Best Dovetail Jig Reviews: Definitive Guide For 2018

Every time you try to create neat and accurate dovetail joints you can't seem to get them right. You mess up countless pieces of wood using tools that are downright primitive. You're so frustrated by the misaligned joints you sweated to produce using mallet and chisel that the only thing left to do is to throw in the towel.

So, what's the solution?

Find a dovetail jig that will significantly improve the quality of the dovetail joints you can produce quickly and easily. There are so many options you can consider for the best dovetail jig on the market.  All it takes is a little research to find just the one that suits your purpose.

Certainly, it's possible to locate the dovetail jig that will make your woodworking and joinery tasks much easier. You'll be amazed at the wide variety of dovetail jigs available in various sizes, designs and features.

What is a Dovetail jig?

Most woodworkers know what a dovetail jig is, so this section of the review may be just a reminder.  For those who are perfectly clueless about what this piece of equipment really is, this information is also for you.

A dovetail jig is a tool used to shape dovetail joints so effectively in wood. It is designed either as a stand-alone equipment or as a compact tool for use on a router table or workbench.

This tool is an efficient substitute for the traditional mallet and chisel woodworkers have been using to make interlocking joints for ages. With a dovetail jig, it's possible to create professional quality dovetail joints that are precisely interlocking. A dovetail jig is also a guide for the router when cutting dovetail joints for drawers, boxes and other joinery. Most modern dovetail jigs are among the best dovetail jig for router table that are available.

Because the cutting of dovetail joints is so demanding and time-consuming to do by hand, the dovetail jig has become quite a handy tool.

Not only is the dovetail jig a handy and time-saving tool, its a flexible piece of equipment that is designed to produce through dovetails, half-blind dovetails, sliding dovetail, rabbeted half-blind dovetail, decorative dovetails, box joints and asymmetric dovetails. You name it, the dovetail jig allows you to produce professional quality dovetails that are impressive interlocking joints.

7 Best Dovetail Jig Reviews:

Let's begin with the Porter-Cable 4216 Super Jig.  This jig is great for creating furniture and cabinets and to do other woodworking tasks that demand dovetail joints. You can cut many different joints for boxes, drawers, and other furniture that requires joints that you simply interlock with minimal effort.

With your Porter-Cable Super Jig, you'll also receive a 4211 template that will enable you to create half-blind, rabbeted half-blind, and sliding dovetail joints.  With that, you'll also get a 4213 template to create through dovetail and box joints as well as a 4215 template to create miniature through, box, and dovetail joints.  

Furthermore, with the dovetail jig, you won't be frustrated by mismatching joints and crude woodwork. You can actually set your bit depths using the router bit gauge without having to measure anything. Also, the solid design of the steel base does not need any assembly on your part, and you can clamp or bolt the base to your workbench directly.

Porter-Cable is so confident that its super jig is the best dovetail jig on the market that it has provided a limited warranty covering three-years against poor workmanship or material.  They also offer free one-year service to maintain the jig and replace parts that have gone bad because of normal wear and tear.

 You may need to be patient with yourself if at first you mess up your test joints using your Porter Cable 4216 Super Jig. Read the instructions carefully and even watch a couple of step-by-step videos and try again. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find the Porter Cable quite easy to use with consistently high-quality results.

Highlighted Features:

  • Features material clamps that flatten boards for easier cutting
  • Very durable, does not need assembly
  • Can hold stock from 1/4 to 1-1/8 inches thick
  • Grips wood firmly with its strong clamps and locking bars
  • Allows superior wood cutting accuracy with its machined aluminium templates
  • Backed by a three-year limited warranty to cover faults in materials or workmanship (from the day you purchased it)

You can be sure that with the Leigh Super 12 inch Dovetail Jig you'll get superior dovetail joints that are precise. Your handiwork will be of an exceptional quality that can only come with the help of the best dovetail jig on the market.

No other jig is as versatile and precise as this super jig by Leigh. If you don't mind paying a higher price, then this jig is suitable for you.

The superb joints you'll achieve is possible thanks to Leigh's revolutionary E-bush. Every adjustment you make is precisely done with a simple twist of the E-bush that changes the active diameter and the fit of half-blind dovetails and finger joints. You can also change the settings using the pin wrench that is included.  The unique locking nut allows you to tighten the E-bush easily, without hassle.  Simply choose any of the five half-blind bits that are available and rout the half-blind joints to the depth that is most suitable to your task.

