Through dovetails—for woodworkers, this is batting in the big leagues, isn’t it? Cutting them by hand certainly requires skill and practice, but if you use a well-designed router jig, almost anybody can play ball. Many of these jigs are quite expensive, but Leigh Industries, the maker of one of the best-known jigs, has just introduced a money-saving option: the R9 Plus Joinery System.
The heart of the R9 is a very precise, double-sided aluminum template. You mount the template to a wooden beam, which you make yourself. The template allows you to make through dovetails up to 9″ wide—and box joints, too. You can vary the size of the dovetails somewhat, but not their spacing. Using two different bits, you rout pins on one side of the jig and tails on the other side.
You’re not limited to 9″ boards, though: By moving the R9 template down the beam (which can be any length), you can dovetail boards of any width. The template is indexed by a series of “pin plates,” which you screw to the beam. After you move the template to dovetail a wide piece, the pin plates enable you to return the template to the same positions for the next board. The R9 comes with three pin plates, enough to dovetail an 18″ wide piece; more plates are available as accessories.
A cam-shaped guide bushing installed on your router’s base controls the joint’s fit. You just turn the bushing one way or the other to tighten or loosen the fit.
With the R9, you’ll be able to make five different sizes of through dovetails on boards of any thickness up to 13/16″. You can choose from three different pin widths and two joint pitches. For box joints, you can use stock of any thickness up to 7/8″, with three different finger sizes. The R9 Plus works with either a hand-held router or on your router table.
Leigh Industries, leighjigs.com, 800-663-8932, R9 Plus
Joinery System, #R9 Plus, $169; R9 Pin Plates-2 pack,
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