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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.
Thanks
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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

http://www.leighjigs.com/support.php

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
 

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Al,
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.

Charley
 

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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.
 

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help please

I have a Leigh D4 jig and want to cut through dovetails on 1/2 stock (actually 7/16). Following the manual I'm getting confused about where the scales for pins and tails are to be set. Can anyone let me know. Using 80 and 140 bits with 7/16 collet and Festool 1400
 

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I have another brand of a similar jig and think getting the pins and tails exactly even is too much trouble. Make the slightly proud so they stick out a bit. Sanding is needed, but you can cut it down using a Japanese pull saw. These saws have extremely fine teeth that are not offset and have a knife like profile. So they cut incredibly smoothly without marring the wood around the pin or tail. They cut on the backstroke, so you pull them, which makes controlling them far easier. There are several types, but the one you'll need has a thin blade with no backer support. See pix. Once you use Japanese saws, you'll be spoiled for most conventional push saws. Don't push on a japanese saw or it may buckle on you. Let the teeth do the work.
 

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I just purchased a leigh super 12 dovetail jig. Used it today for a chest of drawers for my wife's yarn -- 6 drawers, rabbeted half blind fronts, through rear. plus a few other drawers. They look great.
Looking ahead, I priced the 8mm Leigh bit set -- almost as much as the jig.
Question for you folks with experience: Will other 1/4" shank bits work? As well? They are much less expensive. Any and all thoughts are welcome!
 

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Question for you folks with experience: Will other 1/4" shank bits work? As well? They are much less expensive. Any and all thoughts are welcome!
yes...
just match the angles and size...
 
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It does take practice... a fair amount of it! But once you master it, the results are very good. Practice on a pine 1x6 for a while making small incremental changes. You can cut the ends off time after time, and it is not very expensive.
 

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