One of the best features of the Leigh Super 12 inch Jig is the one-piece fingers that can be positioned in different ways to suit any joint pattern. This guarantees a half-pin at each end of your joint no matter how wide the board is. You can also create a sliding dovetail template by fitting the cross cut fence on the fingers.

Imagine being able to rout tailboards and half-blind pins at the same time.  You can do this using the dual-function spacer that is also included with the Leigh Super Dovetail Jig. The spacer actually offsets the tail board so that you can, in one go, rout complete joints. With this super jig, you're not confined to a single bit and cut depth at a time.

With your order of the Leigh Super 12 inch Jig you'll receive a 5/16" straight bit, 1/2"-14 degree dovetail bit, 1/2"-8 degree dovetail bit, a 1/2" to 8mm collet reducer, an E-bush, a sliding dovetail fence, and a half-blind bridge piece material.

This jig, however, supports router bits that are 80mm in shaft size but an 80 mm to ½ inch collet adapter is also supplied. You can also purchase from the suppliers additional bits including for half-blind dovetails excluding the 7/16 inch depth, and for single-pass half-blind joints except for the 9/32 inches. 

Highlighted Features:

  • Cam action clamps and aluminium clamp bars secure the workpiece against clamping surfaces that do not allow slipping
  • Can make two box joint sizes – 5/16” and the 5/8” with the finger assembly
  • Works with any router
  • Jig comes with a fully illustrated guide for users and DVD

The Keller Dovetail system 135-1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig is easily the most productive and accurate jig you can find anywhere.  Once you take the time to accurately construct the supporting board then you're good to go. You can immediately see how easy it is to construct beautiful dovetail joints in hardwoods including mahogany, walnut, curly maple and cherry. All the joints you create using this jig will be effortless and done to your satisfaction.

The Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig is a best value dovetail jig - an affordable alternative to other jigs on the market. If you're a beginner or an amateur with midsized or small projects, this jig is perfect for you. Even seasoned woodworkers will appreciate this versatile jig model.

So versatile is this jig that you can use it to cut variable spaced,  classic, obtuse, acute, curved and compound angled dovetail joints as well as knuckle and box joints with ease. This back-to-back jig model is designed to handle wood with thickness between 1/8 to ¾ inch regardless of width using a single template that is milled to precision from a phenolic plate.

Unlike other dovetail jigs, you can use any router – plunge, table, or hand – without having to worry about adapter plates.

Along with your jig, you'll get a phenolic guide, straight bit, standard dovetail bit, and ball-bearing template guides.

Highlighted Features:

  • Very durable
  • Easy to use for any project, large or small
  • Using the required bearing guided bits will achieve tight tolerance and superbly fitted dovetail joints
  • This jig works wonderfully on a router table, no worry about balancing the router as you make your cuts
  • Comes with full instructions with adequate illustrations to guide users

Another super jig that will impress you is the Leigh Super 18 inch Dovetail Jig. Expect high-quality woodwork whenever you use this best dovetail jig on the market.

Leigh's one-of-a-kind E-bush allows you to produce neat and beautiful dovetail joints. Adjustments are precise to the joints you need to make. With the pin wrench that is also included, you can easily change the settings of your jig.  Any of the 5 half-blind bits can be chosen for the routing of half-blind joints to suit your project.

The Leigh Super 18-inch Jig also features one-piece fingers that you can adjust in a number of ways to achieve any joint pattern. No matter how wide your board is, you can create a half-pin at each end of your joint.

Also, the Leigh Super 18 inch Dovetail Jig features a sliding template made by fitting the cross cut fence on the finger assembly. With this jig also you can rout half-blind pin and tailboards together.  This is possible with the spacer that serves a dual function that comes with this super jig. With this spacer, which offsets the tailboard, you can, in one attempt, rout complete joints.

You might find this jig to be a little lightweight and not very sturdy but it is still up to the task. You'll also notice that the side caps are made of durable plastic, which isn't such a bad thing. The clamping bars also seem very light and are prone to flexing. It's, however, quite easy to align the finger guides on your super jig with the help of the square drive screwdriver included. You may, however, experience problems laying the fingers perfectly flat but with a little practice, you can get this right. 

