The best dovetail jig for woodworkers costs $150-$600

Dovetail jig is a device that is designed for holding a piece of work during woodworking and guides the tool (router). It is essential to provide accuracy, repeatability, interchangeability in producing or crafting various goods from timber.

The device is useful for making through-finger, through-dovetail, pocket, half-blind, butt, pocket, dowel, mitred-blind joints.

However, it’s primary application is for making accurate, attractive and strong dovetail joints.

According to Wikipedia, a dovetail joint is a woodwork or joinery technique that is used for manufacturing furniture (incl. cabinets), carcase constructions, timber framing and log buildings.

It is extremely strong due to series of trapezoid-shaped tails and pins, requiring no mechanical fasteners.
Both the best dovetail jig and a customary one includes several (commonly 3-6) templates for various joints, several guide bushings and a set of router bits.

The handiest ones are made of solid aluminum or steel, ensuring durability, long device’s lifetime and cutting accuracy.

Selecting a dovetail jig for professional or hobby application, customers consider its price, ease of use, types of joints to produce and frequency of use.

Versatile, durable devices that are suitable for professional woodworkers and everyday craft working cost up to $600.
Products for DIY enthusiasts are much more affordable. They cost from $150 to $200, being user and beginner friendly, but suitable for limited types of cuts.

Additionally, some of them include low-quality plastic parts. These affordable tools are good enough for on-and-off at-home use.

Meanwhile, as woodworking is attributed with high injure risk, it’s necessary to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before you start crafting or even select a suitable device.

Experts also recommend to adjust the jig in beforehand, its tightness, shallowness, offset and cut a trial pin.

1. Porter-Cable 4216 Dovetail (Super) Jig

The product is versatile and heavy-duty. It is suitable for beginners and intuitive. Its basic parameters are:

Versatility

The jig is congenial for cabinet and furniture making, woodworking, multiple DIY applications. It is equipped with a mini-kit of 3 templates (4211, 4213, 4215 that are suitable for sliding, half-blind and rabbeted half-blind dovetails, box joints, through dovetails).

The tool is great for various applications

Ease of use

The device is easy to clamp. It requires no additional accessories, being convenient for beginners. The set comes with automatic router bits that provide accurate depth control.

However, these parts are low-quality. Therefore, woodworkers and DIY craftsmen are recommended to use their own router bits.

Price

The product is affordable, but the price isn’t the lowest on the market and not the best for the quality.

Light

The unit is compact, but not the most lightweight. Its parts that are made of steel are durable, strong, but not as light as aluminum ones.

Durability

The tool comes with strong, durable steel base. Three-year limited manufacturer warranty covers all defects due to workmanship or faulty materials. Nevertheless, some parts such as bit-depth stops are made of plastic

Type: fix-width
 
 

Versatility
100%
Usage
95%
Price
75%
Light
85%
Durability
100%
 
 
The most detailed operating instructions or user manuals are available in the box. They come together with templates, 2 lock nuts, a wrench and 4 template guides.

Thus, 4216 Dovetail jig is a great, perfect device for beginners. It is durable and suitable for multiple applications, being easy-to-use and versatile.The tool is suitable for making accurate precise cuts.

If we compare porter cable 4212 vs 4216 devices, the product is better than its counterpart as it is produced from steel, but not aluminum and comes with 3 instead of 2 templates. Its price is higher than for the 4212 tool.

However, some its plastic parts are low-quality and it’s recommended to replace them with metal ones. Please, watch the video and consider the product’s benefits and drawbacks.

Pros

  • versatility;
  • intuitive layout;
  • ease of use;
  • durability.

Cons

  • a bit excessive price;
  • plastic bit-depth stop and router bits;
  • low-quality supply parts.

Product information

  • dimensions: 22.2*11.8*10.4 in.;
  • weight: 27 pounds;
  • color: grey.

 

 

2. Leigh D4R –Pro Dovetail Jig

The device is a bit expensive; however, it’s very good for the price because it’s designed for professional application, with a full 24” capacity, powerful and precise.

Versatility

The product is designed for production of overwhelming variety of joints: through and half-blind dovetails, end-to-end sliding joints. The pins’ and tails’ width is adjustable; so you can make handmade looking furniture and jog building joints.

The jig accepts timber boards up to 24” wide; it is suitable to produce pins up to 11/4” thick. The product’s construction is unique: machined-in side stops are available on the top and front of the dovetail jig’s body.

Therefore, it can be easily adjusted, for example, for half blind or through-finger joints production just by flipping the assembly over.

Ease of use

The device is easy-to-use. However, it is designed for professional use, so adjustments and time-consuming and difficult.

Price

The price is higher than for DIY products. But as the model is in its own class, it’s not excessive, but quite good for the top quality and high capacity.

Light

The jig features an aluminum extrusion base; therefore, it’s amazingly lightweight and handy.

Durability

Due to single piece extrusion base, unique construction, the device is very durable and long-lasting. 5-year manufacturer warranty is provided.

Type: variable
 
 

Versatility
100%
Usage
85%
Price
65%
Light
100%
Durability
100%
 
 
The Leigh dovetail jig is delivered together with 3 carbide router bids (designed for through and half-blind dovetails), a collet reducer and a template guide bushing.

An instructional DVD and an instruction manual are available, as well.

Meanwhile, as the jig’s design is special and it is designed for professional application, it is recommended by Leigh Industries Ltd to watch a detailed video before work.

Pros

  • non-slip clamp surface;
  • clear guidance marking;
  • durable, unique, easy-to-adjust construction;
  • high-precision dovetails;
  • professional application and high capacity.

Cons

  • time necessary to get used to the device;
  • high price;
  • it’s difficult for beginners to adjust the settings;
  • the tool is more complex and difficult to operate than dovetail jigs of fixed-width type.

