The first thing I noticed was that the tails were too deep, by about 3/16". So, I readjusted the fence 1/4" in. The fit was a little tight, so I readjusted the bit depth to just a paper width inside of 5/8", it was little more than that originally. I clamped up two more pieces and cut again. Better fit, fingers not showing, boards misaligned by about 1/4". Now, I had it. Adjusted the top stop to center the board on the fingers. Adjusted the bottom stop so that the board was 1/2" in from the top board. Then I noticed that my fence was not exactly straight. Readjusted the fence. Clamped in two more scrap pieces and made my cuts. Took them out and perfect. Nice tight fit, perfect alignment. The only thing I noticed was a little chipout on the backside of the last tail, which I'm assuming will be easily fixed by clamping in a scrap board next to the top board so that the last pin is backed up. Total time from taking the jig out of the box to having a workable joint, maybe 20 minutes. If you can't set this thing up and have presentable dovetail joints in an hour, you're just not trying hard enough.

    Last edited by Jon Bonham; 01-03-2008 at 6:32 PM.

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