Traditionally, dovetail joints were cut by hand saws and chisels. But in modern times, cutting dovetails with a router and a dovetail jig is far more common, both for home woodworkers and commercial woodworking shops. There are a variety of different types of dovetail jigs: some that require a guide collar on the base of the router, some that use a bearing-tipped bit, some that must be used on a router table, and more. Comparing some of the most popular commercial dovetail jigs on the market today can help you choose the style that is the best fit for your projects.
01 of 06
Akeda DC16 Dovetail Jig
The AKEDA DC16 Drawer Construction Jig takes a bit of an innovative approach that differs from many other dovetail jigs. For instance, the DC16 utilizes a dual-guide bar system on which the base of your router glides. This provides a much more stable platform to keep the router square to the jig (and board) than many other dovetail jigs. The router is guided by a collar in-between fingers to make precise cuts.
02 of 06
The Katie Jig Dovetail System is a dovetail jig with a bit of a different design than many of the other jigs on the market. The jig has adjustable fingers that allow you to create any number of variations of pin and tail positions. By adding the optional router table clamping system, the Katie Jig can be optimized for use on a router table.
03 of 06
Keller Model 1601 Dovetail System
The Keller Dovetail System was the original router-based dovetail jig on the market 30 years ago, and it is just as effective today for making consistent, repeatable through dovetails. One of the biggest advantages of this system over most tabletop dovetail jigs is the ability to create dovetails on very wide boards, making it ideal for building large dovetailed chests.
04 of 06
Leigh D1600 Dovetail Jig
The Leigh D1600 Dovetail Jig is router dovetail jig built from aircraft aluminum, making for a clean and very sturdy adjustable dovetail jig. The instructions can seem a bit overwhelming when learning how to use the jig, but in just a few minutes you'll be up and running and realize that it really isn't all that complicated. The jig is actually quite easy to use once you get the hang of it.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
MLCS Pins & Tails Half Blind Dovetail Jig
Woodworking tools and accessories don't always have to be expensive. For instance, the MLCS Pins & Tails Half Blind Dovetail Jig allows you to create half-blind dovetails at a fraction of the cost of other router-based dovetail jigs.
Another inexpensive jig from MLCS is their Through Dovetail Template. Similar to the Pins & Tails jug, the Through Dovetail Template offers easy setup, and it allows you to get started with through dovetails without spending a lot of money.
06 of 06
With the Porter-Cable 4212 Dovetail Jig and a woodworking router, you can effectively cut clean through dovetail joints, as well as straight and rabbeted half blind dovetails, box joints, and even sliding dovetail joints. While there are a couple of areas that I'd like to see the Porter-Cable address, the Porter-Cable 4212 Dovetail Jig would be a solid addition to any woodworking shop.