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AKEDA® DC16 Dovetail Jig Review

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AKEDA DC16 Dovetail Jig

AKEDA DC16 Dovetail Jig

(c) 2008 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Bottom Line

Occasionally, someone comes along and invents the proverbial "better mousetrap." In the world of dovetail jigs, AKEDA very well may have achieved such a lofty status. With a router and this extremely easy-to-use jig, a woodworker can create nearly any dovetail joint required for their project, quickly and accurately.

The AKEDA is a bench-top dovetail jig, and the boards being cut slip into the jig from the back or underneath (depending on the type of dovetail being cut). The variable spaced fingers for the pins and tails are a snap to position. Every feature is very well-thought out and easy to use.

Pros

  • Quite versatile - will cut numerous styles of dovetails
  • One of the easiest and safest jigs for beginning woodworkers
  • Very well-written user's guide

Cons

  • Board width limited to 16" - not designed for cutting wide boards
  • Uses collar on router base - some routers need special adapters to accommodate a standard collar

Description

  • Will cut through, half-blind, shadow through, sliding, end-on-end and angled dovetails, as well as box joints
  • Unique clamping system - entire clamp bar locks down with turn of one screw instead of needing to turn a screw on each side
  • No bits are included, but various kits with bit sets, dust collection, additional collars and fingers are available
  • AKEDA also offers a the BC24 model, a larger, 24" dovetail jig for cutting dovetails for blanket chests
  • Metric jigs available outside the United States

Guide Review - AKEDA® DC16 Dovetail Jig Review

When we opened the box and looked at all the parts, we initially felt a bit overwhelmed. However, after a short, five-minute perusal of the very well-written user manual, we were cutting tails for a through-dovetail joint in no time.

We especially liked the way the router rides on two guide bars on top of the unit. On some dovetail jigs, care must be taken to keep the router from wobbling on the jig. However, with the unique AKEDA dual guide bar system, the router glides across the top of the jig in a much more stable fashion. The router's collar guides the bit around and through the fingers without the router ever leaving the guide bars.

To our way of thinking, this system is perfect for beginning woodworkers, or those who don't have very strong hands. To test this theory, we asked a young lady who had little woodworking experience to try this jig. After a quick, 30-seconds of instruction, she cut the tails, and later the pins, like a pro. She marveled at how simple the unit was to use, and was quite impressed that she had created a perfect dovetail joint with such relative ease.

The AKEDA DC16 includes the jig body, adjustment knob, user manual, router collar plus ten fingers for tails, pins and half-blind pins. Router bits, dust collection, additional fingers and even a very useful device to keep your router's cord out of your way are all available as parts of various AKEDA accessory kits that are available from your AKEDA dealer. The router bits within the kits are 8mm-shank bits that require use of a 1/2" router collet along with the included adapter.

One improvement we'd like to see: a ruler on the top of the jig body would be a big help for setting up various finger setups. However, this is a minor suggestion, as the guide fingers snap into pre-determined positions every 1/8" under the rear guide rail.
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