Product information

  • dimensions: 8.3*8.4*36.6 in.;
  • weight: 22.1 pounds;
  • color: silver.

 

 

3. Porter-Cable 4212 Dovetail Jig

The next product could be called the best dovetail jig, but for aluminum template and poor quality router bits. It’s an undisputable bestseller nowadays. Additionally, it is versatile, user-friendly and durable.

Versatility

The device is designed for producing box joints, half-blind and through dovetails. The includes 2 template guides, 2 bits (carbide-tipped), 2 lock nuts.

It’s less than manufacturers commonly provide for other tools. However, these accessories and parts are sufficient for at-home, DIY use.

Ease of use

The kit is user-friendly, suitable for beginners thanks to handy router bit adjustments. It’s easy to keep in place on any bench and set up. The jig accepts wood from ¼” to 1 1/8” thick.

Price

The product is among the affordable and, thus, incredibly popular ones.

Light

Thanks to aluminum templates, the device is lightweight and compact. It doesn’t consume a lot of space that is very useful for households.

Durability

The tool’s construction is durable, long-life and solid as the base is made of steel, the finish is perfect and top-quality.

Type: fix-width
 
 

Versatility
85%
Usage
95%
Price
100%
Light
95%
Durability
90%
 
 
The kit is equipped with helpful operating instructions, 4213 and 4211 templates, 2 template guides and 2 lock nuts. However, router bits are low-quality, not suitable for frequent and longtime use.

But for ease-of use, watch an instructional video, such as :

It is beneficial, especially for beginners, as your safety is extremely important.

Pros

  • lightweight aluminum construction;
  • ease of use;
  • user-friendly;
  • affordable price.

Cons

  • low quality accessories and parts;
  • poor dovetail alignment;
  • limited board width.

Product information

  • dimensions: 8.3*8.4*36.6 in.;
  • weight: 22.1 pounds;
  • color: silver.

 

 

4. Woodhaven 7660 Dovetail Jig

Woodworkers that frequently produce half-blind joints prefer jigs of this type. It comes with a guided bit instead of templates. Its price is reasonable as the constructions is very stable and risk-free, ensuring unparalleled control.

Versatility

The device is designed for router table use and producing of 90° half-blind joints only. It is useful for various drawer work, especially for file drawers and wide stock furniture. The tool accepts boards up to 11-3/4” wide, ½” -3/4” thick.

Ease of use

The jig is ready to use, but special skills and a 7/16” socket wrench are necessary for adjustments. Large knobs let a woodworker adjust the settings quickly.

Price

The dovetail jig’s cost is very good for the quality and excellent construction.

Light

The unit is compact and lightweight. The template is made of CNC machined phenolic material that is as durable and solid as aluminum, but less expensive and much lighter than metal.

Durability

The router table jig reduces risk of ruining the work or the template. As polymeric material, phenolic is not as durable and strong as aluminum or steel. Meanwhile, lifetime manufacturer guarantee against defects in workmanship or material is provided. Made in the USA.

Type: fix-width
 
 

Versatility
65%
Usage
80%
Price
80%
Light
90%
Durability
90%
 
 
Before use, please study the operational instructions carefully. The device is equipped with a carbide dovetail bit (14 degree) and a setup guide.

Please, watch a video like before you start woodworking.

Pros

  • lightweight, compact phenolic construction;
  • risk-free operation;
  • perfect design and construction;
  • lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • limited versatility;
  • sketchy instructions;
  • phenolic templates.

Product information

  • footprint dimensions: 6”*16”;
  • color: grey.

 

 

5. Rockler Dovetail Jig

Going to produce half-blind and through dovetails, amateur and professional woodworkers select this perfect and fast dovetail jig.

The manufacturers assert that the device is the most versatile and the best, even if only in their product range.

Versatility

The device is suitable for making through dovetails from 3/8-3/4” thick boards, half-blind joints from 1/8” – 1-1/8” thick boards. It accepts stock up to 11” wide.

Ease of use

The tool is easy and fast, but initial setup, as well as test cut is a bit slow. It’s a good, fast and handy dovetail jig for beginners, but the adjustment screws are not easily accessible. So, it’s difficult to set them. Surface of clamping bars is abrasive to prevent slipping.

Price

Comparing Rockler dovetail jig vs Porter-Cable, the Rockler device is more expensive than 4212, but cheaper than 4216. Meanwhile, the jig is well-constructed and convenient.

Light

The templates are made of phenolic plates. They are lightweight and durable. Generally, the device weights 24 lbs; it’s large and reliable.

Durability

Phenolic material is cheaper and less durable than metal. Information about warranty is not available.

Type: fix-width
 
 

Versatility
80%
Usage
60%
Price
90%
Light
80%
Durability
85%
 
 
The kit includes phenolic template, 3 router bits, a collet adapter and a guide bushing. A detailed, but not too clear instruction booklet is available, as well.

Due to special adjustments and construction, experts recommend to watch a video like before you start using the dovetail jig.

Pros

  • lightweight phenolic construction;
  • reliability;
  • accuracy and suitability to make decorative joints.

Cons

  • phenolic templates;
  • not too clear instructions;
  • complicated and slow setting adjustments, especially for beginners;
  • the device requires a router with ½” collet and a router base plate. It is to be compatible with the guide bushings, so, it’s difficult to select them.

Product information

  • weight: 24 pounds;
  • color: grey.

 

 

Thus, we have compared 5 best dovetail jigs of 2017. They are versatile or designed for making half-bling or dovetail joints only, easy to use or recommended for professional use, affordable or expensive.

Meanwhile, all of them are popular nowadays, as they are safe, fast, handy and convenient for accurate, perfect cuts.

These expert opinions help you to take an informed decision and select a suitable device for your purpose and type of work.