Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived! - Router Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2009, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Default Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!

My Akeda BC24 arrived last week. I was just waiting for the accessory C-kit, with all the bits and guide pins, to get started. That finally came yesterday.

I had the new 24 inch PC Omnijig, but was frustrated with the time to set-up and having to make multiple test cuts to get it dialed in. I wound up selling it and got the Akeda.

Out of the box, and there is nothing to assemble. The jig itself is self-contained; no finger template bars, stops, router rest to add to the jig. It's all in one slick, well-designed system. I snapped in the dust collection port and plenum in about a minute. The longest part of getting it ready was making the plywood sub-base to mount the jig to my workbench. Once that was done, I was ready to cut some DTs.

Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-bc24-1_resize.jpg Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-bc24-2_resize.jpg
Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-pin-close-up_resize.jpg Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-bc24-router_resize.jpg

I purchased the complete 64 piece accessory kit with the jig. It has all the guide fingers, guide bushings, DT and straight bits, spacers, collet reducer, dust collection, etc. for all the DTs and box joints the jig can make. Other than new router bits when these wear out, I won't need to buy any other add-ons.

The accessories are a lot of little pieces that screamed for a storage case. I could see some pieces getting lost unless I organized them right out of the packaging. So my first DTs were for building the storage case for all the parts. I laid them out and sketched up a measured drawing. All of the components are separated in compartments, making it easy to grab the right guide fingers, bit and bushing for the project at hand. I used some scrap maple and mahogany to make the case.

Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-case-closed_resize.jpg Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-storage-case1_resize.jpg
Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-storage-case2_resize.jpg

Oh, and the accessory C-kit comes with an 'Akeda' lapel pin, which made a great storage case logo!

Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-case-logo_resize.jpg

I read the manual before making any cuts. But the jig is incredibly intuitive that I could have snapped the fingers into place and ploughed out the DTs without it. I didn't make any test cuts before making the case, just went right at it. The DTs were little shallow and a slightly loose, due to operator error. I don't think I set the bit depth correctly. I just adjusted the depth, re-routed the pins and planed the tail boards down about 1/64 inch. Since it was just a storage case, I wasn't worried about it.

There was some tearout in the mahogany pin sides, even though I was careful to do a climb cut (right to left), slowly plough out the middle material and finish along the pin guides. This Mahogany is a bit stringy (African), so I'll attribute the tearout to the wood and not the straight bit. There was no tearout on the maple tail boards.

From start to finish, including set-up of the jig was about 20 minutes. I was going slow to make sure that everything was right. I bet that once I get used to it, I could knock out a drawer box in 5 minutes, set-up to finish. IMO, it's that easy.

Dust collection is incredible on this jig. There was virtually no chips or dust on the floor or bench after making the cuts. I hooked it up to my shopvac and the chips disappeared. I always found the PC Omnijig dust chute to be large, clunky and in the way. You also had to remove it when changing fingers for pins/tails.

I have a Pat Warner clear precision plate on my Bosch 1617EVS router and I could see what I was doing while making the cuts. I never was able to clearly see the cuts on the Omnijig; too much metal obscured the view.

The fact that the router rest is built in to the jig and the router never touches the pin or tail guides, makes the cutting operation smooth and friction free. I waxed the router base and jig guide rails and the router slides smooth as silk. The Omnijig router rest was the fingers and a slide-on bar that never felt smooth to me.

Laying out the DT joint for the storage case couldn't be easier. I snapped the first tail guide in the jig, clamped the tail board in place, mirrored the tail guide on the right of the workpiece and filled in the guides in between. Depending on the width of your piece, you can easily play around with tail/pin positioning for variable spaced DTs. The fact that the guides snap in in 1/8 inch increments doesn't bother me. I feel that I'll get as much variation as I need with the jig. If your board widths are in 1/8 inch increments, everything will fall out just fine. I saw on the Akeda website that they are coming out with an 'Index Strip Adjuster' that basically offsets the index strip on the jig for widths other than 1/8 inch increments. This will solve the issue that some have with the jig.

AKEDA - New Products

When I'm finished using the jig, it's easy to store (especially with my new case). I don't have a large shop, so it doesn't have a dedicated station.

Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived!-akeda-bc24-stored_resize.jpg

I have a couple of minor things that I think that Akeda should change.

