The Akeda dovetail jig first hit the woodworking world in March 2003. Production problems took this tool off the market for a while, but now it's back and available from more distributors than before. The Akeda DC-16 jig, $330, has a 16-in. capacity and cuts variably spaced through and half-blind dovetails. A handful of points separate this jig from others. No jig-tweaking is required to get a perfect fit of the joint. Cut 'em, put 'em together and that's it. The guide fingers snap in and out of the jig; no tools are required. A $30 dust port can connect to effectively capture a lot of the chips that pour off the cutter. Guide rails fully support the router, so you don't have to balance it on the jig. And the jig comes fully assembled—all you have to do is bolt it to a board. This jig is easy to get started with and easy to use. The negative side? Well, the price adds up fast. The base price gets you the jig and one set of guide fingers. Add $36 to get the two basic router bits you need for through dovetails in 3/4-in. stock. You can buy extra bits and fingers for half-blind dovetails and other thicknesses of material individually or in a package. A package that includes the jig, dust port and every set of fingers and bits the jig can handle costs $500. The 16-in. capacity is also a disadvantage. Comparable jigs in this price range have a 24-in. capacity. Akeda hopes to have a 24-in. version later in 2005.
Akeda Jig, (877) 387-6544, www.akedajigs.com, Akeda DC-16 jig, $330.