Last Updated on May 12, 2022 | Andrew Jason
Who hasn’t heard of the dovetail jigs? It is one of the handiest tools in the woodwork market. Even if you have all the equipment you need such as routers, router bits, etc. there is still one thing you’ll require, a dovetail jig. It is unquestionably one of the most crucial components of your toolkit which is typically used to keep wood components together at correct angles in cabinetry and furnishings. As a result, you’ll always require the greatest dovetail jig available in the market. However, with tons of options out there, you’re undecided about which dovetail tools to select. Which products are the best dovetail jigs for you? To answer that question of yours we have come up with the best dovetail jigs reviews for 2022.
Dovetail jigs are among the most popular types of woodworking joints. They’re sturdy and visually appealing. While hand-making dovetail joints are doable, it is a labor that demands an experienced craftsman and is exceedingly time-consuming. The dovetail joint jigs are useful in this situation. These mechanisms hold the wood in the correct position for easy router cutting. However, every tool that is designed doesn’t fulfil your purpose. Some are suited for professional use because they can manage massive workloads with exceptional precision. Others aren’t quite as good and are better suited to do-it-yourself projects. The quality and durability of different dovetail jig models vary greatly. To guarantee that you acquire the best tool for your needs, you must first understand them and then properly complete your homework. Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork for you and compiled these assessments of the best dovetail jigs reviews available today.
What we have covered
- Editor’s Pick: Top Dovetail Wood Jigs
- Types of Wood Jigs
- Top Woodworking Dovetail Jigs 2022 – Reviews & Guides
- 1. PORTER CABLE Dovetail Jig Template Kit
- 2. LEIGH Jig RTJ400 – Dovetail Jig For Router Table
- 3. General Tools 861 Portable 12-inch Dovetail jig
- 4. Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Dovetail Jig
- 5. Woodstock D2796 12-inch Dovetail Jig with Aluminum Template
- 6. PORTER-CABLE Dovetail jig 12-inch
- 7. LEIGH SUPER 12 inch Dovetail Jig
- Buyers Guide of Best Dovetail Jigs
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Our Pick
Editor’s Pick: Top Dovetail Wood Jigs
Types of Wood Jigs
Dovetail jigs are essentially a fancy way of saying “template routing.” A template restricts the router’s path, allowing it to cut a certain pattern of pins or tails, as well as the sockets in between. The router is usually fed over the template that is positioned on top of the jig’s housing. Based on the template style, there are two main families of dovetail jigs.
1. Fixed-template Jigs
Depending on the template style, there are two main types of dovetail jigs. With a dovetail-shaped router bit, fixed-template dovetail jigs, such as Rockler’s, cut the tails of a through dovetail pattern (and both the pins and tails of a half-blind junction). The slots on the design are usually parallel and straight. An additional interchangeable template for through dovetails allows the “pin” side of the joint to be cut with a straight router bit rather than the dovetail cutter. The fingertips of the template are slanted here, rather than parallel, to mill angled faces on the pins that fit between the tails.
A fixed-template jig’s standard templates usually cut a pattern of pins and tails that are all the same size and spacing. Optional templates, on the other hand, can increase the range of joints to include patterns with longer tails, irregular pin-to-tail spacing, and even box joint forms.
2. Adjustable-template Jigs for Router Table
If you want to customize your dovetail joint arrangements, an adjustable template jig might help. This is what distinguishes this jig family: The template that guides the router bit in a handheld router is made from a collection of paired metal fingers. Each pair of fingers has a parallel groove on one end that can be used to cut tails using a dovetail bit. The fingers’ opposite end is slanted to guide the straight router bit through the joint’s pin cuts. Both half-blind and through dovetail joints can be cut with the same metal fingers.
To make broader or narrower pins and tails, each pair of fingers can be unlocked and opened or closed. Even better, dialing in one end of the fingers for the matching cut automatically dials in the other end. Pairs can be spaced apart along the mounting bars of the jig to adjust the joint pattern and spacing as desired. Tails are cut with the template facing outward in the jig once the pattern is set. Simply flip the template over and reinstall it, then swap router bits to cut the pins.
