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Winter 2013-2014

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Well-Equipped Shop - Dovetails in One Pass

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Dovetails in One Pass

Leigh Dovetail Jigs have long been known for their ability to make drawer joints that look handmade—joints with wide tails and narrow pins. This was a major improvement over standard half-blind dovetail jigs, which could only make joints with pins and tails of equal width. These standard jigs had one big advantage, however: You could rout both the front and side of a drawer at the same time, in a single pass. With a Leigh jig, you had to cut each piece separately, using different setups.

The newest Leigh jig—the D4RPro—now allows you to make equal-spaced half-blind dovetails in a single pass, just like a standard jig. But if you have a variable-space jig, why would you want to do that? Leigh suggests two good reasons: First, if variable spacing isn’t that important for your project, and you have a number of drawers to make, routing fronts and sides in a single pass goes faster. Second, most drawers made in the last 100 years were made with equal-spaced dovetails, and someday you may need to copy or repair one.

The new feature on the D4RPro that allows you to rout two pieces at once is really quite simple. It consists of two parts: a black stop rod, inserted through the fingers, that limits the router’s cut into the drawer front; and a snap-on spacer that automatically offsets the drawer front and side by the correct distance.

Both the rod and the spacer are available as upgrades to the previous Leigh model, the D4R. You’ll have to drill some holes through its fingers to accommodate the rod, however, or you can purchase a new set of fingers with holes already drilled in them.

 

Source:

Leigh, leighjigs.com, 800-663-8932, Leight D4R Pro, $549; D4R Upgrade Kit, $29; D4R Pro Guide Finger Set, $99.