If you are a woodworker, there are specific tools that you use to complete your projects. When cutting wood in the past woodworkers used a mallet and chisel.
These are no longer needed thanks to the dovetail jig. It is a useful tool for woodworking and will make building easier and more efficient.
The Benefits of Using a Dovetail Jig
This tool was created to replace the strenuous tools that were previously used for wood making projects.
It will make your projects smoother and quicker to complete with less of a hassle. You will no longer have to worry about getting measurements correct or lining up joints manually. It will give you cleaner corners and a better-looking finish.
The dovetail jig will cut the wood for you with just sliding and locking in your wood into a template. You can alternate the size of dovetail jigs according to your choice and desired joint size.
If you measure the wood incorrectly and the joints do not fit, you can fix the problem by adjusting the template. You can also fix joints by easily adjusting the router bit.
Projects You Can Use a Dovetail Jig For
You can use the dovetail jig for making drawers, jewelry boxes and large furniture items such as blanket chests. It is excellent for cutting wood and neatly creating interlockings joints that make your projects look great.
The Different Types of Dovetail Jigs To Choose From
Before we share the top 10 best dovetail jigs on the market right now, let’s take a look at some of the options you can consider throughout your search.
Stock-Mounted Through Dovetail Templates
This is the most basic type of dovetail jig because it doesn’t have a clamping system or jig body. Consequently, you can easily clamp the templates directly to your materials to create equal spacing through your dovetails.
If you purchase them, you’ll find they are sold in pairs and one object has a dovetail bit that forms the tails. The matching template comes with a straight part to create the pins, and both sets of jigs join together.
The main advantage of these types of dovetail jigs is that there are many high-quality, reputable brands that produce these objects, such as Keller. Also, you have a great option of equipment to work with since there’s no limit to the stock width.
Beach-Mounted Template Jigs
This is the most common dovetail jig you can purchase, and they come in templates that connect to the jig body. The body is equipped with two clamping systems, with one being vertical and the other being horizontal, and you can use both clamping systems for different tasks.
The templates are fairly similar to stock-mounted ones as they are made from phenolic or aluminum, though the cheaper versions are produced from plastic.
Variable Guide Finger Jigs
This type of dovetail jig enables you to achieve a closer look thanks to the narrower pins and wider tails. Consequently, you can create a large variety of spacing that means you can work on stock with a wide-range width.
These jigs aren’t commonly used since their high quality and versatility bumps up their price. Although they’re extremely handy and create a wide variety of tasks, they’re complex to use and require professional experience.
When using variable guide finger jigs, you’ll need to make numerous adjustments and test cuts. If you’re used to using another type of dovetail jig, you may need to relearn this strategy to avoid any confusion.
The Top 10 Best Dovetail Jigs To Buy
Below we’ve reviewed the top 10 best dovetail jigs on the market in 2019.
Table of Contents
- The Benefits of Using a Dovetail Jig
- Projects You Can Use a Dovetail Jig For
- The Different Types of Dovetail Jigs To Choose From
- The Top 10 Best Dovetail Jigs To Buy
- 1. PORTER-CABLE 4216 Dovetail Jig
- 2. Leigh Super 12″ Dovetail Jig
- 3. Keller Dovetail System
- 4. Leigh Super 18″ Dovetail Jig
- 5. MLCS 6406 Pins and Tails Half Blind Dovetail Jig Set
- 6. Sommerfeld’s New Dovetail Jig
- 7. General Tools 861 Pro Dovetailer 2 Dovetail Jig
- 8. Woodstock D2796 12-Inch Dovetail Jig
- 9. PORTER-CABLE 4212 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
- 10. Rockler Complete Dovetail Jig
- Which Dovetail Jig Should You Buy?
1. PORTER-CABLE 4216 Dovetail Jig
The Porter Cable 4216 Dovetail jig includes a 4211 template for half-blind, rabbeted half blind and sliding dovetails. It also includes a 4213 template for through dovetails and box joints.
It has a 4215 template for through and half-blind dovetails and miniature box joints. It holds ¼ to 1-1/8th inches stock and has sandpaper backed locking bars to grip wood. It comes with two lock nuts, wrench, and instruction manual.
It is made of durable aluminum and offers accurate dovetail cutting. The router permits woodworkers to accurately design and measure dovetail with excellent support. It also easy to clamp or bolt to a workbench.
- Dovetail jig is easy to use, line up and flush
- Performs meticulously and cuts dovetail with little effort
- Provides tight fitting finger joints and adjustable templates
- Instructions complicated, and setup is too slow
- Jig does not make traditional dovetails
2. Leigh Super 12″ Dovetail Jig
The Leigh Super 12” Dovetail Jig features two sizes of box joints 5/16” and 5/8” that provides a precise adjustment fit with the Leigh E-bush. It includes a ½”-8-degree dovetail bit and ½” – 14-degree dovetail bit. It has a 5/16” straight bit and ½” to 8mm collet reducer.
It has adjustable one-piece fingers and can be altered to fit various joint patterns that allow a half pin at the edge of each joint. The crosscut fence allows both pieces of wood to fit on the template. It offers assorted sizes of dovetails to be cut and a tailboard that has a two-function spacer.
- Manual includes video to help with set up
- Simplicity when cutting pin and tails without adjustment
- Ability to several types of jigs
- Price is too high and
- Difficult assembly
3. Keller Dovetail System
The Keller Dovetail System includes a 15-inch precision milled template and accommodates wood from 1/8 to ¾ inches think. It accepts unlimited widths and lengths and is a back to back mode.
It is great for beginners and hobbyists interested in small to midsize projects. It can cut variable spaced, acute and obtuse dovetails. As well as compound-angled and curved dovetails.
