Dovetail Jig … Not cheap — Survey Coming

Well  we finally got the pricing together,  It will be 475.00 for the total package, however you don’t need every thing, let me explain !

     The objective of this jig is to get as thin a neck and hand cut looking through ( not half blind)( we use a over lay drawer front) dovetail as  humanly possible with a router,  the thinner neck is indicative of  hand cut , and is one of the most recognizable marks of fine craftsmanship, this jig allows you to do that, and do it super fast, and accurate, this is the main objective and the main difference in our Jig , but to achieve this we have to use various length bits, meaning we have a 3/4 , 5/8 ,1/2 and 3/8 cut lengths, and  a 7/8 after the first of the year, the 3/4 and 7/8 are normally for  case work and chest, the 5/8  and 1/2 for drawers, the reason for the various cut lengths, is to keep the thinner neck, if you raise the bit the neck gets thicker, while a 3/4 length will cut 5/8 material, the neck gets thicker, as well a 5/8 will cut a 1/2 and a 1/2 will cut 3/8 and so forth, but you lose the thin neck.

    In addition, the jig requires 2 routers, because we need to use a precut bit, this is a solid carbide, spiral bit, that is used to remove alot of the waste, this reduces the strain on the smaller neck as well as helps prevent chip out and a much nicer cut, all the dovetail bits and the spiral bits have 5/8 bearings and use a small snap ring to hold the bearing, no stop collars, the 3/4 and 5/8 dovetail bits are made from the best grade available High Speed Steel, we had to do this to get the strength needed , the 1/2 and 3/8 are carbide tipped, the shorter bits don’t have the stress issues like the longer bits, it’s basically a 9 1/2 degree, which is a compromise, between the 6 to 1 and the 8 to 1 standard, but has been my standard for many years, I really like the look it gives .

    Now all of this said, you can get the whole package , or just the bits you want, additionally in the survey we are asking if you want backer boards, we make ours from poplar, we use a vertical grain then a flat grain and then another vertical,  the vertical grain as a backer holds the best and doesn’t chip out, MDF , particle board do not make good backers, nor does flat gain, it likes to chip out and  is hard on bits, while we use poplar you can use any wood, but we will be asking if you want us to  make them, they will 25.00 a piece, but again to make your own is quite easy and they can be made from scrap, and each backer will give you 4 different edges to use, so they last a long time, , we make ours 5″ wide and 16 long, ( jig length), and about 2″ thick, this works with all the various bits.

    The pin size is made by simply moving the pin jig forwards or backwards to make the size pin needed, we have scribed the jig to help in setting it up, but if you use a standard size for say drawers, once set up, up never have to change anything, just rock and roll, set your bit depth and get to it, I can do an entire drawer in 10 to 15 min, easily. 

     We will provide an instruction sheet as well as a Full length DVD on how to use it, and how to do specialty dovetails.

   Well the Survey is being typed as we speak, I hope you will respond, we know this isnt cheap by any means, but it’s what it takes to do what we want, and again its all made in the USA, the jigs by Comet Tool in  New Jersey, the bits by Forest Tool and Whiteside .. so we have the best of the best making the components.. We did not shop for the cheapest, we looked for the best , and that’s what we have here… the jig is simple, and easy to use, and that is often harder to do than something complicated… but its done…

   The big issue for us will be volume , we are not expecting huge numbers, but we have to reach some minimums or its a no go, manufacturing small quantities drives the cost thru the roof,  so if we don’t reach the minimum we will not release it… we are just too small to have this much sitting on a shelf… just how it is, feel sure you understand as well, so  thus the survey, to see what interest we have and decide where to go from there


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36 Responses to Dovetail Jig … Not cheap — Survey Coming

  1. Frank Speyerer says:

    $475.00 WOW! …Not Cheap–is an understatemment.

    • Eric says:

      I see where this has it’s place for mobility, and you’re right, $475 isn’t a real attractive figure (I attempt to justify the cost later on in this post, though). My entire Incra super system was around $400 I think. I think to match this capability I would just need to make a new template for the positioner for very good repeatability. But that takes time, not to mention the inevitable tool change from straight bit to dovetail bit after the heavy lifting cuts are done. This is time some may not have. The reason this jig is so much, though, is because 100 is still a relatively small production run for a machine shop these days. Made In America quality is going to cost you as well. It’s the same with anything else out there and factoring that in, the asking price is very reasonable for what is included.

