Best Dovetail Jig Reviews (2019): The Tools We Swear By, Compared
A good dovetail jig is indispensable in a woodworker’s arsenal. Whether you are making cabinets or furniture, you need a dovetail jig to hold timber vertically, so you can easily cut it using a router. You would want to scrutinize your choices carefully and pick those that can truly be relied on for such a job. Check out our recommendations for the best dovetail jig below.
Best Dovetail Jig 2019 Reviews
Here are the dovetail jigs we recommend getting for all sorts of woodworking projects:
- Porter-Cable 4216 Super Jig Dovetail Jig
- Rockler Complete Dovetail Jig
- Leigh Super 12-Inch Dovetail Jig
- Porter-Cable 4212 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
Here are the features that make these dovetail jigs a cut above the rest:
1. Porter-Cable 4216 Super Jig Dovetail Jig
Use this right out of the box. Its single-piece steel base design ensures that there is no need for lengthy and rigorous assembly. You can use it to clamp wood stock with measurements from ¼ inch to 1-1/8 inch in thickness. It has a solid base and durable construction that makes this a sterling choice for more demanding woodworking needs.
Attach stock with ease through its cam-type clamps that is made from heavy-duty materials. The locking bars have sandpaper backing so that it grips the wood better. There are 3 templates included in your purchase. Setting up the templates is easy, thanks to the template alignment lines.
This is an ideal choice for beginners as it doesn’t require a lengthy set-up. The single-piece steel base design makes way for easier and more seamless assembly. With this unit, you should be able to get started in your woodwork without spending a lot more time and effort.
You can clamp it directly to a tabletop or a workbench. Once it clamps down, it doesn’t budget. The clamps are very sturdy.
This dovetail jig is backed by a 3-year warranty. It also comes with a 1-year free service. The warranty covers any faults and defects caused by poor workmanship. The one year service will replace worn out parts and also include routine maintenance.
Making joints is no longer as intimidating with the help of this tool. Even beginners were able to pull it off successfully.
You might have difficulties in creating joints with flush edges. Some people find the small edge guide a bit inaccurate.
2. Rockler Complete Dovetail Jig
Versatility is one of the strongest suits of this dovetail jig. What makes this different from all others is its phenolic templates made from durable materials. Aside from the templates, your purchase includes 3 8mm shank router bits, collet adapter, guide bushing and an instruction booklet.
It weighs 24 pounds, which might be a bit heavy for some but if you are looking for more weight so the dovetail is more stable, this should be an ideal choice.
This unit has a solid construction that will help you accomplish your woodworking projects efficiently. The parts won’t break easily and even if it did, you can get the help of the manufacturing company.
It is very easy to use. Some users said they were able to get the hang of using it and were able to cut blind dovetails after just a bit of practice. If you are a beginner looking for a dovetail jig with a short learning curve, this should be a good choice.
The price is just right. In fact, for its features, some people are willing to spend even more money on it.
It includes everything you need to use this.
Many people commend its dust collection system. It is one of the best when it comes to dovetail jigs.
The setup and assembly might be a bit more tedious than some people expect. Some also said they had to replace the collet reduce that has been included in their purchase because it is not made from quality materials.
3. Leigh Super 12-Inch Dovetail Jig
Never produce poorly-made joints ever again. This versatile and accommodating dovetail jig is capable of holding up to 12 inches of wood. This dovetail jig has variable spacing and it can accommodate making half-blind dovetails. The one-piece fingers are completely adjustable. If there is a joint pattern you want to accomplish, you can easily do so with its easy positioning system.
You can get the depth cut you prefer and use different bits. You can choose from the included half-blind bits and opt for the depth you prefer for your specific project.
What makes this dovetail jig stand out from the rest is its Leigh E-bush, a revolutionary system that is unique to this machine. You can make adjustments with utmost precision.
You are paying more for the solid construction of this dovetail jig. Although it is more expensive, you can be assured that it will last for a long time because of how solid it is. Aside from the sturdy body, this comes with a solid guide as well. The guides are made from aluminum material mixed with ABS plastic.
It is very flexible. It can accommodate half blind, rabbeted, sliding, decorative and asymmetric dovetails. If you are lost, don’t worry because this comes with instructions and documentation that you need to get started. It has an instructional DVD and a manual to show you how it works.
Set-up is a cinch, according to some users. They did not have issues assembling it. It is basically ready to be used.
It is quite expensive for a dovetail jig. Some also said the router bits included have a shaft size that looks off.
