dovetails on Leigh jig - Router Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2014, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2014
Country: United States
First Name: Al
Posts: 10
Default dovetails on Leigh jig

I have a Leigh dovetail jig and I experience problems with it which have driven me to making hand dovetails. (hand dovetails are nice but time consuming and I have 20 do do, both half-blind and through). I am using Cherry wood which is expensive and therefore making mistakes or experiencing problems with the jig is costly and frustrating. I wonder if anyone else has any experience with the D4 jig and might have some suggestions. My major probems are getting the tops of the routed pin and tail boards flush with each other when mating them together. Thoughts? recommendations most welcome.
AlMack is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2014, 04:54 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2011
Country: Canada
First Name: Al
Posts: 225

Hi Al. Welcome to the Forum. I have a Leigh jig and I don't even try to have the pins and tails flush on through dovetails. I use a one sided saw to cut off the tiny amount of excess. Works every time, Just don't change your set up until you make all your through dovetails. I have not tried a half blind joint yet. Also Al.
oldrusty is offline  
post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-03-2014, 08:18 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2011
Country: Canada
First Name: Dennis
Posts: 433

Most people have the pins proud of the tails and then plane or trim flush. The manual provides details on how to adjust the set-up to achieve flush. If you don't have the manual try the Leigh web site - lots of info there.
I sympathize with your frustration though. I find the jig (mine is D4R) frustrating to use.
denniswoody is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 07:30 AM
Registered User
neville9999's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Country: Australia
First Name: Neville
Posts: 1,881
Send a message via Yahoo to neville9999

Al the other thing to remember is that you use scrap wood to test the set up and don't put your actual work item onto the jig unless you are sure that the set up is correct, when the scrap wood comes off the jig correct then its time to do the real deal, the Leigh Jig is the real deal, just take some time to get to know it. N
neville9999 is offline  
post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 11:57 AM
Forum Contributor
Stick486's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2013
Country: United States
First Name: Stick
Posts: 30,682

No idea why the links didn't post but this is where all of this is found...

Gotta be something that'll help.//

Technical Bulletins Downloadable PDFs

Dovetail Jigs – D4R Pro, D4R, D4, D3, D1258(R)

How To Rout Angled Through Dovetails on your Leigh Dovetail Jig
How To Rout Jumbo Half-blind Dovetails on your Leigh Dovetail Jig
How To Rout Inlaid Through And Half-Blind Dovetails on your Leigh Dovetail Jig
How To Rout Finger Joints on your Leigh Dovetail Jig
How To Rout Needle Pins on your Leigh Dovetail Jig
How To Rout Through Dovetail Pins At Less Than 1” Centres on your Leigh Dovetail Jig
How To Rout Shelf Holes and Notches on your Leigh Dovetail Jig
Clamp short boards on your Leigh Dovetail Jig. Short Work piece Clamp Quick method
Clamp short boards on your Leigh Dovetail Jig. Short Work piece Clamp Adjustable width
Double & Triple Size Box Joints on the Leigh F1/F2 Finger Joint templates
Wooden Hinges on the Leigh F3 Finger Joint Template
How To Rout Box Joints on Wider Boards on the Leigh F1/F2 Finger Joint Template
How to mount Side Stops on Leigh D4 Dovetail Jig
Through Dovetail Pin Scale Settings Sheet for Leigh d-series jigs
Leigh Cam-Action Speed Clamp Instructions

Super Jigs and D1600 Dovetail Jigs

Super Jig/D1600 - Inlaid Through Dovetails On The D1600 Dovetail Jig
Super Jig/D1600 - Wider Pins On The D1600 Dovetail Jig
Super Jig/D1600 End-on-End Dovetails