1. The jig itself doesn't come with any DT or straight bits. Since the bits are specific to the jig (you can't just use any DT bits), it would be nice to get at least one DT and straight bit with the jig, maybe for 3/4 inch or 5/8inch stock.
2. Everyone recommends (including Akeda) purchasing the dust collection port/plenum for the jig. The jig was designed with integrated dust collection, so why is it an add-on? I don't think I would use this jig without the dust port. I could see the enclosed chamber getting clogged very quickly.
3. Storage case? Even though it was fun and a great way to test out the jig, by making my own case, I think it would be wise for Akeda to offer a dedicated case for all the parts. The pin/tail guides could easily get lost, as well as all the other things. If you are thinking of getting this jig with the accessory kit(s), either make a case right away, or have some stackable lidded plastic containers ready and labeled to store everything. You'll go crazy if you just put all the pins/tails in a bin together.
I've got a Arts & Crafts style dresser to make next. Can't wait to get to the drawers and use the jig again. I may just get out some scraps and play with it just for kicks.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2009, 05:35 PM
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Hi Michael,

Nice looking set up, looks like you will be having a lot of future fun.

Thanks for the tour of the jig
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2009, 06:32 PM
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Michael you could be an Akeda salesman! Great review and I love the case! When I do buy a dovetail jig I will be looking for something simple. This sure sounds like it. Thanks!

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-11-2009, 07:35 PM
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Beautiful box. Well done review. I think the Akeda is the way to go is you want an easy to use professional DT jig.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 12:29 PM
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When i looked at the pics, i thought,What a nice case they come in, Nice job, nice presentation. Thank you!

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 06:51 AM
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Did You find the manual that You needed?

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 12:38 PM
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Nice show-and-tell, Michael. Thank you for the review!!!

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-08-2011, 10:25 AM
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You inspired me to organize my guides and such. I picked up a Craftsman DT fixture model 925 450 but had no manual. If someone can help with that many thanks.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-10-2011, 06:12 AM
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Default blind dovetails

I posted earlier about my problem with this jig for cutting blind / lapped dovetails.

There are two problems.
The first is setting the depth of the dovetail.
If it's set as per the instructions with the side positioned against the back fence, the dovetail is always deep about 1/16".
( I have the correct cutter and bush fitted)

The second problem is fitting the two end stop guides for making repetative cuts.
It's fiddley and in some cases they can't be fit at all due to the drawer front fouling them.

I have no problems with through dovetails.

I suspect either no one has tried cutting blind dovetails as I have not had anyone comment that they have the same problem....or no problem at all......indicating I am doing something wrong?
which is strange considering the number of jigs that have sold?

I have contacted Trend, for advice, and am awaiting them to cut some test pieces using drawer side and front dimensions that I am using.

Mike
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-10-2011, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Mike,

Not sure why your pin cuts are too deep on the drawer front for half blind DTs. I have the Akeda BC24 (same as Trend jig, but in imperial measurements). Hold the drawer side stock (I cut a small piece of the drawer side stock to use as a gauge block) and hold it flat against the rear guide rail. Bring your drawer front stock forward in the horizontal clamp until the edge protruding is flush with the outer face of the side stock board and clamp in place. Make sure that it is square to the jig side stops and protruding evenly across the whole pin board. You should get a near perfect flush fit. Do a test piece or two and check the depth fit.
I use the half blind (or lapped in the Trend literature) pin stops for repeatable cuts.
It works for me every time.

Good luck.

Michael


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shortcut View Post
I posted earlier about my problem with this jig for cutting blind / lapped dovetails.

There are two problems.
The first is setting the depth of the dovetail.
If it's set as per the instructions with the side positioned against the back fence, the dovetail is always deep about 1/16".
( I have the correct cutter and bush fitted)

The second problem is fitting the two end stop guides for making repetative cuts.
It's fiddley and in some cases they can't be fit at all due to the drawer front fouling them.

I have no problems with through dovetails.

I suspect either no one has tried cutting blind dovetails as I have not had anyone comment that they have the same problem....or no problem at all......indicating I am doing something wrong?
which is strange considering the number of jigs that have sold?

I have contacted Trend, for advice, and am awaiting them to cut some test pieces using drawer side and front dimensions that I am using.

Mike
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