4. Porter-Cable 4212 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
If you get this dovetail jig, you will get a 4211 template to make your half-blind, sliding and rabbeted half-blind jigs. It also includes a 4213 to create box joints and through dovetails. You can set up the alignments with ease, thanks to its template alignment lines. You can tweak the set-up and the depth to correspond to your specific needs
This comes with detailed instruction on how to use it so even newbies will be able to get started in using this without a lot of work and assembly. It is a durable tool that you can rely on for different projects and subject to a lot of wear and tear without issues.
It is heavy-duty. From the base to the clamps, you can be assured that this is a dovetail jig that will serve you well for a long time.
Assembly doesn’t take a long time. You can use it right out of the box.
It comes with everything you need. The manual is already included, so you can get started in learning how to use this. It is an ideal choice for beginners.
It has a lot of adjustable features, great for making different dovetails and joints.
This unit comes with a 3-year limited warranty. The warranty covers any manufacturer’s defects.
It is a lot less expensive than other jigs, but it doesn’t compromise when it comes to quality. For its price, it also creates well-made and professional-looking joints.
There were just some people who said they had issues with the alignment.
Which One Should You Get?
Great for Beginners: Porter-Cable 4216 Super Jig Dovetail Jig. If you are an adventurous beginner, you will definitely find this tool very useful. For its price, it is packed with some great features that can make cabinetry and any kind of woodwork a lot easier.
Value for Your Money: Rockler Complete Dovetail Jig. You don’t need to spend so much money to get a reliable dovetail jig – not when you can get this one from Rockler. It has everything you need to get started. It is also packed with features that come handy when it comes to creating well-made dovetails.
Perfect for Professionals: Leigh Super 12-Inch Dovetail Jig. If you are a professional who wants to produce a wide range of joints, this will definitely serve you well. It has a lot of flexibility, thanks to its adjustable features. It is also quite durable and has a nice and solid design that will make this easy to use.
Affordable Dovetail Jig: Porter-Cable 4212 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig. If you are looking for a more affordable dovetail jig, set your sights on this one. Although it is less expensive than the others, it still delivers the features you can find in the more expensive models.
What are the Benefits of a Dovetail Joint?
The main purpose of a dovetail joint is its design and beauty. It is just stunning to look at. Your woodworking projects will all look professionally-done. If you are going to use contrasting wood, you can create a beautiful design.
It is also a type of joint known for its durability and strength. Because of its interlocking feature, there is more surface to be glued. This allows you to glue two pieces of wood together for a more durable and long-wearing joint.
It can be tedious to make but with the right templates and with the right dovetail jig, you can create those joints seamlessly.
What to Look For in a Dovetail Joint
If you want to gain more confidence in buying a dovetail joint, here are a few more things you need to look for:
Templates. What are the templates included in your purchase? Ideally, you would want it to have basic templates. These templates should be easy to install. They should also be made from durable materials that are not susceptible to damages, so you will be able to use them for a long time. Often times, people experience inaccuracy in using the templates and this is where the problem lies in creating joints that fit.
Adjustable Features. Features that allow you to adjust the settings of the dovetail joint are good. These features ensure that you are getting the right settings that will work for the design you have in mind. If you have a specific joint design that you want to accomplish and no template will accommodate that, you can use this feature to accomplish what you want.
Durable Base. Since you will be using it for cutting purposes, it is important that the machine is durable. Look for a jig that has a durable base that is capable of withstanding wear and tear. It should be able to last for a long time even when subjected to damages. The base should also be stable and solid so that you can accomplish those tasks easily.
Clamps. Look for one with a strong clamp mechanism. It should be able to grasp the wood effectively so that it doesn’t slip.
Warranty. Make sure it is backed by a long warranty. A long warranty means if there are problems with the machine, it will be fixed by the manufacturer. You can also get a replacement with the help of the warranty. Some manufacturers even include a maintenance guarantee. They can maintain the dovetail jig if there are parts that wear out.
Price. Compare prices. Look for those that have a reasonable and accessible price tag and one that fits your budget well.
Manual. One of the things that people complain about when it comes to the dovetail jigs out there is insufficient manual. There are those who are using these tools for the first time, so it is important that it comes with a manual that will include detailed instructions on how to use it. Some manufacturers even include instructional videos, so you can learn how to set it up and use it effectively.
Assembly. Pick one that is easy to assemble. You don’t want those that take hours just to set up. You would want something that you can use right out of the box or will require very minimal assembly.
These are the things you need to keep in mind. To complete your woodworking arsenal, head to our homepage and find out what other tools you can add to your equipment. Check out our buying guides and product reviews to be guided on which ones to buy.