Best Dovetail Jig (9 Most Tested & Compared for 2020)

Dovetail joints are strong and classy, but to form one by using hand is tougher than you expect. Only highly experienced experts can create such kind of joints with their hands. But this takes a plethora of effort, don’t fail to recall that. But dovetail joints are indispensable to create perfect furniture.

So what is the solution? Bring one of the best dovetail jig to your shop and breathe out in comfort. Yeah, that’s the only simple solution for all woodworkers.

The development of modern science has made everything easier than before with latest inventions. Dovetail Jig is one of the most exquisite inventions of modern science that revolutionizes woodworking.

Today you will find a wide variety of dovetail jigs with loads of features. These are available in different price range so that everyone can use regardless of their financial condition.

In this article today, I will review some of the most excellent dovetail jig so that you can find one easily. You will also find a proper buying guide at the end. So, let’s get started:

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Best Dovetail Jig Comparison

If you don’t have adequate time to go through the full article, suggest an eye in this section this section. Here I have shortly analyzed the ten products. You can find out them at a glance to get a synopsis.

But again, if you are new in woodworking arena, I greatly suggest it to buy a product after reviewing the full article. Anyway, let’s check this section quickly:

Image

Name

Rating

At a Glance

Price

PORTER-CABLE 4216 Dovetail Jig

Multiple templets allows to cut different joints except variable dovetail joints.

Keller 135-1500 Dovetail Jig

Versatile, solid construction and a good choice for long run but creating box-joints with this one seems complicated.

PORTER-CABLE 4212 Dovetail Jig

Two templates included that makes it highly versatile. But it is unable to create miniature or variable dovetail joints.

General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig

Easy to transport and store, self-aligning design but doesn’t provide perfection for all type of joints.

Leigh Super 12 in Dovetail Jig

Offers broad base, stable and adjustable but the price is high compared to other models in the list.

PORTER-CABLE 4210 Dovetail Jig

Highly compatible, value for the money, solid built, but not as versatile as other options.

Keller 135-2200 DoveTail Jig

Best for the beginners with simple operation but not suitable for large projects.

MLCS 6406 Dovetail Jig

Ideal to use for boxes and drawers, has excellent user manual included but it supports one dovetail jig.

Leigh D4R Pro 24 in Dovetail Jig

Versatile, excellent clamping system and exceptional adoptability but to understand the scales on guide fingers you must invest some time on it.

Best Dovetail Jig for 2020 – Detailed Reviews

Indeed it is pretty tough to research and find out the best dovetail jig because of numerous options in the market. There was a time while you could seldom find a dovetail jig, not now.

Currently, lots of top brands are manufacturing and trading dovetail jigs. Apart from top names, some new names are floating in this industry. Some of them are making quality products, but not all.

If you are new and require a dovetail jig, there is a modest chance that you end up with a piece of crap. To keep you protected, we are here with our top ten dovetail jig reviews. After the reviews, you will find a practical buying guide. Don’t miss that one if you need an excellent product. In the end, I have answered some of the most asked questions regarding dovetail jig. So, let’s get straight into the reviews:

1. PORTER-CABLE 4216 Dovetail Jig

Best Dovetail Jig - PORTER-CABLE 4216 Dovetail Jig
Superior Cutting 
Long Term Durability
Support Variety of Routing Applications

In the tools industry, PORTER-CABLE is one of the biggest names. They have been making power tools for many years, and people worldwide trust their quality. However, only a few know they make Dovetail Jig as well. And like all their power tools, their dovetail jigs are noteworthy as well.

The PORTER-CABLE 4216 Dovetail Jig is the epitome of killer dovetail jig. You will get plenty of features and privileges to handle an ample range of applications. Also, it is straightforward to operate and adequate to form multiple templates. Let’s see the top features:

Multiple Templates

4216 Dovetail Jig by PORTER-CABLE consist of three templets for all kind of dovetail joints. You will get 4211 model for half-bling, sliding, and rabbeted half-blind dovetail joints.