Highlighted Features:

  • This jig is compatible with any router
  • The workpiece is firmly secured with clamps and aluminium clamp bars
  • With the finger assembly this jig can be used to create two box joint sizes – 5/16” and the 5/8”
  • Fully illustrated users guide along with a DVD are also provided

No doubt you'll find the MLCS 6406 Pins and Tails Half Blind Dovetail Jig Set a dream to use.  The first thing you'll notice is the precise manufacture of the solid aluminium template and steel jig.  This precision machining, achieved using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) techniques, will allow the easy creation of sturdy and safe dovetail joints or rabbeted joints.

Certainly, this jig set is the best solution for creating sturdy drawers and boxes featuring the classic dovetail joint design. It is also the best dovetail jig for router table use.

An advantage of using this jig set is that you 'll be able to cut both sides of the half-blind dovetail joint simultaneously. This means you'll always achieve dovetail joints that fit perfectly.

A purchase of this jig also comes with a 14 Degree Dovetail Bit (1/4" shank).You'll need to buy the 5/8" router guide bushing separately.

Highlighted Features:

  • The solid aluminium templates are created with precision using computer numerical control (CNC) machining
  • Steel beams keep both workpieces firmly in place
  • This jig is appropriate for ½ inch to 1 inch drawer sides and 5/8 inch to 1 inch drawer fronts (and up to 12 inches wide).
  • Precise joint alignment and proper offset are created using the self-spacing edge guides
  • This jig comes with a complete instruction manual to guide from start to finish

This easy to use jig is another remarkable option you can choose from among the best dovetail jigs on the market. With this tool, you'll quickly make high-quality dovetail joints from your router table or workbench. Expect nothing but complete precision as well as long-lasting durability when you use this dovetail jig.

One good thing about this jig is that it also features an aluminium plate that eliminates the need for you to insert individual teeth to enable alignment. If you've never done a dovetail before, don't despair, the clearly written instructions will assist you. Even a complete novice would quickly get the hang of using this high-quality dovetail jig.

By the way, with this dovetail jig, you'll also get a 5/8" pattern bit, a 7/16" dovetail router bit, a pre-assembled jig with Sommerfeld's dovetail plate, edge stops, and a 5/32" Allen wrench.

Perhaps the only con is that the clamp bar securing the workpiece to the jig could have been a little sturdier. The aluminium tends to flex across the workpiece. To fix that, you'll need to ensure that the wood is well secured before cutting.

Highlighted Features:

  • Very easy to use for any dovetail joints
  • Works with any router
  • Solid aluminium plate makes alignment easier
  • Comes with full and easy to understand instructions

Another answer to your dovetailing needs is the General Tools 861 EZ Pro Dovetailer 2 Dovetail Jig.  Its all-in-one design is effective in producing sturdy, accurate dovetail joints easily right out-of-the-box. You will also find it among the best budget dovetail jig solutions that are available on the market.

Certainly, you can achieve professional quality dovetail joints by using only this jig with a table or handheld router. Whether you are a novice woodworker or a seasoned professional, you can produce half-blind or complete dovetail joints and box joints without a hassle.

One of its cool features is the self-aligning design that ensures the perfect matching of both ends of the dovetail joint.  The new table router control knobs are accurate and comfortable to use.

This dovetail jig is also very easy to carry around so you can use it anywhere you want. It comes with a ½ inch dovetail router bit that you can also use. The sturdy aluminium material and integrated clamps allow for accurate connection to your workpiece.

Highlighted Features:

  • This jig is simple to understand and operate
  • Directions are easy to follow
  • Calibrations and adjustments are easy to understand and complete
  • Made of aluminium, and appears durable enough for many years of use
  • Jig is accurate; can produce both half-blind and full dovetail joints

Final Verdict​​​​

You won't need to spend endless hours and waste wood chiselling out dovetail joints ever again now that you have seen the best dovetail jigs from our selection. Your reputation for producing professional quality dovetail joints quickly and easily is ensured with any of these top dovetail jigs.

Why endure frustration and loss of valuable time and material? Convert to the dovetail jig and see your productivity soar. There is nothing to regret with these dovetail jigs. We have already done the research for you, so you may select from our best value dovetail jig or, if you prefer, continue your research to find other dovetail jigs that may suit you better.

Christopher Thomas
 

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