Top Woodworking Dovetail Jigs 2022 – Reviews & Guides
We have compiled a list of the jigs that we deem fit to fulfill your needs.
|PORTER CABLE DOVETAIL JIG TEMPLATE KIT||
|Check on Amazon|
|LEIGH RTJ400 ROUTER TABLE JIG||
|Check on Amazon|
|GENERAL TOOLS 861 PORTABLE 12-INCH DOVETAIL JIG||
|Check on Amazon|
|KELLER DOVETAIL SYSTEM 135-1500 DOVETAIL JIG||
|Check on Amazon|
|WOODSTOCK D2796 12-INCH DOVETAIL JIG WITH ALUMINUM TEMPLATE||
|Check on Amazon|
|PORTER-CABLE DOVETAIL JIG 12-INCH||
|Check on Amazon|
|LEIGH SUPER 12 IN DOVETAIL JIG||
|Check on Amazon|
1. PORTER CABLE Dovetail Jig Template Kit
The first on the list is the porter cable dovetail jig. The PORTER-CABLE 12-inch Dovetail Jig kit may be the way to go if you want a set that can check most of the boxes for router joinery. Except for the router, this bundle includes everything you’ll need to get started. The half-blind and sliding dovetail aluminum templates, as well as the appropriate router bit for cutting the joint, are included in this set. For stability and accuracy, it incorporates a single-piece steel base that attaches to the workbench. For tight joints, it also features template alignment lines. It boasts a one-step design that allows users to mill two boards up to 118 inches thick at the same time. Porter Cable dovetail jig has earned a name for itself in the tool industry because of the high quality of its products. The Porter-Cable 4216 is an excellent example of why the company is so respected.
It’s big, versatile, and capable, and it comes at a reasonable price. The 12-inch breadth of this jig is one element that adds to its versatility. It’s large enough to hold most woodworking project components. The Porter-Cable 4216 is also a jig that is extremely sturdy and long-lasting. It includes a heavy-duty vice with sandpaper-backed locking bars to keep your component in place once clamped. To enable heavy-duty operation, this jig is virtually entirely comprised of machined steel. This jig comes with three aluminum templates to increase its versatility and convenience of use. You can build normal and small sliding, half-blind, and dovetail joints using these templates. The 4216 also comes with four router dovetail jigs of varying depths, allowing you to readily assess cut depths.
- It has a variety of features that enhances versatility
- It is easy to use
- It has a large surface area
- It is durable
- The out front is of steel
- The price is reasonable
- It comes with a 3-year warranty
- It is pre-assembled
- It isn’t as accurate as of the other jigs
- The finish isn’t smooth
This dovetail jig is very reasonable if you’re on a tight budget. It gives all the features, but it isn’t as accurate as other jigs in the same price range
2. LEIGH Jig RTJ400 – Dovetail Jig For Router Table
RTJ400 Dovetail Jig for Router Table by Leigh is designed exclusively for use with a router table. On your router table, the RTJ400 allows you to route through dovetails, box joints, and half-blind dovetails quickly and accurately. The Leigh template is CNC machined from aircraft-grade aluminum for consistently precise joinery. The leigh jig is known for its versatility. It produces nine different sizes of through dovetails, three different sizes of half-blind dovetail jigs, and four different sizes of box joints. With the unique Leigh guide bushing, a perfect joint fit is guaranteed and repeatable. Look no further than Leigh’s RTJ400 jig if you’re seeking the best dovetail jig money can buy. This jig can handle stocks up to 24 inches wide and 114 inches thick, allowing you to tackle large furniture projects without worrying about stock sizes being too large to handle. The D4R Pro’s ease of use will astonish you, even though it’s a beast of a jig.
It has cam-action router clamps, for example, which let you apply just the correct level of strain to your workpiece material. These clamps are not only simple to adjust, but they can also be set to a consistent tension, ensuring that your cuts are uniform. This jig comes with a slew of extras to help you build a variety of dovetail joints. It features three carbide points, for example, that may be used to construct double-blind, half-blind, and dovetails. Furthermore, all you must do to switch between the different styles is flip your finger over the assembly and select your chosen router tip. Both an instruction manual and an instructional DVD are included with the RTJ400. Because of its strong construction, reliability should not be an issue. This is a pricey dovetail jig, given its superior design, features, and capabilities, which is why it didn’t make our top pick. Professionals working with large workpieces that demand a high degree of precision will benefit from this tool. It comes with a 5-year warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to return the jig if it does not meet your requirements.
