Leigh Super 18 Unburied

glenn bradley

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SoCal
I feel like an archeologist when I'm digging out woodworking stuff from storage; there's layers.
:)
Found my new DT jig. If this is the result from my very first try I will have to call this one a keeper.

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I figured I needed a safe place for this thing and had a sheet of C/D plywood sheeting leftover.

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The case clamps to the work surface and the jig attaches via machine screws and t-nuts using fasteners that take the same screwdriver as everything else on the jig.

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The jig slides under cleats that keep it secure whilst moving it about.

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I added a second set of cleats to hold a simple tray (speed was the consideration here not sophistication
:D
). The tray has a block that holds bits and the 8mm collet reducers when not in use. There's also a magnet for the screwdriver and room for the bridge-piece material and manual.

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It fits in like so.

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And the lid fastens on with a spare pair of draw catches I had leftover from the adjustable table effort.

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I need to practice more to where I feel comfortable with the process. I bought some additional bits from another forum member several months ago in anticipation . . . can't find 'em
:angry:
. I figure that like the jig, they'll turn up while digging through one layer or or another.
 
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Catalunya
Geez!! what a long snake you have on your shop floor Glenn!
Jokes apart, I'm glad that you posted this. I see that you keep up with our expectations (y) (y) (y)
 

Charles Lent

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I have the D4R with the vacuum/guide rail like that, and it does a great job of cutting variable spaced dovetails. Through dovetails are fairly easy. Have you cut any half blind dovetails yet? (not as easy) Using two routers, one for the straight bit, and one for the dovetail bit lets you get them set just right (the hard part) and then keep those settings all the way through the project. If only using one router, you will need to change bits 1/2 way through the job, and if you need to go back for any reason, getting the exact bit setting will be nearly impossible.

I use 1/2" shank bits, as the 1/4" flex too much and cause joint errors.

If you will be doing a large project where you will be lifting the routers on and off of the jig many times all day, build yourself a stand about the height of the top of the jig and place it behind and off to the side of the Leigh jig and make it to fit the base of the routers with a large hole for the bit to go through and guides to keep the router in place for easy lifting the routers on and off of the jig. A one hole stand with tapered guides for the router base will do, since you will only be using one router at a time. Before building this stand, I cut dovetails all day long, setting the router on it's side on the bench, and discovered that I couldn't reach high enough to comb my hair the next morning. My arm muscles were very sore from moving the routers on and off the jig.

Also, if both routers are the same make and model, put tape on the top of the motor and draw the shape of the bit that's in it, so you don't pick up the wrong router DAMHIKT.

Draw an arrow on the top of each router base with a marking pen, and always point the arrow toward the jig when using the router. This will negate any offsets of the guide collar and router bit that may exist. The whole joint may be shifted left or right slightly if the router bushing is not centered with the bit, but the joint will fit together perfectly. A pass through the table saw will remove the slight mismatched edge of the drawer side to front, if you should discover the shifted joint and nobody but you will know after the 1/16" or less is trimmed off the side piece.

When setting up the dovetail joint spacing of the jig, I intentionally make one space wider at the top end than the rest to make it easy to keep things oriented as I had intended.

Since buying an Incra I-Box jig and Freud SBOX8 blade set, I almost never cut dovetail joints any more. The I-Box jig is so much faster to set up and will allow cutting perfect joints with on my table saw, so they look great. I almost never spend the time setting up to cut dovetail joints any more. Box joints are every bit as strong when cut and glued properly. I threw away my shop made box joint jigs (one for each size) after getting the I-Box jig and saved shop space. I had about a dozen of them in a pile in the shop attic, and the I-Box replaced them all because it's so easy to change the joint size. When you change the cut width, it changes the pin width automatically to match. Any size pin/space width from 1/8 to 1" is easy now and always matches the cut width of the blade being used. Under or over sized blade width is never a problem.

Charley
 

glenn bradley

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SoCal
Great stuff as usual Charles but this . . .
Also, if both routers are the same make and model, put tape on the top of the motor and draw the shape of the bit that's in it, so you don't pick up the wrong router DAMHIKT.
. . . is my favorite :D.
Being a G&G fan I cut more finger joints than many folks; proud, flush, asymmetrical, half-proud, etc. About the only time I used dovetails was when people would request them. I can stumble through them by hand but I am slow. Despite my efforts and re-re-re-committment to practice them more by hand I am still a poor dove-tailer. Pretty much the same story as my attempts at golf. I played twice a week for a year and only brought my game down by a very few strokes . . . I'm just not very good at it :mad:.

I had a Rockler jig for a while but it was not very helpful. I vacillated for quite a bit before deciding on the particular model I chose to fit most of my requirements. Now that I have a place to use it and have dug it out of the pile I hope it earns its keep :). I have pretty much decided to not take anymore outside work until I finish outfitting the house. It may be that the need for the jig has gone before I ever got to use it (!). I have an idea about storing the routers on the top of the case during use. Your tip on using tapered guides to help place the routers will get factored in. I'll come back and add that if it works out. Thanks again.
 

Jim DeLaney

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Austintown, Ohio
Just a minor criticism, Glenn: Shouldn't the case for a DOVETAIL JIG have dovetailed joinery? 🤔

Back when I bought my Leigh D4 - about 30 years ago - it came with plans for the case.
Since then, though, like Charly I seldom use the Leigh. I use the I-Box and do box joints instead.
 

Rennie Heuer

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I have the DR4 also. It's great for through dovetails, though I use it so infrequently that I have to drag out the manual and re-educate myself each time. Half blinds, as Charles said, not so much fun. For doing drawers I've often thought about getting one of the Porter Cable DT jigs just for half blinds. One bit, one setting, cut both parts at the same time.

BTW - my box doesn't have DT sides either. Probably should. 😊
 

Charles Lent

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It's the through dovetails that are relatively easy. The half blind depend on getting the bits "Exactly" the right height and them keeping them at that height until you are absolutely convinced that there are no more dovetails to cut before you adjust or remove the router bits. It usually takes me 3 or 4 test cuts before I can get them right for the half blind dovetails.

Charley
 

glenn bradley

Member
Messages
10,967
Location
SoCal
Here's where I ended up for the router parking area. I modified the lid to the jig case.
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I cut a couple of circles about 3/16" deep.
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Routed out the waste.
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Drilled and chamfered holes for the bits.
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Here's my first run at variable half blinds.
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Not super variable but I did just eyeball the positions. I managed to initially set the bit depth at 9/16" instead of 7/16". That's the end near the toe of the plane. I also need to remember to drop the fingers onto the surface after having them raised to set the fingers. I've almost shot myself in the foot twice on that already :D.
 
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Charles Lent

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Forgetting to drop the fingers each time was one of my biggest failures too, and the habit is tough to break. If you come up with a way that keeps this from happening, please share it with the rest of us. Most won't admit it, but I'm certain that it is a common problem. I even added a "Drop The Fingers" sign to my setup, but I didn't always read it at the key moment. I'm another one who only cuts dovetails when the customer asks for them. Box joints are so much easier since getting the Freud SBOX8 blade set and I-Box jig. I now have a Freud 1/8" FTG Ripping Blade that makes great clean 1/8" box joints for little boxes too.

Charley
 
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