If you need box joints or through dovetail joints, don’t worry, you will get 4213 templates for that purpose.

And the third one, known as model 4215 template, lets the user create miniature through miniature half-blind and miniature box joints. If you buy PORTER-CABLE 4216, it will cover all of your dovetail needs. The versatility of the product is worth praising.

Construction

The build quality of the jig is mind-blowing. It is reliable with a single-piece steel base design.

You can do clamping and bolt to the workbench directly with no hassle. Surely 4216 Dovetail jig will last several years with less maintenance.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful machine
  • No assembly requires
  • Great value for the money
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around
  • Versatile and able to form different dovetail joints
Cons
  • Can’t form variable dovetail joints

2. Keller 135-1500 Dovetail Jig

Keller 135-1500 Dovetail Jig
Precision Cutting
Value for Money
Best for small to midsize projects

The Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig is a cost-effective option for the beginner or hobbyists. It is optimal for dealing with small to midsize projects. It provides smooth and precise cuts to design appealing and robust furniture.

Keller 135-1500 Dovetail Jig is 15-inches wide. On it, you can hold more than one workpiece at a time. Also, it has high-precision templates that can adopt 1/8 inches thick woods. It is quintessential for cabinets, drawers, and other smaller projects. Without any doubt, Keller 135-1500 is one of the most excellent woodworking dovetail jigs. Let’s check out the top features:

Versatile

Keller Dovetail offers versatility. You can cut variable-spaced, acute dovetails, curved, compound-angled, and obtuse with this jig. It also lets the user cut box and knuckle joints. It is appropriate for drawers and cabinet. I don’t think any other dovetail jig is as good as this one in terms of immense adaptability. 

Strong yet Lightweight

The built-quality of the Keller 135-1500 is amazing with top quality material. Still, it is not on the heavy side. The weight of the jig is pretty light. You can carry it from one place to another with ease. Also, you can adjust it to most of the workspaces.

Simplicity

The unit offers easy controls and simple design. Set it up is not any critical task. Also, the manufacturer provides an easy-to-understand manual with their products to assemble and use it without any fear. In terms of simplicity, it gets the highest mark as well.

Pros
  • Easy to transport
  • Strong construction
  • Fits in any workspace
  • Durable yet lightweight
  • Can work with any width
  • Easy to use with useful design
  • Large 15-inch Template included
Cons
  • No supportive base included
  • Using box-joint method seems complicated

3. PORTER-CABLE 4212 Dovetail Jig

PORTER-CABLE 4212 Dovetail Jig
Accuracy
Durable Construction
Comes with Clear User Guidance

As I have pointed out earlier, PORTER-CABLE is one of the most reliable brands, even in the Dovetail Jig industry. I have reviewed one of the greatest above. It is time for me to illustrate the details and excellence of its twin brother PORTER-CABLE 4212!

It comes with a powerful steel base and robust aluminum templates. So, this machine will last many years without any issue. If you need a reliable model that can last several years, you should consider the PORTER-CABLE 4212 Dovetail Jig seriously. Let us demonstrate the top features:

Versatile

The Jig comes with two aluminum templates. Template 4211 offers half-blind, rabbeted half-blind, and sliding dovetail joints.

On the other hand, template 4213 offers through and box dovetail joints. So, the jig can handle a wide variety of projects with ease. So yeah, it’s highly versatile.

Ease of Use

PORTER-CABLE 4212 doesn’t provide any hassle. It has a single-base steel design that comes assembled. So, you don’t have to set anything. Also, the design is uncomplicated. You can clamp or bolt the unit in almost any workbench. The steel you will experience stability. Overall, it is super simple to use.

Quality Cam Clamps: The jig also has top quality have clamps included that ensure maximum precision on cutting. These heavy clamps hold the workpiece perfectly in the right position. You will always get pro-level result.

