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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Default PC 42xx setup shortcut?

For you PC dovetail jig users out there...

It didn't take me too long to get good with my 4216. Not great, but functional. I've had two issues that bothered me from the start though:
1. It's tough for me to see the depth setting stop no matter where i put a light. I've always been off just a tick.
2. I mill most of my own stock, and use a lot of 3/8" to 1/2" thicknesses--and always forget about the need for "same thickness" material for set-up/backing up the cuts. So...i end up struggling to get short cut-offs to clamp correctly on top of the base.

Working on a box Saturday, i marked my cut depth on the stock using the adjacent side pieces. Clamped it in, set the cut depth to the line and was dead-on in much less time than normal. Got thinking about it later--the only reason for same thickness stock is to be able to set the depth on the templates. By marking my depth on the stock and setting depth that way, it seems that the backer could be any thickness (so long as it is at least as thick as the cut, and not thicker than the maximum)--eliminating the need for milling excess material to a specific dimension.

Have any of you tried that? Seems like it should work, and i could use long scrap of 3/4" hardwood and just trim the last 1/4" after each project instead of milling away half of it for each job. What do you think?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 12:18 PM
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I agree.
I have found that the backer thickness is unimportant as long as it is at least the depth of cut. I think that you might even run the cutter into the jig if it was too thin.
After using the jig for a while, I finally figured out the the cutter depth stop could be more easily set by placing a scrap of same thickness stock into the depth set area and then adjusting the stop up to the material before setting the cutter depth.
When the jig was new I thought it had to keep the factory setting all the time.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-27-2012, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, the stop is adjustable, and it's easy to tell when the bit is too deep--but i find it hard to see whether i'm a tick under or right on. Striking a fine line on the cutting stock and setting and adjusting to that took at least half the time and got me the best depth (and least sanding!!) i've ever had.

Plus--if i just keep a few 3/4" boards handy i think i'll be more likely to put a fresh backer in when i switch from tails to pins and reduce my tearout on the pins. It's just a few steps to the miter saw or RAS to square up the backer--which i should be doing now except that part about forgetting to mill backer stock!!
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