Woodworking Tools

Keller 1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig

Dovetail jig

Where Purchased:

Amazon.com

Price Paid:

$129

Why Purchased:

My considerable research indicated that this was the best jig for making through dovetails (if you ever need to make half-blind dovetails, the Porter Cable 4112 is a good jig to buy). Dovetail joints are strong, and they look very stylish. You don't have to be a woodworker to appreciate the quality of a dovetail joint.

Impressions:

The jig needs to be assembled onto a backer board that you build. This is not difficult; it just takes time. Once you adjust the jig into the correct position on the backer board (more time—it took me several tries before I got it right) and tighten the jig into position, you're all set to crank out tight-fitting dovetails.

TIP: I had trouble with tear-out on some of my dovetails. View tips on how to avoid tear-out.

ANOTHER TIP: The instructions for using this jig show the work piece and the jig clamped with the jig facing up, as shown above. You're then supposed to use the router free-hand when making your cuts. I prefer to clamp the work piece to the jig, then flip the jig upside down and slide it around on my router table when making the cuts. This gives me more control.

YET ANOTHER TIP: When you first assemble the jig onto the backer board and make some test cuts to see if adjustments are necessary, don't make your test cuts on plywood. For reasons I don't understand, adjusting the jig for perfect dovetails in plywood yields loose dovetails in solid woods. So save yourself some time and use solid woods when making your initial jig adjustments.