- It accommodates 24 inches widths and 1 to 1 by 4 inches in thicknesses
- Comes with a premium design and construction
- The jig gives high precision
- It gives a 90-day money-back guarantee
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- It is an ideal professional tool
- Gives a smooth finish due to cam-action clamps
- This dovetail jig is expensive
- It should only be used by the professionals
If you’re a professional woodworker, then this leigh dovetail jig is the one for you. Even if you don’t like it, you can always return it as it comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.
3. General Tools 861 Portable 12-inch Dovetail jig
The General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig, which is ranked 12th in our list of the best dovetail jigs, is a low-cost device that produces exceptionally impressive results. The General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig features a nice design and is well-made. It’s composed of one piece of metal, so it’ll last a long time. It can also be equipped with a clamping mechanism that allows you to secure your wood workpiece before you start working on it. It can, however, be used with any wood boards of various widths, as it is not confined to the ends.
It includes a 12-inch 14-degree router bit that may be used with a portable router or router table. The comb teeth, on the other hand, are slightly spaced, so you must be careful when using them. It’s an all-in-one dovetail jig that’ll solve all your difficulties and fulfill your woodworking design fantasies. The most unexpected aspect of it is how affordable it is considering the functions and features it offers.
- It comes at a great price
- It makes the woodwork easy
- Provides board of any width
- Aluminum construction makes it sturdy and durable
- It works perfectly fine
- It comes complete and fully assembled
- There is no instruction book with the jig set
- It’s not pre-assembled
Low cost, well-built and has a smooth finish. There is nothing that this dovetail jig cannot do. This is perfect but for your woodwork needs.
4. Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Dovetail Jig
Keller Dovetail System, as the name suggests, focuses solely on dovetail jigs and their accessories, and has done so for nearly 50 years. With the Keller Dovetail System, 135-1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig coming out even in the wash, focusing on a particular sort of product has its perks and downsides. It’s worth noting that the Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Journeyman dovetail Jig is a superb choice for its intended purpose. On the other hand, this dovetail jig is used by beginners who have just started learning the construction of dovetail joint jigs.
The primary problem with this dovetail jig is that it just comes with the template, which means you’ll have to supply everything else. However, depending on your project, this can be a positive because it technically does not limit the capacity of your workpiece– but it does place more work on your plate as a result. Because the Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Journeyman dovetail Jig is so simple to set up and use, it is popular among beginning woodworkers. It’s also only appropriate for wood materials with a thickness of 3/8 to 3/4 inches, so keep that in mind before purchasing.
- It’s easy to use
- This dovetail jig is easy to install
- It is accurate and productive
- It is very affordable
- The shape and size of the jig is ideal
- It has a great price
- Works great on both kinds of routers whether it’s router tables or handheld routers
- Recommended for beginners in woodwork
- You must take time to make the woodblock
- It is only suitable for wood materials with a certain thickness
Keller Dovetail Woodworking System 135-1500 Journeyman dovetail Jig is a superb choice for its intended purposes. Though it might have some limitations it’s one of the good dovetail jigs when considering price and features.
5. Woodstock D2796 12-inch Dovetail Jig with Aluminum Template
We talk about the best dovetail jigs and not mention Woodstock D2796 12-inch dovetail jig, how is that even possible? Woodblock is one of the top companies that manufacture dovetail jigs. They are very reliable. When it comes to choosing the best dovetail jig for projects, accuracy takes precedence over everything else. If the dovetail jig isn’t exact, the joints will be loose and sloppy, or worse, they won’t fit together at all. While most jigs have consistent, reliable templates, the correctness of the joint is largely determined by the jig’s quality. Things may shift while using the jig if it includes low-quality fittings, clamps, or hardware.
Shifting resulted in less consistent outcomes. Many of the better solutions are from well-known manufacturers that use high-quality steel or aluminum parts and hardware. The Woodstock D2796 is a ridiculously robust jig because of its heavy-duty steel construction. However, it is also extremely heavy.
- This jig is fast
- The package also includes necessary hardware
- It is easy to install
- It is versatile having different size joints
- This jig is best in the terms of accuracy
- It is easy to handle
- It has durable built
- It is very heavy
- It doesn’t come with an instructions guide
Being one of the top companies, Woodblock is very reliable. When it comes to accuracy and durability. It is ideal for professional woodworkers.
