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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Default Leigh dovetail jigs

Hi all, I'm going to be buying the Leigh dovetail jig this week (probably the 18") and am wondering how anyone who has one how they like it? Will I be able to use my Boch router without buying a special adaptor? Any tips on setting it up for use? Thanks for any info you may give.

Paul
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 08:53 PM
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I have the D4R 24''. I am an idiot in figuring out all matter of things. The first time I used it it was spot on. I then had shoulder surgery and I never touched it for a year.
Now after many attempts I am back in business. I just had trouble figuring it out. I read and re-read the instructions and viewed the DVS countless times. I will not go into the mistakes I made. My wife understands these things and showed me what to do. That is how I learn.
I have a Bosh 1917. I had Pat Warner make a base plate for it that will utilize Porter-Cable bushings. It works like a charm.
I would do it all over again. The jig is well made and will work as advertised. I am a the sort that
has little self confidence and am my own worst enemy and learn best by being shown by some one @ my side.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-29-2012, 09:19 PM
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Paul,

There are many posts already on this forum discussing Leigh dovetail jigs. A search for Leigh + Dovetail entered this way will likely bring you more reading than you can handle.

I have the Leigh D4R. One of the reasons that I bought it was to get the 24" capability because I frequently make drawers that are 8-10" high. Having a 24" wide jig lets me set up and cut both drawer sides with one setup, since the dovetail patterns on the two sides are usually a mirror image of each other with a wider tail left for where the drawer bottom dado gets cut. I can complete a drawer without having to change the setup between doing each side.

The Leigh Dovetail jigs work best with a fixed base router that has the ability to use the Porter Cable style guide bushings. Leigh provides the correct bushings in this style with their jigs. I have found that having 2 routers makes cutting dovetails easier, since one can be set up with the dovetail bit and the other can be set up with the straight bit. Getting the exact bit height is critical for cutting good dovetails and I don't like to loose this setting when it comes time to switch bits. Having 2 routers lets me avoid this. It's possible to make dovetail joints using smaller jigs and with only one router, but it takes more setup time and you are forced to make your parts in batches, all of the right, then all of the left, all of the pins, and all of the tails, etc.

I'm very happy with my dovetail jig and the precision that it can achieve. Leigh products do everything that they say they will do, if you follow their well written manuals and training DVDs.

Charley

Central North Carolina
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonka View Post
I have the D4R 24''. I am an idiot in figuring out all matter of things. The first time I used it it was spot on. I then had shoulder surgery and I never touched it for a year.
Now after many attempts I am back in business. I just had trouble figuring it out. I read and re-read the instructions and viewed the DVS countless times. I will not go into the mistakes I made. My wife understands these things and showed me what to do. That is how I learn.
I have a Bosh 1917. I had Pat Warner make a base plate for it that will utilize Porter-Cable bushings. It works like a charm.
I would do it all over again. The jig is well made and will work as advertised. I am a the sort that
has little self confidence and am my own worst enemy and learn best by being shown by some one @ my side.
Thanks for the info. I usually don't have a problem with this type of thing cause I'll read the instructions 3-4 times as I am assembling it, and then check and recheck everything. Was hoping to see if there were something I should watch out for that maybe the instructions didn't quite explain good enough. Again thanks.

Paul
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-30-2012, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharleyL View Post
Paul,

There are many posts already on this forum discussing Leigh dovetail jigs. A search for Leigh + Dovetail entered this way will likely bring you more reading than you can handle.

I have the Leigh D4R. One of the reasons that I bought it was to get the 24" capability because I frequently make drawers that are 8-10" high. Having a 24" wide jig lets me set up and cut both drawer sides with one setup, since the dovetail patterns on the two sides are usually a mirror image of each other with a wider tail left for where the drawer bottom dado gets cut. I can complete a drawer without having to change the setup between doing each side.

The Leigh Dovetail jigs work best with a fixed base router that has the ability to use the Porter Cable style guide bushings. Leigh provides the correct bushings in this style with their jigs. I have found that having 2 routers makes cutting dovetails easier, since one can be set up with the dovetail bit and the other can be set up with the straight bit. Getting the exact bit height is critical for cutting good dovetails and I don't like to loose this setting when it comes time to switch bits. Having 2 routers lets me avoid this. It's possible to make dovetail joints using smaller jigs and with only one router, but it takes more setup time and you are forced to make your parts in batches, all of the right, then all of the left, all of the pins, and all of the tails, etc.

I'm very happy with my dovetail jig and the precision that it can achieve. Leigh products do everything that they say they will do, if you follow their well written manuals and training DVDs.

Charley
Charley, thanks for all the info. The 24" is way more than I'll probably ever need, but I guess it would be nice to have. The 18" is pushing my budget but, it'll do. As it is I could do 9" drawers with, that's pretty good size. As for having 2 routers I'll keep my open at estate and tag sales for a 1 I could dedicate to using only with the jig. Again thanks.


Paul
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 09:55 AM
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Paul,

I can appreciate your reasons for going with the smaller jig. It took a very large project for me to finally justify my D4R. I just wanted you to know why many use the larger jig, even though they may never be cutting 24" wide joints. For 9" drawers on the 18" jig you shouldn't ever have a need to go larger.

For a router, you don't need much power to cut dovetails. A 1 hp router is sufficient, but 1/4" bits can sometimes flex when cutting hard wood and cause errors in the cuts. I prefer 8mm or 1/2" bits because they don't flex as much during the cuts making the dovetails more accurate, so it's best to use a router that has an 8mm or 1/2" collet. I'm not saying that you can't use 1/4" bits, but your dovetails will turn out better if you cut them with 8mm or 1/2" shank bits. Your router choice should also have an easily adjustable fixed base that locks well and does not go off center with respect to the router bit as you adjust and re-lock the height. The base also needs the ability to use the Porter Cable style guide collars or you will need an adapter or new base plate to get this capability. If you can find a router with these features it will be a great choice for cutting dovetails. Keep your eyes open for the right one, but if you find one that isn't quite perfect and the price is right, go for it. I have quite a router collection because I can't resist good deals.

I'm presently using two DeWalt 618 fixed base routers for dovetail cutting. While a bit too large for the task, they do a very good job and are lighter than most brands of this size. The only problem with using two identical routers is that it's easy to pick up the wrong one. I have mine marked with tape on top to keep this from happening. It can and does happen :-(

Charley

Central North Carolina
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-01-2012, 10:47 AM
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Paul, have you investigated the many different styles of dovetail jigs? This is nothing against the Leigh jig, just want you to make an informed decision. I use sliding dovetail joints on projects and no jig is required for this. BJ(BobJ3) usually recommends the Katie jig from Sommerfeld tools and his advice is good to follow. BJ has bought and tried most jigs.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 09:12 PM
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Paul before you buy, do yourself a favor and check out the
Akeda dovetail jig. akeda.com

Love mine
Well I like it a lot.

Tim
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