A new favorite among model makers and DIYers is the Leigh Dovetail Jig. The Leigh model offers many of the features of a professional model at an affordable price. Its plastic construction allows it to be easily cleaned with soap and water. The plastic construction also makes it easy to add various accessories to the jigs.
One of the best recently received boon! The new D4R 24 jig has a one piece aluminum extrusion frame with machined in non-marring textured clamping edges and machined in side stops on both the front and bottom of the jigs. The top side stop has a 3/8 ” recess for rabbetted wooden plugs. Unlike its older predecessor, the D4R now easily produces handmade looking glued dovetail pin and tail heads.
A unique feature of the D4R is its finger assembly design. The router bits fit into finger ramps that are inserted into the side slot of the jigs. This is great for working tight places, and eliminates having to use glue or small rubber mallets to hammer the router bits into place. After the router bits are installed, you can easily remove the finger assembly and add it to another D4R jig for another tight work area. This is also great for working in tight spaces like boxes. With no need to worry about the bits sticking to each other, this makes this a very fast and efficient product.
The R-action clamp on the leigh Dovetail Jig is designed to allow a larger base length and greater tightening capability than standard dovetails. It does this by using a patented design called “clamp and lock.” The R-action clamping system locks the dovetails together, which prevents the bit from rotating, even though it is tightened. Because of this locking mechanism, it is possible to work with standard sized dovetails in these super jigs.
Like other variations of the leigh dovetail jig, the router version has a light weight design and high strength performance. It utilizes a unique dovetail guide bushings system that allows it to be more efficient in making angled cuts. These dovetail guide bushings are contained within the cam plate, which is a specially designed part of the jigs. The guide bushings are available in various sizes and designs, with one being a completely different size than the other.
Because the router version uses a dovetail guide, the cut can be made much faster due to having the templates around the edges of each template. In addition, these dovetails allow for a much sturdier joint than that of standard dovetail jigs. Because of these benefits, a router version is frequently used in woodworking shops for the difficult to handle and accurate dovetail joints. Because of these qualities, the template design has become a popular choice for many woodworkers.
One variation on the leigh Dovetail Jig is the “tear-out” variety. This version is similar to the cutter version in that it uses a thin metal blade for cutting the dovetails. However, it does so with an extra step: the tear-out notch. Unlike the cutter version which just uses a straight cut, the tear-out step makes the distance between the templates longer. This allows for sturdier joints because the templates have been forced closer together, making the joints stronger.
As one can see, there are many different variations on the same theme of using dovetails in woodworking. Depending on the type of joint needed, the cutter or tear-out variants can be used. The most popular form of routing is the half-blind dovetails finger joints where the joint is hidden from sight using a slit in the material to create a cove-like joint. Other common types of routing include the stellated dovetail and the double blind dovetails.