6. PORTER-CABLE Dovetail jig 12-inch
Porter-Cable is a well-known manufacturer of mechanical tools. Many people have commended the Porter Cable Dovetail Jig with Mini Template Kit for its outstanding quality and low price. Porter-Cable has been quite successful in getting a lot of people to buy and appreciate this Porter-Cable Dovetail Jig with Mini Template Kit, despite not being specialized in the creation of jointing jigs. The Porter-Cable Dovetail Jig with Mini Template Kit comes with three templates, four router bits, and four template guides, allowing you to make joints of all shapes and sizes. You may also make miniature dovetails with the help of the templates that come with it.
Ideal for woodworking, furniture, and cabinet manufacturing, our 12-in. dovetail jig kit enables you to cut a wide range of joinery for drawers, boxes, and furniture. This package includes a template for half-blind, rabbeted half-blind, and sliding dovetails, plus a template for through dovetails and box joints. The heavy-duty cam-type clamps on this jig have sandpaper-backed locking bars for a secure grip on the wood. Aluminum templates that have been machined provide greater cutting precision and long-term durability. The depth gauge in the router bit allows you to measure the depth of a one-piece steel base.
- It has a good price
- It’s very well built
- The users can view jig manuals for advanced features
- The router bit depth gauges allow for quick and easy installation
- The aluminum template of the machine is responsible for providing accuracy and durability
- The machines make very accurate cuts
- The written instructions are technical to read if you don’t possess any device to play the videos for assembling
Famous for being the best manufacturer of well-known mechanical tools, the Porter-Cable is recommended by many people for its outstanding quality and low price. If you want a product with a ton of features and a little price, this one is perfect for you.
7. LEIGH SUPER 12 inch Dovetail Jig
On the list of top best dovetail jigs, Leigh offers a high-quality candidate once again. The Leigh Super 12-inch Dovetail Jig appears to suit all of the needs of even the most discerning woodworkers. If you want to build joints quickly, the easiest option is to do so in a single pass, but you’ll wind up with the consistent tail/pin configurations found in cheaper dovetail jigs. For cutting a single pass, you’ll require the component to be placed in an offset position initially by half a pin, it comes with a tiny adaptor that is usually stored onboard and clips into the jig to provide the necessary offset. When setting the jig for finger joints, it also serves as a spacer.
The Leigh Super 12-inch Dovetail Jig, like its brethren, has an aluminum template with several adjustable one-piece fingers. It also has a set of depth gauges on both ends of the bar. The Leigh Super 12-inch Dovetail Jig makes it simple to make finger joints and cuts of the appropriate depth. The main difference between this gadget and its brethren is that it only accepts boards with a maximum width of 12 inches. Although this number is little in comparison to the products listed above, it still allows you to complete some woodworking jobs. Finally, this jig is equipped with a complete clamping mechanism. The wood will be secured and the process will be safe.
- It is well built with a solid construction
- It is durable for the heavy workload
- It can do through dovetails, half-blind dovetails and rabbeted half-blind dovetails
- It has a smooth finish
- The Leigh dovetail jig can also work with sliding dovetails, asymmetric dovetails, inlay dovetails, and box joints
- Instructions are easy for the user to understand
- Joints are easily adjusted even to a small position such as 0.002 inches
- It is accurate and versatile
- It’s hard to tune the height of the cutter
- It’s a bit overpriced
Except it’s a little pricey, the dovetail jig offers all the features the best dovetail jigs can have. It is durable, versatile and a piece that will last you a long time. What else do you need?
Buyers Guide of Best Dovetail Jigs
Dovetail jigs aren’t new technology, but they’ve grown in popularity as a more popular, simpler, and friendlier joinery procedure than pocket hole jigs. They can assist you in selecting the ideal dovetail jig for your woodworking tasks.
Easy to Use
When it comes to putting up a dovetail machine, a DIYer is unlikely to have years of old-school cabinetmaking knowledge. As a result, most individuals seek a jig that is simple to set up and operate. Setup is aided with quick-change jigs and quick-grabbing clamps. Some jigs are available with their guides to help with ease in use. Consider how easy it is to cut joints using the jig. Models with interchangeable router collars allow users to effortlessly move the router along with the guides, resulting in exact joins. Clamps with a quick-release lever make setup even faster and easier.
Consider the materials used in the manufacturing of each product when selecting the appropriate dovetail jig. Aluminum dovetail jigs and templates are light and usually quite accurate, although they can be costly. Steel jigs and templates are heavier and less expensive than aluminum jigs, but they are also less likely to bend and become inaccurate. Steel jigs, like aluminum, are prone to rust, so it’s best to keep them in a dry shop.
