Dovetail is a type of wood joint where no screws, nails, or other such hardware tools are used. In this joint, two wooden pieces are connected via interlocking structures called pins and tails. It isn't easy to pull apart the wooden pieces joined by the dovetail technique, and that's why it's said to be the epitome of authentic craftsmanship. However, creating the pins and nails using a hand saw or other cutting tools is not correct. That's why you need one of the best dovetail jigs in 2021, which we have sorted out only for you to display the level of excellence through your craftsmanship.
As the dovetail joints are the strongest and hard to pull apart, it is best to have a perfect tool that can precisely and accurately create pins and tails. You can either choose a dovetail jig or hand cutter cum marker at your convenience. But regardless of what tool type you want to have, it's essential to choose only the best dovetail jig from the market. However, the task is much easier said than done, which is why many carpenters and woodworkers choose the wrong product unknowingly. So, to prevent you from making the same mistake, we have formulated a brief buying guide for having the best dovetail jig.
What Are The Main Parts You Can Find In The Dovetail Jig?
In a dovetail jig, the first thing you will see is a template made from aluminum or steel. This template has a teeth-like edge based on which the pins and tails are created in the wooden pieces.
To tighten the wood piece horizontally or vertically, you will find adjustment knobs on the jig. Before starting the work, you need to turn these knobs to properly fix the wood pieces to the jig.
In some jigs, you can find an in-built marker gauge, while in others, the gauge comes separately in the form of a scale. For example, you can mark the positions of tails and pins or measure the edge of the wooden workpiece using this gauge.
Screws And Nuts
For adjusting different parts of the jig, there are several screws and nuts. Using the proper screwdriver or a wrench, you can tighten or loosen these hardware joinery elements.
What Are The Factors You Should Consider To Choose The Best Dovetail Jigs?
Firstly, you need to consider the jig’s length. Based on this parameter, different furniture units can be constructed. For example, a standard 12” to 15” jig is ideal for manufacturing smaller furniture units. But to handle the bigger workpieces, you need a dovetail jig having at least 24” length.
It would be best if you also consider the weight of the jig before proceeding further. Heavyweight jigs need to be stabilized on the table surface by using an anti-skid mat. Moreover, they can’t be carried from one place to the other. However, there are certain jigs having lightweight designs which can be moved from one place to the other.
You should consider the capacity of the jig before making a choice. A jig's capacity is based on the woods' dimensions that it can handle for creating the tails and pins. Usually, most jigs don’t have restrictions on the width and length of the workpieces. But their thickness matters the most while choosing the jig.
Lastly, it would be best to focus on the material type with which the dovetail jig is manufactured. Starting from steel to copper, several metals and alloys are used in constructing the jigs. Therefore, based on the material type, their durability, stability, and performance will differ a lot.
Why Using A Dovetail Jig Is Beneficial For Woodworkers?
With a dovetail jig, you can make accurate and precise dovetail joints with no irregular or weird cuts.
You can also create different angles on a sloping wood piece edge with the jig, which is impossible with a hand cutter.
Also, the time required for creating the joints in the workpieces is relatively less than other tools.
What Type Of Dovetail Joints Can A Jig Create?
With a dovetail jig, you can create different types of joints in the wooden workpieces. Some of them include:
One of the main reasons to include this product in your woodworking tool collection is the availability of multiple templates for creating different tails and pins. You will have 4211, 4213, and 4215 aluminum templates for cutting half-blinds, through and box joints, and small dovetail joints, respectively. For better alignment of the templates, an adjustment line is marked on the jig. It also has a gauge mechanism for adjusting the router bit depth without the hassles of taking repeated measurements.
Two locking nuts for fixing the wood piece perfectly
No need to measure the depth of the router bit with a hand
Machined templated to help in making precise and clean cuts
Doesn’t have many options for adjusting the jig setup
For cutting the dovetail joints, woodworkers usually use two different routers – a table and a handheld router. Unlike other products, this dovetail jig is compatible with the router tips for creating multiple carpentry joints. In addition, even though it has a single template fixed with the framework, you can adjust the template’s interface to create tight and loose joints as per the requirement. It also has integrated clamps to help you fix the wood piece efficiently with the jig’s framework.
Works perfectly with table routers, thanks to the control knobs
You can create multiple joint types by adjusting the interface
Suitable for any wood piece having different widths
No option for using different templates with the jig
If you are more comfortable creating the dovetail joints using a hand saw or any such cutting tool, you will also need measuring and marking equipment. This dovetail marker is easy to use and will allow you to create marks in four different proportions, i.e., 1:5, 1:6, 1:8, and 1:10. It also comes with two different cutters made from steel and brass for quickly cutting precise pins and tails.
Helps in precise marking with a wheel gauge
Hard and softwood can be cut with ease
The cutting blade is more durable and relatively sharper
A dovetail marker and hand cutter must be durable and sturdy. That’s why we have chosen this product due to its excellent properties. It is made from stainless steel and copper that will allow you to make precise markings for dovetail slopes. The marker also has scale calibrations for four different proportions that will help you create different dovetail pins and tails. Besides, you can use it on different wood types, including hardwood, softwood, laminated boards, fiberboards, and many more.
Ideal dovetail marker for beginners
Precise pin and tail angles can be cut from the wood pieces
Fixation of the marker scale with the copper clamp
Doesn’t have calibrations for more significant dovetail proportions
If you want to develop your carpentry skills, this dovetail jig is perfect because it will allow you to create tight and robust furniture designs. It has a 15″ template with precise milling that makes it suitable for different wood types. You can also use the jig to cut the tails and pins from wooden pieces with varying thicknesses between 1/8″ and ¾.” Unlike other jigs, it doesn’t require a wooden test piece to make proper framework adjustments.
Lightweight design allows you to use the template in any way
Wooden pieces having varied dimensions can be used with this jig
Compatible with a hand router, plunge router, and the table router
Only one template is present in the jig
Dovetail Jig FAQ
Q: Is a hand cutter better than the dovetail jig and router setup?
A: If you want to reduce your physical efforts and create distinct tails and pins without taking too much time, the dovetail jig and router setup is the ideal choice. But if you are not comfortable using such colossal setups or are tired of loud noises the jig makes, you can use the hand cutter cum marker tools.
Q: As a beginner woodworker, what type of dovetail jig should I use?
A: If you are a beginner and don't have prior knowledge or training for using the dovetail jigs, it's best to begin with a simple product having one fixed template. Also, please look for the products which don't require too many adjustments before the actual operation.
Q: How can I prevent the dovetail jig from slipping off the surface?
A: When you use the jig and the router to cut tails and pins in the wood pieces, the jig might move unexpectedly due to the vibrations. That’s why it is best to use an anti-slip mat on the table surface so that the woodworking tool can provide stability during operations.
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