      I do like the advantage of this one is that you can set up two routers ready to go and the set up looks to be relatively plug and play. This is not the case with my current system. I’d have to make two runs through the positioner template, the second after a tool change, which definitely won’t be as fast as this one was for making a 15 minute drawer. The “clamp on” rather than “clamp in” approach is a welcome new feature and addition here and would keep anyone from having to anchor the darn thing to bench space.

      So, there’s the tradeoff. If I were making furniture for money, I’d buy it in a heartbeat because I could make back the cost difference of my current system by time saved in no time flat. If I didn’t just outfit my jointer and planer with Shelix cutters, I’d be all over this.

      Bravo Charles.

  2. Randy says:

    I’m game Charles..i have seen the looks of it..i own the Leigh jig and it drives me nuts trying to get everything linrd up and accurate..I need simple..fast..nice looking..and.most of all…accurate..

    So put me down for the whole shebang..I’ll figure out how to pay for it later.. Heh heh

  3. Lynn Miller says:

    I’ve been looking to buy a jig and the one I have been looking at doesn’t make as pretty a dovetail and only comes with 2 bits and is $369.00 so the price doesn’t look too out of line since this one comes with 8 bits.

  4. Bob Kloes says:

    Good tools cost money. You are getting a lot of stuff for the buck, I think. People have to think of how long you have been working on this and trying bits,jigs and all those hours and costs involved. I have had lots of tools over the years I spent dollars on. A lot have been given away.

    Its like a car. You can try and haul a load of lumber in a Volkswagen or a truck. There are just better ways to do things.
    Just my thoughts. bob

  5. Carl Letts says:

    What this boils down to is do I want the handcut dovetail look or will I “settle” for the stubby mass produced look of the cheaper ones. Put me down for one, please. In fact, I call “dibs” on the first one (hey, it’s worth a shot).

  6. Bob Kloes says:

    I want one too. I paid over 400$ for my keller over 20 years ago. That came with 2 bits. bob

  7. John Montgomery says:

    Been waiting! Let me know when available.

    John Montgomery

  8. Jim Eller says:

    I currently use the 24″ Akeda and really like it’s ease of use. I will be sticking with that for now.

    I don’t use it daily and the learning curve is short. Just like my memory.

  9. Al Lenkner says:

    Charles,

    I already have 3 dovetail jigs and am not particularly happy with any of them. I’ve been thinking of the Akeda, especially the 24″ model but I’m interested in what you have. I would make the recommendation that you produce a video showing the benefits of your jig. It may help sway some to your side.

    Al

  10. Randy says:

    Carl Letts… I already got dibs on the first one produced… Heh heh heh.. Or so I hope..

  11. Fred Grosse says:

    Excellent – will buy. Have been waiting for a simple/fullproof jig.

    What is max board width of jig without moving and reclamping the jig?

  12. Alf Bennett says:

    Your right! their not cheap, and I never thought they would be. But at $475 which is less than half of what my AKEDA cost here in Australia it sounds like a bargain. Time is what I’m short of. The look of Hand cut Dovetails using a jig, sounds like a time saver to me.I’ll have one as soon as you get em. Thanks Alf

  13. Jim says:

    I would love to see a video to help me appreciate the jig. Ease and quality. That will help me let lose of $500 bucks plus I assume freight. I know you have spent alot of time on this.

  14. Cliff says:

    I would like to see the jig on You Tube to see how it works. Everything else I have gotten from Charles has worked as advertised so I would have to assume this would as well but still I would like to see it work.

  15. Denis Rezendes says:

    thats not bad at all the Leighs are around there once you actually outfit them like you said you can spend less but it wont do as much. looks like a really winner to me!

  16. John McD says:

    Gee Frank I figured you for two:) . I am in,as always if you say it the way to go it’s a winner. Love that hand cut look. Just don’t have the time to cut them. This should bridge the gap!!!!!!
    John

  17. Mike Kratky says:

    Agree with others, would like to see a video 1st to help me appreciate the jig before I cut a check.

  18. Garry says:

    I am with the others that said a video that shows all the setup and workings of the jig is in order to make a preliminary decision. After all you are the man of videos.
    Garry

  19. Ben Birdsill says:

    I’m in. After the build-up, I thought it might be more. It doesn’t sound out of line to me. Like Bob says, good tools aren’t cheap. I suspect making dovetails is like most other things – when it comes to fast, cheap and quality, you only get to choose 2 out of 3.

  20. Ben Birdsill says:

    As far as the video, isn’t this the jig you used on the blanket chest? Check that episode in Mastering Woodworking to see it in action. And if you don’t subscribe to the show, well shame on you. You don’t know what you’re missing!

  21. Rich says:

    Woodrat has bits that are low angle dovetails with thin necks. I don’t know how these compare to yours. Here is their link:
    http://www.woodrat.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=WRAUS&Category_Code=DB

  22. Kevin Jaynes says:

    Nothing else out there can do what this one does, and the bits themselves are not cheap to have made. Having your own line of bits made coupled with the fact that a guy can get perfect looking dovetails with a handmade look, so quickly AND with repeatability then no, $475 is not over priced at all.

    I had the Leigh also and the amount of time i spent with test cuts just finally relegated it to the shelf I haven’t used it in years. My Charles Neil jig will get plenty of use.

    Mark me down for all 100 of them because I will sell them for $575 and pocket the $10K.

  23. Monte West says:

    Hi:
    I have been gone the last three days, so I am down the list.
    From you blog the thinest dovetail it will make is 3/8″. Is that correct? If you use your small bit, you can use it on thinner material( 1/4″ Small Drawers), but the neck on the dove tail will be wider. Correct?
    I have a Leigh Jig and paid nearly $500.00 and ever time I use it i have to get out the book. It does a nice job, but it does not look hand cut. Does this Router Jig include the backer block? Does this price include two or three router bits? Are they 1/4′ or 1/2 shank bits? Price for me is $475.00 + Va. Sale Tax + shipping.
    Count me in on this one.

  24. Lim Peacock says:

    Charles,
    I think the real selling point of this jig is watching you demo it. It is on the expensive side, but that being said, I would invest if I could have a better understanding of its versatility and the options it offers. I’m a visual learner, I have to see it in action in order to make a decision. Based on your blog, it sounds like everything I have wanted in a dovetail jig.
    You the man! Thanks for thinking outside the box!

  25. James H says:

    Just one more vote for a youtube commercial. I voted that I wouldn’t be interested, but the more I think about it the more I might actually go for it. A video might be just the ticket. After all, it was a youtube video that led me to your site in the first place.

  26. Jim Riley says:

    Hey Charles I want in. I have one more payment on the new drum sander next month. then should be ready for the dove tail jig.

  27. Rick Cooledge says:

    Saw the video. I’ll commit to buy. Just one question. I don’t understand the pricing differential for the to-come versions. Is it matter that they’ll only one part of the things that the currently offered tool will do?

  28. Rick Cooledge says:

    Sorry Charles. Just took the survey which answered my question.

  29. john jackman says:

    charles, I think you have the best looking “dovetail” jig out there. It’s great that your offering to us at a very reasonable price. You should mass market it before someone “steals” all your hard work!

  30. Keith says:

    Hey watched the vid and its very interesting. I have a questions. With the bits being custom, who’s going to make them whiteside? I hope it’s a USA company. Secondly, do you have a commitment from the bit maker to offer this on an ongoing basis, or is it a limited run and if we buy we need to get extra bits?

    May need to sell my D4R

  31. keith, yes its whiteside and we do have a long term commitment, and we will have the replacement bits as well, no issue there, and YES its all USA made, Comet tool out of NJ does the jig and WHiteside and Forest tooling ( sister companies) do the bits..

    • Keith says:

      I also noticed you indicated the thickness of the pin is controled by moving the guide in and out. How do you keep that straight. It looked like the holes in the aluminum plate was elongated so it could move back and forth. How do you make sure the jig does not get skewed from one side (left) .vs. the other (right). I know with my d4r I have to make sure this is just right. I like the concept of your jig seems simple.

  32. we have scribe lines to align to , but I also use a simple combo square, a little skew, wont make alot of difference, because the tolerences are so precise… American made ya know … dead on as it should be

  33. Doug Russell says:

    If you produce them,the people will route! put me down for ”the lot”. Hello N.J.!! GO U.S.A.!!

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