Dovetail Discovery Center – Part 2 & 3: Porter Cable & Leigh Jigs

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We began with Hand-Cut Dovetails in Part 1 of the Dovetail Discovery Center Seminars held at the Toledo Woodcraft store.

In this 2 & 3 part blog, we will take a look at two dovetail jigs. John Nystrom in Part 2, will demonstrate the capabilities of the Porter-Cable 12″, Model 4210 Dovetail Jig, followed by Carl Kuhnle’s skill set in Part 3 on the Leigh Super 12″ Dovetail Jig.

Dovetail Discovery

Toledo Woodcraft franchise owner, John Nystrom

Part 2:

A bit about John:

John was taken to the basement by his father when he was about 7 years old and given “the board” – not as punishment, but to develop his own workshop area in the basement. Throughout his professional career as an electrical engineer, his woodworking workshops have been his stress reliever where he has created furniture, cabinets, tables, stands, and refurbishing. John decided to expand his hobby into an ownership of a Woodcraft woodworking “candy store” in Toledo, Ohio, where all woodworkers can develop their skills.

The main differences between these two jigs is that Porter Cable’s 12in Dovetail Jig shown in the video below, is a fixed finger spaced jig, and the Leigh is a variable finger spaced jig. Additionally, Porter-Cable also has a fixed 16in Omni Jig Model 55160 Joinery System, Item ##835089WH and a 24in Adjustable Omnijig Model 77240 Joinery System, Item #835090. Seperate templates (Through/Box Template, Item #831157Miniature Template, Item #830583),  are also available for each Porter-Cable different size dovetail jigs.

The Porter-Cable 12″ Dovetail Jig – Model 4210, Item #146048 - Product Information:

If you’ve put off cutting dovetails with your router because of the complicated set-up of dovetail jigs, wait no longer. Porter-Cable’s new 12″ dovetail jig will have you up and cutting dovetails in minutes. This jig is designed with patented alignment lines and a router bit depth stop so set-up is easy. Simply adjust the template so the alignment marks line up with your work piece, set your router bit depth according to the depth stop, and start routing.

  • Jig will cut half-blind dovetails, rabbeted half-blind dovetails and dovetail dadoes
  • Heavy-duty cam-type clamps with sandpaper-backed locking bars provide a solid grip for the wood
  • Template is CNC machined aluminum to provide superior accuracy
  • Handles stock 1/4″ to 1-1/8″ thick up to 12″ wide

The 4210 includes:

  • Jig Base
  • 7º carbide dovetail router bit with 1/2″ shank – Model 4377
  • Rabbeted half-blind/ dado /sliding combo template 4211
  • Template alignment lines and router bit depth gauges allow for quick, easy set-up
  • Router bit depth gauges allow user to quickly and accurately set the depth without taking measurements
  • On-board instructions provide clear user guidance for the various applications
  • Machined aluminum template provides superior cutting accuracy and long term durability
  • Durable, single-piece steel base design requires no assembly and allows for clamping or bolting directly to the work bench
  • Accommodates stock from 1/4″ to 1-1/8″ thick
  • Heavy-duty cam-type clamps with sandpaper-backed locking bars provide firm grip of wood
  • Additional templates (4213 and 4215) are available to create through dovetails, box joints, and miniature dovetails
  • Includes Half-Blind/Sliding Dovetail Template Guide (Model 4211)
  • Router Bit (Model 43776PC)
  • Template Guides (Model 42040)
  • Lock Nut (Model 42237)
  • Wrench
  • Instruction Manual

 Important points to remember:

  • Dovetail jigs cut the pins and tails in the same pass
  • Use correct guide bushing with correct diameter bit
  • Right router bit, right depth
  • Use a quick pass across the face of the wood to control chip / tear out
  • Soft woods will assemble easier than hard woods, take care in hammering joints into place
  • Short learning curve
Dovetail Discovery

Carl Kuhnle

Part 3:

A bit about Carl:

Carl is a retired attorney, and has been making his own furniture designs with influence of the Shaker and Mission styles, and has done commission work. His favorite tools are his router table, Tormek sharpening system, and thickness sander for panel work. He enjoys designing and building jigs to speed up production, and for safety issues. Carl is looking forward to sharing his experiences as part of the Toledo Woodcraft Team with other woodworkers, teaching some classes regarding furniture design, designing, building, using jigs and basic power tools.
Buy The Jig and Accessories—Save $25.99

Super jigs offer extraordinary joint making capability at exceptional price points. No other jigs equal the versatility and precision of Leigh super jigs. Variably spaced through and half-blind dovetails are standard on all super jigs. Infinitely adjustable one-piece fingers are easily positioned for any joint pattern, guaranteeing a half pin at each edge of the joint, regardless of board width. The cross-cut fence fits on the dovetail finger assembly to become a sliding dovetail template. Rout half-blind pin boards and tail boards at the same time using the included two-function spacer to offset the tail board and rout complete joints in one pass with the super jigs, you’re not limited to one bit and one depth of cut. Just select any of the five half-blind bits available and rout half-blind joints in the depth that best suits your project. The finger assembly can also produce two sizes of box joints, 5/16″ and 5/8″. The amazing joint making capability of super jigs is due in part to the revolutionary new Leigh E-bush. Very precise adjustments for fit are made easily with the E-bush. Settings are changed using the included pin wrench and the uniquely shaped locking nut makes tightening the E-bush a snap. Markings clearly indicate the adjustment direction necessary for the desired change. A simple twist of the E-bush changes its active diameter which in turn changes the fit of finger joints and half-blind dovetails. Easy to use cam action clamps and aluminum clamp bars hold the work piece securely against non-slip material applied to each clamping surface. Includes: 1/2″-8 degree dovetail bit, 1/2″-14 degree dovetail bit, 5/16″ straight bit, 1/2″ to 8mm collet reducer, sliding dovetail fence, half-blind bridge piece material, E-bush, fully illustrated user guide and instructional DVD.

Important points to remember:

  • Dovetail versatility/ capabilities
  • Adjustable/ movable fingers
  • Creates through, half blinds, sliding, small or large dovetails
  • Uniform/ non-uniform spacing
  • Through dovetail guide strips move in or out
  • Accepts boards up to 12″
  • Includes 3 router bits (8mm shank)
  • Infinitely adjustable one-piece fingers
  • Includes Leigh super 12″ jig and accessory kit
  • Longer learning curve

In the video below, Carl will explain and demonstrate the Leigh Super 12″ Dovetail Jig.

We will wrap up this Dovetail Discovery Center set of blogs in Part 4, covering compound angle dovetails with Chad Stanton…

Stay tuned…
auf Wiedersehen…Frank

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