User Guides Downloadable PDFs

D4R Pro

D4R Pro and D4R User Guide 08/13

Super Jigs

Super Jigs User Guide 12/11

Finger Joint Templates

F3 F18 F24 Templates 07/12

Vacuum Attachments

Vacuum & Router Support 02/13

R9 Plus

R9 Plus 04/12

Isoloc Joint Templates

Isoloc Joint Templates 06/12

Earlier Jigs and Accessories

D4 User Guide

D3 User Guide

D1258 User Guide

D1600 User Guide

TD514 / TD514-L Instructions

F2/F1600 Finger Joint Templates

F1 User Guide

RVA1 Router Vacuum Attachment

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
Stick486 is online now  
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 09:24 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2014
Country: United States
First Name: Tom
Posts: 5

I am having the same problem. If you come on to a fix please post it, if I get a fix I will let you know.
tomtsl is offline  
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 10:19 PM
Registered User
CharleyL's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Country: United States
First Name: Charley
Posts: 2,156

When I first started using my D4R I kept forgetting to drop the fingers back down on the surface of the board and kept ruining my work. After playing with the jig some more on scrap wood I finally managed to get past that. Through dovetails are fairly easy to master if you just allow the pins and tails to be a little long, and then trim them off after you complete the joint. Half blind is a bit harder to set up because the pin depth must be exact, so master the through dovetails first. Carefully following the manual step by step each time is the best way to develop good habits and get good results. Buy and prepare some cheaper wood to make test pieces from. Make it the same thickness and width as your good pieces, then experiment, making several joints. It helps significantly if you use 2 routers, one for the straight bit and one for the dovetail bit so you don't have to change their settings once you have them set. I use 2 DeWalt 618 routers with my D4R and resorted to marking them with colored tape to keep from grabbing the wrong one. A small piece of the same color tape on the correct side of the finger assembly keeps me using the correct one. Red for pins and blue for tails. Don't give up on the Leigh jig. In my opinion, It's the best one with the best manual out there. It just takes some careful practice to get it working for you.

Willji likes this.

Central North Carolina
CharleyL is offline  
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 06:15 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2011
Country: Canada
First Name: Al
Posts: 225

Right on Charley. Great explanation. The manual is the best. Al
oldrusty is offline  
post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-11-2014, 09:06 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2014
Country: United States
First Name: Tom
Posts: 1

I've had a D4 shortly after they came out with that model & my biggest complaint is the set up time required when you don,t use it like maybe 2 or 3 times a year. When you have everything set up good evening going as far as using depth micrometers to confirm that the top of the pins are parallel to the work piece then the results are great. I like the look of the little skinny pins on period stuff but, I'm not aware if Leigh makes a cutter of that angle for 3/8"-1/2" drawer side thickness, if someone knows please inform me.Stephen Hammer wrote an article in Fine Woodworking #219 titled Half-Blind Dovetails In Half the Time has anyone ever tried this? He uses a 1/4" straight bit to route the pin's & I've had very good results with that size bit in a Colt router with a plunge base when I made a larger clear base. I'm wondering if you make the fixture for holding the router on the end of the drawer front & make it for multiple width drawers as he did would the hand paring of the pins & tails offset the set-up time of a half-blind jig. I have noticed it's easier for me to fit the inside of a drawer to the flat back-side of the pin wall rather than a taper that the dovetail cutter leaves. Most all of my drawers have a cock-bead wrapped around the periphery of the drawer front & if staining is required then fit of the side to the front has to be flush at glue-up. Well I'm just wondering if anyone else has gotten frustrated with the set-up of a D4 & went with a simpler means.
taylorgun is offline  
post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 05:55 AM
Registered User
Andy Bardowell's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Country: Canada
First Name: Andy
Posts: 12

I like to leavt them proud as well then sand flush.

.................................................. .
Andy Bardowell is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Router Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Porter Cable 55160 Omnijig Review Echonav Tool Reviews 19 06-21-2015 02:59 AM
My First Jig Coleve Show N' Tell 14 03-10-2013 08:12 PM
Akeda BC24 Dovetail Jig arrived! Michael H Jigs and Fixtures 13 04-11-2012 09:50 PM
Hinge mortising question Dalec Jigs and Fixtures 8 03-02-2009 06:17 AM
New Lower Priced Leigh Dovetail Jig scrollwolf Jigs and Fixtures 1 07-08-2007 05:10 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome