When joining two pieces of wood, you will need the best dovetail jig. This is a modern tool that is used to make dovetail joints in woodworking. If you do a lot of woodworking, a dovetail jig is highly efficient and still makes joints decorative. Dovetails come handy when two pieces are to be joined at right angles.
The dovetail joint will show the skills of the carpenter, the quality, strength and the attention to detail of a piece of carpentry. There are different dovetail jigs. The best dovetail jig should have the pattern you want to showcase your style and your taste.
Our Top Picks
- Best for Under $200 – 4216 PORTER-CABLE Super Jig
- Best for Flexibility – 4212 PORTER-CABLE 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
- Best for Beginner – 4210 PORTER-CABLE 12-Inch Dovetail Jig
- Best for Simple Cheap – General Tools 861 Pro Dovetailer 2 Dovetail Jig
- Best for Small Boxes – Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Journeyman DoveTail Jig
- Best for Customizable – 12″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
- Best for One-Piece Fingers – 18″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
- Best for Commercial Usage – 24″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
- Best for Drawers – Sommerfeld’s New Dovetail Jig
- Best for Easy Control – Woodhaven 7660 Large Half-Blind Router Table Dovetail Jig with Bit
Comprehensive Comparison Chart of Best Dovetail Jig for Making Flawless Joint
Max Stock Wight, inch
Accommodates Stock, inch
4216 PORTER-CABLE Super Jig
4212 PORTER-CABLE 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
4210 PORTER-CABLE 12-Inch Dovetail Jig
General Tools 861 Pro Dovetailer 2 Dovetail Jig
Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Journeyman DoveTail Jig
12″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
18″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
24″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
Sommerfeld’s New Dovetail Jig
Woodhaven 7660 Large Half-Blind Router Table Dovetail Jig
Things To Consider before buying the Best Dovetail Jig for Making Flawless Joint
Whether you are a professional carpenter or you are just a homeowner who does DIY projects, you will need a quality dovetail jig. The best dovetail jig for you will depend on your needs. These equipment are designed to cut different thicknesses and different widths of wood. However, some, especially the newer models, do not limit you on width and length. Irrespective of the design, the brand and the price of jigs, they are all meant to do one thing; cut dovetail joints.
The efficiency and precision of these tools cut across. However, there are some jigs designed for inexperienced users and others designed for experienced users. You can check user reviews online, but you will still need to know the features to look out for.
Most units weigh between one and two pounds in weight. The lightest units are designed for small and mid-sized projects while the heaviest is designed for large projects. Light dovetails are easy to clamp on the workbench while the heavy units will give you a challenge. The weight of the unit will be determined by the material of construction. Steel and aluminum are among the most common materials. Aluminum is light and durable while steel is relatively heavy and highly durable.
Ease of Operation
Premium jigs are offered with templates, making it easier for you to cut with precision. Even better, you will be given on-board guides, instructions on the dovetail jig, showing you exactly what to do. All the jigs come with an operation manual in form or PDF and some in the form of DVD. A good dovetail jig should be easy to use, both for beginners and experienced users.
Precision and Accuracy
The precision and accuracy of the best dovetail jig are determined by its design, the clamps, and the finger design. When the fingers are adjustable, it is easier for you to make any pattern you want for a customizable piece of work. With great clamps, the piece of wood is tightly secured, stable and sturdy enough to allow you precision and accurate cuts.
There are different joints you can make with dovetail jigs, including sliding joint, miniature joint, full dovetail joint, and half-blind joint. Some jigs are designed to create all joints while others are designed for one or two joints. Your needs will determine the type of jig you buy. When shopping, keep in mind that a jig that can make more joints will cost more.
Dovetail jigs cost anything between $40 and $450. This is a wide range. Your budget will limit the features and the accessories you get on a jig. Low-cost jigs are ideal for use in small and mid-size projects, while high-cost dovetail jigs are designed for large projects.
Why You Need a Dovetail Jig
Before the advent of dovetail jigs, woodworkers would use saws to create patterns for joints. Some carpenters are still using the saw method to create joints. However, with the best dovetail jig, the process is made easier as you can make a high number of joints at the same time, less time is needed, you do not need special expertise, the joints created are more secure and obviously better looking.
Types of Dovetail
Over the years, dovetail jigs have evolved. Initially, there was only a single dovetail jig cutting plain jigs, but today, there are four main types of dovetail jigs. These different jigs meet different aesthetic needs and offer different tensile strengths. Each type needs a specific cutting technique.
As such, when buying, you need to know the type you are buying:
Plain Dovetail Jig
This is among the strongest dovetails designed to create a single dovetail pattern. Even though it is strong, the jig does not look appealing and the joints are also less appealing. On the joint, you can see both the inside and the outside. If you need a strong joint, this is the ideal jig.
Full Blind Dovetail
If you need a high form of craftsmanship, you will need a full-blind dovetail. Here, the grains are hidden, both the inside and the outside. The joints, therefore, look great on your piece of furniture. This unit is normally used on jewelry boxes and small cabinets.
Just like the full blind dovetail, the half-blind dovetail is designed for precision construction and high durability. The dovetail is not as high, seeing that it hides the grains of the wood. It can be used on drawers for its aesthetics and strength.
This is the weakest joints of all. It starts with a flat piece of wood that joins to an inverted T. This joint is used for cabinets and dividers.
Full Detailed Review Of Bench Grinder for Best Box Fans
1. 4216 PORTER-CABLE Super Jig
This is a dovetail jig designed for woodworking, cabinet making, and furniture. It allows you to cut joinery for boxes and drawers, among other pieces of carpentry. Offered with template 4211, which lets you cut sliding dovetails, rabbeted half-blind, and half blinds. It also features 4213 templates for box joints and through dovetails. The 4215 template allows you to cut miniature half-blind dovetails, miniature through and miniature box joints.
This 12-inch dovetail jig comes with a steel base that is ready to use out-of-the-box. It stocks between 1/4 and 1-1/8 inches thick. The cam-type clamps coupled with the sandpaper fitted locking bars offer a firm grip. For use, you are offered an instruction manual with machined aluminum templates for precision cutting. You can easily clamp this unit on the workbench thanks to its no-assembly steel base.
There is a router bit depth gauge that allows you to set bit depths without necessarily measuring. The unit is covered by a three years warranty that keeps and a 1-year free service warranty. The package comes with router bits and templates for ease of use. It is recommended for those who are looking for a simple to use versatile dovetail jig.
2. 4212 PORTER-CABLE 12-Inch Deluxe Dovetail Jig
The PORTER-CABLE 4212 Deluxe Dovetail Jig is designed for any piece of woodwork that you may be undertaking. The unit is offered with two main templates including 4211 and 4213. 4211 allows you to cut half blind, half blind rabbeted and sliding dovetails. The 4213 template allows you to cut box joints and through dovetails. This pretty much covers any work you may have, including drawers, boxes, cabinets, and furniture.
Besides the machined aluminum templates, the unit is offered with router bit depth gauges that are intuitively designed to offer you the ease of use and allow you to set-up depth without measurement. All the bits are offered with the package. A guide is offered on how to use the bits and the templates for precision joinery. Overall, the unit is created durable and efficient.
The manufacturer offers you 90-day money-back guarantee in case you do not like the product. This is enhanced by a 3-year limited warranty and 1-year service contract. This unit is recommended if you are looking for an easy to use dovetail jig, offered with all needed accessories.
3. 4210 PORTER-CABLE 12-Inch Dovetail Jig
This unit sports a simplistic design, allowing it to be used even by newbies. First off, it is offered with only one template, 4211, allowing you to cut rabbeted half blind, half blind and sliding dovetails. It is offered with router bit depth gauges and template alignment lines that allow fast setup. Like other jigs that feature these gauges, you can quickly set the depth without necessarily taking measurements. With this unit, you can cut stock up to 12 inches in width and up to 1-1/8 inches in thickness.
The machined aluminum template allows precision cutting, and with its alignment lines, it can easily be used by newbies. Even better, you are offered on-board instructions and a manual, giving you accuracy. With this unit, you can even cut dovetail dadoes, miniature dovetails and box joints. If you love a user-friendly dovetail jig, this unit is recommended for you.
4. General Tools 861 Pro Dovetailer 2 Dovetail Jig
This is one of the most versatile units created for a wide range of applications. The unit has been on the market for a long time. It comes with user-friendly features, allowing you to make strong and precise dovetail joints. Its all-aluminum construction gives it a lightweight, making it easy to carry and set up on your working bench. The aluminum construction also enhances the productive life of the unit, giving it value for money.
The General Tools 861 Pro Dovetail Jig is designed with a self-aligning design, which ensures that both joint ends match perfectly. Even better, the unit allows you to easily adjust the dovetail interference to design tight or loose joints. Integrated clamps allow you to strongly and precisely secure the piece of work while the router control knobs enhance accuracy.
You are offered a router bit and a manual for ease of use. If you are looking for a budget dovetail jig that will give you value for money, this unit is recommended.
5. Keller Dovetail System 135-1500 Journeyman DoveTail Jig
The Keller Dovetail system is designed for beginners and hobbyists. You will love it if you are doing small or mid-size projects at home. This back-to-back model sports a simple design that those who are new to jigs will adapt to fast. It handles wood between 1/8 and 3/4 inches thick with no limitation on the width.
It is offered with a single template cut from phenolic plate. This template has been designed to give you precision when cutting classic, acute, obtuse, variable spaced, curved, compound angled and knuckle and box joints. With the purchase, you get straight and standard dovetail bits, phenolic guide, ball bearing template guide and a manual. This is pretty much every accessory you will need to get your dovetailing started. With this unit, there are no test cuts, and thus your wood is not wasted.
This is recommended if you are shopping for the best dovetail jig for the money.
6. 12″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
Like other super jigs on the market, the Leigh Super jig is designed to accommodate a high number of applications and offer precision. For woodworkers who are always doing through and half-blind dovetails, a super jig comes in handy. The one-piece fingers are greatly positioned, allowing you to make any joint patterns. Regardless of the width of the wood, you are guaranteed a half pin at each joint edge. The unit does not limit you to one depth of cut and one bit. There are five half-blind bits offered with the package coupled with rout half-blind joints in depth that allows you to customize your project.
This unit’s finger assembly lets you produce two box joint sizes; 5/16 and 5/8 inches. The new Leigh E-Bush lets you make several adjustments for precision cutting as well as for the customized project. A slight change in the E-Bush changes the active diameter and the space between fingers. Leigh Super Jig sports cam action clamps with aluminum bars that hold your piece of wood securely. Even better, the surface of this super jig is non-slip for more accuracy. You are offered an easy to comprehend user guide to start immediately.
This unit is recommended for you if you need a versatile jig that you can customize to meet your needs.
7. 18″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
Leigh is a company that is known in the manufacturer of Super Jigs. The Leigh Super 18-Inch Dovetail Jig is more or less like the previously reviewed model, only that this is an 18-inch jig. It sports user-friendly features, giving you versatility and allowing you utmost accuracy. You can use this jig on a horde of applications thanks to the Leigh E-Bush that allows the unit great adjustments. A few changes on the E-Bush and you will have personalized the joints to display your skills.
A two-function spacer is fitted on this unit that allows you to rout tail boards and half-blind pin boats concurrently to rout complete joints and offset tailboard. Like the 12-Inch Leigh Super Jig model, you are not limited to a single bit and a single depth; the unit is highly adjustable. The fingers are capable of producing two box joint sizes. With the purchase, you are offered all the accessories you will need plus a manual to guide you through the dovetailing process.
If you need a dovetail jig for commercial use, this is a suitable choice.
8. 24″ Leigh Super Dovetail Jig
The Leigh Super 24-Inch Dovetail Jig is designed with infinitely adjustable single-piece fingers reminiscent of Leigh dovetail jigs. This allows you to make any pattern you need and, therefore, customize your work. Regardless of the width of the board, you can make dovetail patterns for cabinets, boxes and other furniture. This unit does not limit you to a single depth or to one bit. It lets you choose between five half blind bits and a variety of depths based on your project.
There are markings on the jig that indicate the direction on which to adjust for precision cutting. Like other Super Jigs from Leigh, this unit comes with E-Bush Settings. This is a system that ups the adjustability of the jig to make sure that the needs of your project are catered for. There are strong cam action clamps designed to secure the workpiece tightly.
A user guide and an instructional DVD accompany the purchase, giving you the ability to start immediately. For commercial use, this super jig is recommended.
9. Sommerfeld’s New Dovetail Jig
The Sommerfeld’s New Dovetail Jig is designed for great precision. It is remarkably easy to use a system created for newbies as well as experience dovetailers alike. Its simple design allows you to clamp it to your router table or workbench and start work immediately. It is designed strong for durability and predictable precision.
This unit is made with single plate technology. This means it comes ready to use out-of-the-box. The all-aluminum build gives the unit a long productive life. Compared to other jigs designed with anodized silver, you can depend on the durability of this unit. It is offered with a number of needed accessories, making your work easier. Even better, you can adjust the system thanks to the bits provided to meet the needs of your project.
This unit is recommended for newbies and experienced wood workers. It is simple to use and most importantly, it allows great precision.
10. Woodhaven 7660 Large Half-Blind Router Table Dovetail Jig with Bit
Compared to conventional jigs, Woodhaven allows you great control and offers stability. With this jig, it is less likely that you will ruin the template, the piece of work, or the workbench. The unity cuts 90 degrees half-blind dovetails. It accommodates a thickness of up to 3/4-inch and a width of up to 11-3/4-inch. Designed for precision cutting, making it ideal for use on boxes and other small furniture.
It features large clamp knobs that allow you to tightly secure the workpiece for accuracy. The sliding clamp pads exert enough holding power for the thickest wood accommodated. The clamps allow you to quickly adjust wood. The unit is offered with a lifetime warranty. Made in the US, the dovetail jig features high-quality construction, allowing it to last long and offer you great accuracy.
This unit is highly adjustable, and you can use it on a host of applications. It is recommended for those who need a good dovetail jig for the money.
Choosing the best dovetail jig for the job is important for accurate woodworking. This is especially important if you are doing professional joinery or you are inexperienced in dovetailing. There are hundreds of dovetail jig brands and models and choosing the best dovetail jig may be a challenge for many. To most people, choosing a popular brand will give them all they need, but this may not cater to your needs.
If you are torn between a number of best dovetail jigs from the list above, you can consider user reviews online. This will help you determine whether a unit will meet your needs. While one unit may be good for someone, however, it does not mean that it will be good for you. You will need time and keenness to choose a good quality jig.
Are jigs challenging to use? As long as you can clamp the jig to your workbench tightly, setting up a jig does not require expertise. When a jig is offered with templates, an extra step is added to your dovetailing, but this enhances precision.