Pros
  • Easy operation
  • No assembly needed
  • Versatile with two templates
  • Has quality cam clamps included
  • Solid construction with top quality material
Cons
  • Cannot make miniature or variable dovetail joints
  • Less stable compared to other traditional models

4. General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig

General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig
Strong & Precise
Strong & Durable
Self Aligning Design

Are you looking for the best value model? My suggestion is to look for the General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig, which is currently considered one of the top-rated models on a low-budget range. It is well constructed, versatile, easy to use tool with immense popularity all over the globe. Woodworkers love this jig. You will also like it if you check the features above:

Built-quality

Where most of the budget jigs on the market are cheaply constructed, this one is different. They formed it with top-quality aluminum material. Though steel is better than aluminum in terms of strength, still this unit work just fine. But experts advise using General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig with softer woods.

Easy to Use and Store

Unlike most of the machine of this capacity, it is lightweight. So, it is easy to carry around. You can move it to your job site with no hassle. Also, the design is user-friendly. If you are a beginner, you can efficiently operate the machine. Storing it while not in use, won’t be a problem either.  

Self-Aligning Design

The General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig is specially designed for beginners. Thus they included self-aligning features. This feature makes sure that both ends of the dovetail joint match up perfectly every time. Messing up won’t be an issue if you have this one on your hand.

Adjustable

If you are looking for an adjustable dovetail jig, congratulations, your search ends here. Yes, 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail Jig is adjustable. That means it can accommodate boards of any width. Also, it can easily adjust the dovetail interference for creating tighter or looser joints.

Pros
  • Value for money
  • Ensures good accuracy
  • Quality clamps ensures high stability
  • Able to create different dovetail joints
  • Highly efficient with double sided design
Cons
  • Not provide perfection for all joints

5. Leigh Super 12 in Dovetail Jig

Leigh Super 12 in Dovetail Jig
Solid Construction
Ensure Accurate Cut
Comes with Detailed Instruction

Indeed Leigh Super 12 is among the most elegant dovetail jig at present. It is well-built, functional, and simple to handle. The unit consists of a precision template for the quality cutting experience.

With this tool, you will surely get professional-level performance. Furthermore, Leigh Super 12 is made to last. If you use it properly and maintain it regularly, it might indeed serve you a lifetime. Let’s see some of the best features of Leigh Super 12 in Dovetail Jig: 

Adjustable

Leigh 12 is an adjustable dovetail jig, and adjustment procedure is simple. They added an E-bush feature on it for accuracy. There is also a unique locking nut included on the tool, which helps to affix the E-bush conveniently.    

Stable

Leigh Super 12 is enduring and stands on its place firmly while working. Leigh used a non-slip clamp surface for this purpose. And that was a smart move by the company. The workpiece remains tightly on the exact place with cam action clamps pair and aluminum clamp bars. So, working on the jig never cause any trouble. 

Broad Base

Leigh Super 12 is easily associated with workpieces with a 12-inches width or sometimes more than that. If you compared the range with other models, you would definitely be fascinated. You don’t need to take the inconvenience to cut your workpiece into shorter pieces to operate. Pretty lifesaving, don’t you say? 

Pros
  • Adjustable
  • Easy to use
  • Consistent performance
  • Offers wide ranges of features
  • Offers quality half-blind dovetail creation
  • Strong aluminum construction with a metal alloy
  • User manual with an instructional DVD included
Cons
  • Assembly is problematic
  • High priced product compared to other models of this range

6. PORTER-CABLE 4210 Dovetail Jig

PORTER-CABLE 4210 Dovetail Jig
Easy to Setup
Accuracy Cutting 
Long Term Durability

4210 Dovetail Jig is another outstanding product of PORTER-CABLE! They never let us down. All of their products are constructed to satisfy the customers completely. Like always, they have formed this one with utmost care and perfection.

