The Leigh R9Plus jig, Part 2. Final preparations


In this episode:

  1. Optimizing workholding of the beam by changing out the right-hand Leigh surface clamp for the Leigh bench clamp. This done, the beam slid to the left, and workholding is solid. Now I have no more concerns that the beam will slip during operation; before, the tips of the clamps were simply too close to the edges at the ends of the beam. Why? Because I did not have a hole on the workbench to install a second surface clamp on the left-hand side of the the beam – I had a bench clamp on the left, in a dog hole.
  2. Tuning the R9Plus jig by using the sides top to adjust the template position precisely. Once properly adjusted, not even a thin piece of paper will fit between the work piece and the side stop while the work piece is flush under the template.
  3. A great tip: Making the writing visible on the side stop – use chalk!
  4. Tip: Learn proper marking of the work pieces. You will be glad you did! I remember the early days, and not being able to keep track of board orientation. What a nightmare that was!  But I learned quickly that using the Leigh way of marking boards is the absolute best; and I still use it today. I suggest you use it, too.

Enjoy the video!


Al Navas



The Leigh R9Plus jig – assembling the beam


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 beam

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!


Hold-down clamps

Bench hold-down clamp holding the beam for the R9Plus jig

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



Coming next week, the R9PLUS system


As you know, I have been busy preparing for the written exam, to become certified as a Missouri Court Interpreter. I will sit for the exam on November 6 (yippee!) – please, wish me luck!

Next up, a neat jig!

Starting next week I will be back in the shop – and, first up, I get to use the newest jig from Leigh, the R9 Plus Joinery System. I look forward to making 3 sizes of box joints and 3 sizes of through dovetails, all on boards of any width. This will be a GREAT investment for anyone looking for a low initial investment to do this joinery!

For example, for dovetails, with the template in the right-hand position:


And for finger joints on a narrow work piece:

The following are the features of this new jig:

  • Unlimited board widths
  • Through dovetails
  • Any board thickness up to 13/16”
  • 3 pin widths – 3/8”, 7/16” & 1/2”
  • 2 joint pitches, 1 1/2” & 3/4”
  • Box joints
  • Any board thickness up to 1”
  • 3 sizes – 3/16”, 3/8” & 3/4”
  • No jig adjustments
  • Joint fit is controlled by patented eBush
  • Works on your router table or with a standalone router
  • Adjustable width clamping
  • Mounts to shop made beam to keep cost low
  • Replaceable backer board eliminates tear out


Disclosure: Leigh provides me with jigs from time to time, for evaluation purposes. I provide my own reviews here on the blog. And I help people with questions about joinery using the Leigh jigs — many of you know I love pitching in to help, whenever I can.

Al Navas