Can you recommend a jig for cutting dovetails that works with 1/2" stock?
I want to cut dovetails in 1/2" and 3/4" stock. I wish to build drawers and boxes. I'd also like to build boxjoints, but only if it is a reasonable price (hopefully under $150 or so extra for box joints). I want something that won't make a huge mess, so I either need something with dust collection, or I need to get a router that lets my hook dust collection up to the base.
What is the most reasonably priced way to make good dovetails in 1/2" stock without making a huge mess? My wife won't be happy, but I can scrounge up about $400 for the total purchase, but not much more.
I have a nice router table with a PC 890 in it, so I would prefer one that works with a router table as it does a great job of dust collection and seems easier/faster to use. I also have a Bosch Colt which I have been using now with my current jig, but could upgrade to a more powerful router if I need to.
I bought a Rockler dovetail jig and it has been a disaster. There are 3 major problems:
- The side stop is 1/8 an inch off so the stock never lines up on a half-blind joint.
- It cannot cut 1/2" through dovetails. The bushings don't give enough clearance for the 8 deg bit. You will cut into your bushings if you set the depth correctly (actually, I cut through the bushing and had over a 1/16" of extra depth, so I gave it a bit more clearance than I should have).
- It has an awesome dust collector that is extremely effective, but it blocks the screw for the side stop meaning you have to disassemble the front clamp (which takes awhile) if you wish to change stock size.
- Also, the recommended measurements are not accurate...I am less enraged about this as they're within 1/6th of an inch, but it is really frustrating spending more time cutting test pieces EACH TIME than actually cutting stock.
I am going to return this frustrating, defective excuse for a tool. Now I need a new dovetail jig.
What would you recommend? I think I'd like half-blinds as they seem fast to make with a PC/Leigh-style jig, but I don't think I care too much. I don't care too much about spacing, so variable spacing is not critical to me.
The Katie Jig Jr looks pretty exciting as I can use my router table's dust collection. It looks like it is better built than the Keller jig.
The general tools jig looks great, the price is right, and I can pick it up from a homecenter, but it appears to have gotten terrible reviews.
I can afford a 12" porter cable jig, but it doesn't seem to support dust collection. For that price, I could get a new router and vacuum adapter for the base. Would that be as effective as a jig with dust collection? Also, I am concerned about the bushings with 1/2" stock. I assume the bushing issue is not limited to Rockler.
I can afford the 12" Leigh jig, but I am worried about making through dovetails. Is it easier to change stock sizes (going from a 1x4 to a 1x6, for example) than using a fixed template like Rockler/PC uses? With the Rockler, that operation involved adjusting the side stop, which means getting a screw driver out, adjusting, and unclamping and reclamping the pieces until they're precisely aligned.
I think I am leaning toward the Katie jig for now and possibly buying something else for half blinds if the need arises.
Is there any reason I shouldn't use a Katie?
It seems ideal as I can support the stock from front and behind, eliminating tearout, without having to do any calculations to adjust the templates. I can also do it quickly on a router table and use the table's dust collection. Afterwards, it won't take up much space.