You will be amazed by the performance of this dovetail jig. The construction of the model is outstanding as well. Professional woodworkers highly praised and recommended this one. Let’s see the top feature of 4210 dovetail jig:

Compatibility

PORTER-CABLE 4210 can work with different widths of wood pieces. It can deal with wood pieces ranges between 4 inches to 1-1/8 inches wide. The great compatibility of the jig will allow you to handle numerous projects with ease.

Simple Installation

The installation procedure of the jig is simple and straightforward. It doesn’t take much time. Also, there is an instruction manual included with the unit that will show you the right path.

Stable

If you need to cut the joints entirely, consider the jig’s stability seriously. In this regard, this tool will get the highest mark as it can be mounted onto any workbench or table without any problem. It will not shake at all while working.

Construction

PORTER-CABLE 4210 Dovetail Jig is well-constructed with top quality material. It will serve you many years without any hassle.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Less problematic to use
  • Easy to set up in no time
  • Offers quick depth setting
  • Durable template included
  • Quality construction with high quality materials
Cons
  • Less versatile compared to other models

7. Keller 135-2200 DoveTail Jig

Keller 135-2200 DoveTail Jig
Durable
Cut Different Angle
Ensure Accurate Depth

Keller is another top name in the dovetail jig industry. Their dovetail jigs are durable and efficient. I already reviewed the one above. That was fantastic. Believe me; this one will not let you down either.

It has everything one can ask from a dovetail jig. But the Keller 132-2200 is designed for small to mid-sized projects. If you are planning to work on larger projects, this will not be the right choice. If you need a DIY dovetail jig, this is the one you should bring. Anyway, let me explain the top features briefly:

Ideal for Beginners

Often, novice users ask me about the ideal product for their skill. So, folks, this is the one you should grab. It is specially designed for beginners who want to learn the business. The setup and operation are super simple so that you can adapt it quickly.

Excellent Construction

Though it is designed for beginners, yet they didn’t compromise with the built quality. The jig is made of top quality materials. If you maintain it properly, it will serve you for many years.

Pros
  • Solid construction
  • Comes with phenolic guides
  • Comes with traditional and pin templates
  • Designed for small and mid-sized projects
  • Versatile with multiple joints making ability
Cons
  • Not suitable for large projects.

8. MLCS 6406 Dovetail Jig

MLCS 6406 Dovetail Jig
Fast Setup
Strong & Durable
Precise and Accurate

In our dovetail jig reviews, MLCS 6406 is the second last option. Above, you have looked quite a few excellent products. However, this one is even better than many of the above options in many ways.

It is a compact jig designed especially for stiff half-blind rabbeted dovetail joints and half-blind dovetail joints. The purpose of the machine is specific. So, if you need versatility, you better look something else. Still, the MLCS 6406 one of the most elegant dovetail jig of modern times. Let’s see the features quickly:

Specific Purpose

This jig can easily find the solution for boxes and drawers. In other words, it is ideal for critical works. The machine can cut 1/2-inch to 1-inch drawer sides as well 5/8-inch to 1-inch drawer fronts with a width of up to 12 inches.

You can cut each side of the half-blind dovetail joints at once. That means the simple and efficient operation is guaranteed.

Solid Construction

MLCS machined the tool with top quality aluminum template and steel jig. They didn’t compromise a bit with the built-quality. Therefore, 6404 will last many years and withstand rough use with ease.

Practical User Manual

Not only quality features, but MLCS also provides a detailed guide. If you are a new user, the guide will help you to operate the machine without any problem.

The user manual is comprehensive. You will get enough details to start your journey. So, I can declare the MLCS 6406 as one of the most excellent DIY dovetail jigs for the beginners.

Pros
  • Solid construction
  • Suitable for any workshop
  • Comes with lots of quality features
  • Has detachable routing insert included
  • Allow you to make your template according to your need
  • You can cut longer dovetail pieces according to your need
Cons
  • Supports single dovetail jig

9. Leigh D4R Pro 24 in Dovetail Jig

Leigh D4R Pro 24 in Dovetail Jig
Easy to Setup
Precious Cutting
Manual Instruction 

If you ask what is the best dovetail jig, many experts will come up with the Leigh D4R Pro 24 in Dovetail Jig. It is one of the best. Leigh is one of the top names in the wood sector. They have been creating and trading high-quality products for over 30 years. People have immense trust in them.

