Leigh has developed a new jig, to make dovetail and finger joinery easy in the shop. The fact that it is also easy on the pocketbook will likely be welcome by woodworkers looking for a low-cost entry point into a great joinery system. Price: $169 suggested by Leigh; around $150 at various woodworking supply houses in the U.S.
Disclosure: Leigh sends me tools for testing and evaluation; I conduct independent reviews, free of any influence by Leigh, or by anyone else. My opinions are strictly my own.
The kit that comes with the R9Plus includes everything you will need to get up and running, with the exception of the beam on which the template rests. You provide the wooden beam and also one MDF sacrificial backer board, and one MDF clamp board. The User Guide covers very nicely how to make the beam, how to assemble the components, and how to tune the pin plates to mount the template.
In the video I show how to make “L” cuts” on the beam and on the backer board, to allow good, solid clamping with either shop clamps, or with the Leigh hold-down clamps. In later episodes I will cover in detail the dovetail and finger joint procedures using the jig.
Take your time preparing the beam and the backer boards. It will pay off in solid joinery, without having to do any troubleshooting. Everything you will need is included in the kit. And the instructions and alignment procedures are so easy, even I can do them in just a few minutes.
TIP: Make several backer boards, and keep them on hand. Later it will be trivial to change out the old for a new one, to minimize the risk of tear-out of the work piece.
The beam can be made in various sizes (lengths), depending on your needs. And the beam also becomes the support for the template, should you decide to use the jig on your router table. I will cover this also, in a separate episode.
If something is not clear in what I cover in this short video, let me know in the Comment section below, or via e-mail (click on my name in the signature line). Enjoy the video!
In the video I showed the bench hold-down clamp on the right-hand end of the beam. To use this clamp I had to use a bench hold-down clamp on the left side, as I did not have a hole on the workbench for a another surface clamp. As a compromise, and instead of drilling another hole on the bench, I switched the clamp on the right to another bench model. This moved the clamp on the right slightly toward the left, and the clamps now hold the beam extremely well (you can spy the surface clamp anchor under the foot of the clamp — click on the image on the right to enlarge it).
— Al Navas