Dovetail & box joint jig - Router Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Default Dovetail & box joint jig

Hi - this post is uk specific

I have just purchased a "Xact" jig from Rutlands.
It is a Porter Cable 4212 painted black with improvements, for £150
Its heavy, solid and has the addition of a front support bar to keep the router horizontal and a dust extractor bar - very good.
The manual is not as good as the Porter Cable one, but ok.
But, I can't use it - yet.
It comes with non standard guide bushes - I have ordered some 5mm acrylic sheet to make a new router base.
It comes with 1/2 inch shank imperial cutters and no box joint cutter.
The latter I can solve as 12.7inch x 1/4inch cutters are available from Wealden Tools, on order, but I can't find a uk supplier for 11/32inch = 8.73mm straight or 17/32 = 13.49mm x 1/4 inch 7 degree dovetail cutters.

Having attended a couple of demos by Trend, they tell me not to use my T11 as it is too big to do this type of accurate work, so I want to use my Makita 700 series.

I have never used a dovetail jig before but have watched many youtube videos and I "think" I understand what its all about.

Does anyone know of a uk supplier for these cutters please ?
Do I need to use a 7 degree cutter or can I use a different angle ?

thanks
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 08:40 AM
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Hi Tony,
I do not think you will be able to use a different dovetail angle, except for half-blind joints (where the same bit cuts the pins and tails in one pass) - you might have to fiddle with the settings to get it right. For through dovetails, the pin angle is set by the angle of the Vs on the template (towards the front on your photo) - these are cut with the straight bit. Using a different dovetail angle on the dovetail bit, will lead to a mismatch.
If you are struggling with the correct bits, you may be able to get a different template, designed for the bits which are readily available.
I have an idea that you could use bits of a different diameter, provided the diameters of the straight and dovetail bits are in the same ratio - but I have long since lost the mental flexibility to do the arithmetic.
I think you could use your Trend for the job - go on an anabolic diet and you will develop some serious biceps. The biggest hazard will be lifting the router off the template before it has stopped spinning - will do serious damage to the template and probably the bit.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 11:45 AM
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My first reaction would be to go back to the people you bought it from and get them to resolve it.

I have a similar jig, but one that only cuts half-blind dovetails [and without the nice dust extractor port!] It only accepts the 1/4" shank cutter that came with it with an imperial [5/16"] bush. It works pretty well with a 1020W router but as Biagio warns you have to remember to back out of each cut, preferably waiting for the bit to stop turning before withdrawing - which makes cutting a lot of joints pretty tedious!

The dreaded imperial/metric divide is a sad fact of life that we all have to live with - if only America would go metric!
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerPowys View Post
...The dreaded imperial/metric divide is a sad fact of life that we all have to live with - if only America would go metric!
I'm finding that more and more items here are metric. They slip in as free standing products where the measurments don't matter. Metric would be easier, but everyone would have a generation of tools that are imperial. If we switched to metric today, it would be 25-50 years before the old imperial iron and thinking would disappear. I wish we'd just converted when we first talked about it.

The more I do, the less I accomplish.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRatTom View Post
I'm finding that more and more items here are metric. They slip in as free standing products where the measurments don't matter. Metric would be easier, but everyone would have a generation of tools that are imperial. If we switched to metric today, it would be 25-50 years before the old imperial iron and thinking would disappear. I wish we'd just converted when we first talked about it.

When was that Tom? Maybe in the 70"s. I wish we would go one way or the other.

Don in Murfreesboro,Tn.

Measure once cut twice and it's still to short.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 02:39 PM
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Have you tried axminster tools? Their on line catalogue is a difficult thing to master, but give one of the stores a call.
Or Infinity UK.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Solution :-)

Rutland are extremely unhelpful, I am being polite. Having measured their cutters, which do not have any markings on them, I discovered the straight cutter is the wrong size as well.

BUT -

I have been trawling through pictures of jigs being sold in the uk and discovered that Axminster Tools sell the same jig under the "UJK" brandname. The only difference is theirs is painted a lurid shade of orange. They also sell sets of cutters for 1/2 inch 1/4 inch and 8mm shanks. They have a good manual, which can be downloaded from their web site, and helpful technical staff who measured the cutters for me to check they were the correct ones. They also do a large range of guide bush adaptors, although sadly not one for my Makita 700. Needles to say I have ordered a 1/4 inch set - Wonderful. Now for some spare time to try it all out

Thanks for the replies guys. The problem with imperial vis metric is not one that only affects the USA. I belong to a model engineering club where many of the members are older than me (71) and still think in inches and use imperial tooling. Most of the clubs machine tools have imperial scales and when you try working on an old model the threads could be any one of a dozen different ones. Having been an engineer I think metric, mostly. We do a lot of young engineer training and find that many of them still think imperial, so its going to take more than one generation to get the change made and even then the old models and machine tools are not going to go away. The only answer is time, but I think it will take longer than most people realise. BUT - more importantly the spelling checker is telling me I have spelt REALISE incorrectly - NO I have spelt it CORRECTLY !!!!!!!!!!!

Have a nice day :-)
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 12:54 AM
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Tony, I could well have written that rant!
American spellcheckers make my emails almost unreadable because of the red lines under so many words.
Dont you think its sinister that I have told my computer to use English English, but it still spell checks in American English?

you only have 2 years on me, and I have a mechanical / engineering background, but have now lived in a fully metric country for 10 years. Imagine how screwed up my brain is.
I have worked hard to think in metric but I cant think of me being 1.8 metres tall.
I deal a LOT with axminster tools (my workshop is extremely lurid) and mostly am very pleased with them. Their online stuff however can send you away in despair. Always call someone there.
I've just ordered my latest package from them, it went like this;
Ask my pet store manager by email for part for my bandsaw.
Get reply with part number.
use their online catalogue to check correct part. Get 302 "matches", none of which are the actual part I want.
email the manager.
Oh, spare parts arent in the main catalogue (WTF?) but dont worry, heres your paypal invoice.
Pay the invoice.
Next day I get TWO identical invoice note emails, both of which tell me the part is out of stock.
2 hours later, I get a dispatch email telling me the part is on its way to me.

But, they do sell good stuff, and their service is excellent.
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Last edited by sunnybob; 10-20-2018 at 01:04 AM.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 10:25 AM
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This jig of mine is sold around the world under many different names and versions. I have always used bits with a bearing to suit the comb which is available in different sizes. I too get American spelling, sometimes I leave it, other times I CORRECT it!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Harry

I have seen jigs advertised for use with bearing guided cutters but am uncertain about the sizes. If for example the instructions say to use a 3/4 inch template guide, should I use a 3/4 inch bearing ?? is it that easy or am I showing my ignorance again.
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