The Leigh D4R Pro is one of the examples of their class. This is known as the complete model. Anyway, let’s discover the top features:

Versatility

D4R dovetail jig comes with a single piece of aluminum. So it is hard and durable. You can, with no hassle, use it for several years. Apart from the construction, this machine is highly versatile as well. It can make a variety of dovetail joints with ease. Every joint it creates is strong.

Ability

This tool has incredible ability. You can handle materials between 1/8 and 1-1/4 inches thick with no hassle. Also, on the user guide, you will find proper instruction to handle problematic woodworks.

Clamping System

Tool-free clamping system is another outstanding feature of this product. You will get some spring-loaded clamping bars to keep the workpiece secure in no time. The machine remains stable and offers simple operation as well.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Fantastic accuracy
  • Offers tool-free clamping
  • Top-quality constructions
  • Comes with adjustable guide fingers
  • Can handle up to 24-inch wide boards
  • Offers hand-cut dovetail look after the process
Cons
  • Need some time to understand the scales on guide fingers

Things to Consider Before Choosing Best Dovetail Jig

You already have a good idea about the market by now with our top dovetail jig reviews above. So, it’s time to enhance your knowledge with some buying tips. You cannot just pick one without further consideration, can you? I guess not.

Remember that different dovetail jigs offer various features. The quality varies from one model to another. Also, different people have different needs. The one that is best for one person might be worse for someone else. The concept of best is irrational. Thus we must learn about everything so that we can realize which one is good for us and which one is not.

In this segment, I am going to discuss some points to enhance your knowledge about dovetail jig. In the end, you will understand clearly and able to judge wisely. So, let’s begin:

Different Types of Dovetail Joints

Dovetail Jigs are available in various types, and each of them offers different kinds of performance. Before you shop, you need to be very clear about your purpose. I mean, which type of dovetail joints you want to form? If you know the answer, it will be easier for you to decide about the machine. Below, I will explain each type of dovetail joints briefly for your convenience.

  • Through Dovetails: Trough Dovetails are perfect for box construction. If strength is crucial even more than the look, you should go for this type. Remember, through dovetail joints look fantastic when used with contrasting wood pieces. 
  • Sliding Dovetails: Sliding Dovetails provide interlocking strength. Usually, they are suitable for mounting legs of tables or shelves because of incredible strength. 
  • Half-Blind Dovetails: If you don’t want end grain to be evident, the half-bling dovetail is the choice. Though they are not as strong as through or sliding dovetails, they are useful when it comes to the awesomeness of design. 
  • Box Joints: Box joints are not strong like through and sliding or attractive like half-blind dovetails, but they are handy when you require simplicity. 
  • Variable Dovetails: in terms of versatility, variable dovetails get the highest mark with different sizes in one piece. When appearance matter and you want to give it a hand-cut look, this type of dovetails is useful. 
  • Miniature Dovetail: While handling small pieces of stocks, you should consider miniature dovetail joints. They are usually through or Half-blind dovetail joints but in a smaller size. 

Now, you should know whether the machine you are buying is capable of forming the dovetail joint you want. If yes, you are ready to consider other factors. If you know, go for something else.

Price

We all have a budget of our own. Nobody wants to exceed the limit. So, often it is the price which makes people not to buy things that they like. Price is one of the primary considerations while shopping. Then again, some people think that a high price tag means a quality product, which is not entirely true.

Yeah, expensive products offer lots of benefits, but there are few inexpensive products with all the essential features. All you have to do is judge the features and build quality first and then think about the price. If you like something expensive, don’t hesitate. Consider it as an investment for a few years. Dovetail Jigs are on the expensive side. So, check twice before you invest.

