Need Jig for Dovetailing stock + Rockler woes + Katie? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Default Need Jig for Dovetailing stock + Rockler woes + Katie?

Hello All,
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:
  1. The side stop is 1/8 an inch off so the stock never lines up on a half-blind joint.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Thanks!!!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 08:07 PM
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Java I just got a dovetail machine easy as pie. Check out the one from general tool. Got it from amazon.com for 39 and change. Here is the link.

Amazon.com: General Tools 860 dovetailer EZ Pro dovetail Jig: Home Improvement

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-25-2010, 08:52 PM
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Hi JavaGeek

I'm a big fan of the Katie jig and have been for a very long time and I also push the EZ dovetail jig all the time..
The EZ dovetail jig for blind dovetails and all others with the Katie jig.

The General Tools & Instruments Newsroom | The EZ Pro Dovetail Jig Instructional Videos

Catalog #15 Page 3-Sommerfeld's Tools For Wood

=====

Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaGeek View Post
Hello All,
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:
  1. The side stop is 1/8 an inch off so the stock never lines up on a half-blind joint.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Thanks!!!



"It's fine to disagree with other members as long as you respect their opinions"

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http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-n...RWaEpMA/videos

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Default Thank you for the responses + side rant

Gentlemen,
Thank you for the responses. I am glad that 2 people had good results with the General jig. I love the notion of using a router table to cut dovetails and maybe even not using bushings. I was scared off by the negative reviews.

I'll definitely check out the General Tools jig as I can get it for $40 at my local Home Depot and return it if there are issues.

It's much scarier buying a Keller as one of their jigs is literally 1 piece of plastic, 2 bits, and a manual for $240....Really? I'm all for businesses making a profit, but a single piece of mass-produced plastic and 2 mass-produced bits, all of which they've been selling for decades that will never go obsolete...for that much?!?! I'd be very interested in hearing their justification for that price. There really is no parallel. I can wrap my brain around the price of many expensive things in this world...computers, pharmaceuticals, mobile devices, cars, etc based on supply and demand, length of patents, a time window for obsolescence, etc. I can't think of a single mass-produced item that is more unjustifiably expensive in all my life than the Keller jigs.

What is scariest about the Katie and Keller is that I haven't found them at any retailer. I doubt the manufacturer will give you your money back if you buy the jig and find that it doesn't work as advertised.

Anyway, I apologize for the rant, but I assume I'm not the only woodworker who has felt that pain. I'll do my research on the General EZ Pro.

I also found the Woodhaven 7602 Dovetail Jig this morning which appears like it can be used in a router table as well. I'll do some research into that as well. I am very excited about these jigs and can't wait to make some beautiful drawers.


Thanks for the Advice Everyone!
Steven
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2010, 06:39 PM
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BJ I am curious, doesn't the EZPro jig also do through dovetails? Why don't you recommend it for them?

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2010, 07:54 PM
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Hi Deb

Yes, it can do the through dovetails but they are kind of funny looking that's to say they have rounded ends on them and a PITA to use the jig for that type.. I would need to take a snapshot of the manual to show you how they look and how they are put in place, I will if you want to see it.



======

Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckGal View Post
BJ I am curious, doesn't the EZPro jig also do through dovetails? Why don't you recommend it for them?



"It's fine to disagree with other members as long as you respect their opinions"

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http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-n...RWaEpMA/videos

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2010, 08:09 PM
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Hi Steven

" I doubt the manufacturer will give you your money back if you buy the jig and find that it doesn't work as advertised. "

Drop a call to Marc at Sommerfeld Tools he will back his tools 100% and if your are happy he will refund or make it right, he is the big boss and will talk to you any time, Great guy..

The Katie jig can be adjusted to put in many patterns not just one type,like one big dovetail in a 6" wide board, just by moving the spacers around.

===

Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaGeek View Post
Gentlemen,
Thank you for the responses. I am glad that 2 people had good results with the General jig. I love the notion of using a router table to cut dovetails and maybe even not using bushings. I was scared off by the negative reviews.

I'll definitely check out the General Tools jig as I can get it for $40 at my local Home Depot and return it if there are issues.

It's much scarier buying a Keller as one of their jigs is literally 1 piece of plastic, 2 bits, and a manual for $240....Really? I'm all for businesses making a profit, but a single piece of mass-produced plastic and 2 mass-produced bits, all of which they've been selling for decades that will never go obsolete...for that much?!?! I'd be very interested in hearing their justification for that price. There really is no parallel. I can wrap my brain around the price of many expensive things in this world...computers, pharmaceuticals, mobile devices, cars, etc based on supply and demand, length of patents, a time window for obsolescence, etc. I can't think of a single mass-produced item that is more unjustifiably expensive in all my life than the Keller jigs.

What is scariest about the Katie and Keller is that I haven't found them at any retailer. I doubt the manufacturer will give you your money back if you buy the jig and find that it doesn't work as advertised.

Anyway, I apologize for the rant, but I assume I'm not the only woodworker who has felt that pain. I'll do my research on the General EZ Pro.

I also found the Woodhaven 7602 Dovetail Jig this morning which appears like it can be used in a router table as well. I'll do some research into that as well. I am very excited about these jigs and can't wait to make some beautiful drawers.


Thanks for the Advice Everyone!
Steven



"It's fine to disagree with other members as long as you respect their opinions"

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http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-n...RWaEpMA/videos

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2010, 08:34 PM
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BJ I checked the manual, I see what you mean. I never noticed that before. Thanks.

EGO postulo , EGO venalicium , EGO incidere.
I measured, I marked, I cut.
Latin instructions for firewood.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 08:17 AM
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Default dove tale jig

here is the one i have been using for probly 3 yrs It works for me I make jewelry box's One set up on the jig I use 2 router tables One for the dovetale and one for the pin's Here is the link A little pricey but works The Japan Woodworker Catalog - Gifkins Dovetail and Box Jig

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port st. lucie, florida
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 09:06 AM
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Timely thread. I'm thinking about picking up a jig, and was looking at the Rockler one. The EZ Pro is the one to get on a budget, eh? (As in, not wanting to spend $200 on just the jig) I suppose the 4216 is an option, but it's right at that price point I don't want to spend.

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