Fixed Template vs. Variable Template
Users can select a fixed or variable jig depending on the extent of customization required. Each produces sturdy and dependable joints, but with varying degrees of personalization. Fixed template jigs make use of solid templates to produce a fully consistent and uniform junction. Their guides are evenly spaced and consistent in size. Users can select from a variety of templates with varying spacing or forms, but the templates themselves are not customizable. Users can alter the spacing, the number of guides, and the appearance of the dovetail junction using variable templates. Many crafters prefer the more handmade appearance that this less uniform aesthetic provides.
One-Step vs. Two-Step
There are two types of dovetail tools on the market. One-step jigs are frequently pricier than two-step jigs and for good reason. Users can cut the joint in two boards at the same time with a one-step jig. Users can use the router to create an extremely exact junction by holding the board ends perpendicular to each other.
Consider the size of the boards before purchasing a dovetail jig. Many jigs can only accommodate a particular size of the board before they need to be removed and adjusted. Many crafters prefer a jig with a bit larger capacity, such as one in the 24-inch range, for deeper boxes and crates. They enable the router to create huge, dovetailed box joints.
As a user’s woodworking adventure progresses and they gain experience, they typically appreciate the opportunity to use a dovetail jig to produce a different look or style of joint. Because they can make so many various sorts of joins, dovetail jigs are both functional and enjoyable. The operator can switch from constructing a regular dovetail to a box junction to a half-blind or even a full-blind mitered joint by swapping out a dovetail joint template.
When it comes to choosing the best dovetail jigs for projects, accuracy takes precedence over everything else. If the dovetail jig isn’t exact, the joints will be loose and sloppy, or worse, they won’t fit together at all. While most jigs have consistent, reliable templates, the correctness of the joint is largely determined by the jig’s quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a dovetail jig work?
The dovetail joint is typically used to link the sides of a drawer to the front and is known for its resilience to being pulled apart. There is a sequence of ‘pins’ that is cut from one user’s board ends to interlock with a sequence of ‘tails’ cut into the other board’s end. The pins and tails are shaped like a trapezoid.
What makes a good dovetail jig?
There are several things.
1. It should be reasonable
2. It should be long-lasting
3. The jig should be easy to use and accurate
4. You should choose carefully when buying a fixed or an adjustable jig
5. It should have a wide board capacity
What is the best dovetail angle?
Lower angles such as 7° to 9° are usually suggested for joining hardwoods, whereas higher angles include 10° to 14° are recommended for softwoods, and even greater angles such as 14° to 18° are suggested for half-blind dovetails.
How do you use a dovetail jig?
Using a dovetail jig is an extensive process but we have summarized it for you. Screw the bushing into the base plate and tighten it. 12- and 14-degree router bits are recommended. Set the cut depth. The correct number is 9/16. Keep in mind that the depth is measured from the router’s base. To secure the machine to a stable foundation or worktable, use the holes. Assemble your drawer’s wooden planks. Mark the front, back, top, and bottom of each component. Make a mark on both the inside and outside of each wood piece. Install your drawer stock board. The board should be at the template’s center. As a result, each side will have the same gap. The end of the jig should be at a 90° angle to the front. When you notice that the joints are properly aligned, you’re practically done.
All of the dovetail jigs mentioned are top jigs that have been ruling the woodwork markets but here are our top picks for you.
- LEIGH RTJ400 Router table Jig
- PORTER CABLE Dovetail jig 12-inch
There isn’t anything, these two dovetail jigs cannot do. They are the best on the list in terms of rate, features, and durability.
A dovetail jig is a handy tool for joining two wood pieces fast and effectively. It will also enable you to design several sorts of joints to achieve various finishes or to suit various tasks. If you’re looking for the greatest dovetail jig, choose from any of the models on our list. The models we’ve looked at are of excellent quality and will provide you with excellent value for your money. There are many other companies such as Rockler dovetail jigs and Kreg’s dovetail jigs that are also durable jigs but at the end of the day, it’s all about what works for you. Making your wooden cabinets, wooden boxes, or wooden tables at home and appreciating the products will now be a fun experience. We are confident that after reading our top 7 best dovetail jig reviews and learning how to choose the finest dovetail jigs, you will find a new dovetail jig that is perfect for you!