Warranty

As I have mentioned Dovetail jigs are expensive, so you should consider the warranty issue as well. The warranty gives a kind of satisfaction and increases trust while buying something. Check whether the product has any warranty or not. Most manufacturers offer warranties ranges from one to five years.

Important Considerations

Once you have learned about dovetail joint types and sort out the price and warranty issue, you have left with some serious consideration. So here are the things you need to consider seriously before buying a dovetail jig:

  • Capacity: The most crucial factor is the capacity of the machine. Most of the standard dovetail jig can handle 12-inch components. If you want to work with more extensive materials, you should look for something else. In that case, you might compromise a little with your budget.
  • Versatility: While shopping, a dovetail jig adaptability is the second most crucial factor to consider. Nobody wants a dovetail jig for a single purpose, right? You surely want to handle a wide variety of projects with your dovetail jig. Thus it must be versatile. Most of the best dovetail jigs mentioned above are handy with the ability to provide thorough, half-blind, sliding, and variable joints. You can pick any from the above list without any hesitation.
  • Easy Controls: Most of the new users struggle usually with this issue. Due to complex controlling systems, they found it pretty hard to operate and therefore lost interest in the machine by cursing it. So, ease of use should be the third most important factor to consider. You should go for a fixed dovetail jig as they are easiest to install. Even using them is a piece of cake; it doesn’t require much effort. On the other hand, the variable jigs can be a bit complex for the new users, and these machines need some experience and skill. Don’t forget to consider this issue while buying a dovetail jig. 

Dovetail Jig How To VideoBy Ryan Andersen

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can beginners use dovetail jig?

Ans: With pleasure, Yes! You don’t need much experience to operate a dovetail jig. If you follow the instruction manual correctly and learn how to clamp the workpiece to the table firmly, you are ready to roll. Also, you will get resources online to learn about operating a dovetail jig.

Q: What are the benefits of a dovetail joint?

Ans: Dovetail is a healthy joint. If created correctly, these joints attached two pieces of wood and never tore them apart. Also, these joints usually make the joints of contrasting timbers look classy.

Q: Is there any disadvantage to the dovetail joint?

Ans: If you want to create a dovetail joint without dovetail jig, it will take tremendous effort. Only highly experienced woodworkers can make perfect dovetail joints by hand. Also, if you create poor dovetail jig, the product will not last long.

Q: Should I buy an expensive dovetail jig?

Ans: Expensive dovetail jigs sometimes offer more features and accuracy compared to less expensive models. Then again, few products have every necessary element included, yet their price is not extreme. You see, the amount doesn’t determine the worth of a product.

Yes, they sometimes do, but not always. If you see a high priced product doesn’t mean it is the best one. Instead of looking at the price tag, look at the features. If you find all your required features on a dovetail jig and it is well-built, go for it even if the price is a bit high. It will help you in the long run.

Q: Are dovetail jigs dangerous?

Ans: Naturally they are not much risky. Yet tools are tools and they can cause harm. So, prevention is better than cure. So always work safely.

Q: What are some safety tips for using a dovetail jig perfectly?

  • Wear safety glasses to keep your eyes protected from flying debris.
  • Don’t forget to wear hearing protection
  • Attach the workpiece firmly

How to Set Up and Use a Dovetail Jig — WOOD magazine

Conclusions

I am sure you have gathered necessary knowledge about dovetail jig. You can call yourself a dovetail jig expert if you read the entire article carefully. It is always hard to find out the best dovetail jig from the market because of several options. I hope this article will guide you to the right path.

Your woodworking will improve noticeable if you stick to quality tools and practice more. Remember, it is practice that makes all the differences.

Anyways, operating this kind of tools are not completely safe. Always stay focused while working on these kind of products. After all your safety gets the highest priority. I will meet you soon someday with other effective reviews of woodworking products. Keep an eye on our blog every day and share with your friends. Together we will rock and roll.

Smile!

William Howell (Woodworking Enthusiast)
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