It can also cut box and knuckle joints that are ideal for drawers and cabinet making. It is lightweight and can easily fit into your workspace. It makes high quality dovetails and has great reviews from customers.
- Easy to use on router tabletop
- Easy to assemble and utilize
- Instructions are not difficult to follow
- Difficult to the put backer on
- Box joint method is difficult to use
4. Leigh Super 18″ Dovetail Jig
The Leigh Super 18” Dovetail Jig has a cross-cut fence design and has a sliding dovetail template. It allows for the selection of five half-bind bits and rout half-blind joints that fit your needs.
It includes settings that are interchangeable for pin wrenching and tightening the E-bush snap. It is easy to adjust and to make precise and accurate dovetails.
It has rout half-blind pin boards and tail boards with a two-function space that offsets the tailboard allows joints to be completed in one pass with super jigs. The super jig is part of the revolutionary new Leigh E-bush and has precise adjustments.
- Excellent for cabinetry
- Easy set up
- Fast clamping and holds tight
- Some parts are made with plastic
- The aligning fingers misaligned
5. MLCS 6406 Pins and Tails Half Blind Dovetail Jig Set
The MLCS 6406 Pins and Tails Half Blind Dovetail Jig Set includes a ¼ inch shank router and is easy to use. It has a solid aluminum template and steel jig for making a half-blind dovetail joint or half-blind rabbeted dovetail joint.
This product is good to use to create sturdy boxes and drawers and has steel beams that secure workpieces in place. It works with ½” to 1” drawer sides and 5/8” to 1” drawer front. It allows both sides of the half-blind dovetail to be joint simultaneously. It has self-spacing guides that secure proper joint alignment.
- Creates great dovetails
- Jig is lightweight
- Joints are tight and feels solid
- Hard to read instructions
- Spacing on jig is not precise
6. Sommerfeld’s New Dovetail Jig
The Sommerfeld New Dovetail Jig is lightweight and weighs 8.8lbs. It is easy to use and setup. It is good to use for making drawers and increases production speed.
It includes an aluminum plate with slotted teeth that secures wood for cutting accurate dovetails. The instructions include a video to assist with setup and the alignment is even allowing accurate cutting.
- Speeds up projects
- Easy setup instructions
- Creates clean dovetails
- Clamp bar does not hold work piece
7. General Tools 861 Pro Dovetailer 2 Dovetail Jig
General Tools 861 Pro Dovetailer 2 Dovetail Jig is sturdy and self-aligning with one-piece aluminum construction. It has a 14-degree ½ inch dovetail router bit for use with a hand or table router.
It is lightweight and good for making half-blind or through dovetail and box joints. It can be used for furniture building, cabinet making and carpentry projects. It is self-aligning and ensures dovetails line up evenly and accurately for cutting.
It has integrated clamps that permits precise jigs to ensure that the table router and control knobs are secured. It is portable and easy to maneuver and will fit easily on your workbench.
- Excellent for beginner woodworkers
- Allows users to cut dovetails quickly
- Superior quality and great price
- Instruction manual is confusing
- Produces short tails
8. Woodstock D2796 12-Inch Dovetail Jig
Woodstock D2796 12-Inch Dovetail Jig with Aluminum Template has a 7/16-inch guide bushing and ½ inch 14-degree dovetail router bit and ½ inch aluminum template.
It makes ½ inch half blind dovetail joints and is good for use with making drawers. It has cam-action clamping system that locks two boards in position to cut both tails simultaneously.
It holds stock from ½ to 1-1/4 inches thick with widths up to 12. It comes with easily adjustable knobs and makes ½ half-blind dovetail joints. It comes with instructions and is durable made with steel.
- Good for hobby use and making drawers and boxes
- Easy to read instructions
- Easy to set up and makes beautiful dovetails
- Clamp is not tight and plastic knobs
- Fence is not adjustable and hard to tighten
9. PORTER-CABLE 4212 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
The Porter Cable 4212 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig consists of a template with half blind, rabbeted half-blind and sliding dovetails and box joints. It’s great for making furniture and cabinets and can accommodate ¼ to 1-1/8” stock.
It has heavy duty cam clamps and sandpaper backed locking bars for gripping wood. It’s been built to provide long lasting service and durability and is easy to set up.
It has a router bit with depth gauge that permits the user to customize bit depths. It comes with easy to follow instructions and will fit on your work bench with direct bolting.
- Makes bonds without fasteners and adhesives
- Replaces the old way of cutting dovetails
- Easy to cut dovetails
- Jigs and templates are unstable
- Difficult to learn to use
10. Rockler Complete Dovetail Jig
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware Complete dovetail jig is a newer version of the product. It is a one-piece jig and will be a good addition to your workshop. It offers clean and neat cuts and is built for accuracy.
The template for this jig is ½” to ¾” thick stock and cuts ½” to 1-1/8” thick dovetailed joints. It also cuts 3/8” to ¾” thick full through dovetails. It fits stock up to 11” wide 8mm bits and are 25% larger than the usual ¼” bits.
There is a template and fence that are marked for standard thickness stock. This item includes clamping bars and surface grip stock with a depth gauge template to set dovetail bits.
- Provides professional joinery
- Terrific value for the price
- Easy to set up
- Difficult to mount on work bench
- Jigs are plastic
Which Dovetail Jig Should You Buy?
These are the dovetail jigs available to help you with your woodworking projects. They are all designed to increase your productivity and design high quality dovetails.
I recommend the MLCS 6406 Pins and Tails Half Blind Dovetail Jig Set because it is a durable product that allows joints to bind simultaneously. It also has spacing guides to ensure proper alignment and will fit easily into my workspace.
If you are a woodworker purchasing a dovetail jig is a necessity.