Scorecard

PROS: Easiest jig to set up and use; unlimited stock width; bearing-guided bits easier to use than guide bushings.

CONS: Won't make half-blind dovetails; variable spacing possible, but tedious.

BO I TOM LINE: Easy-to-use, precision jig for making a wide variety of through dovetails.

Porter-Cable Omnijig 7116

Street price: $324

Phone: (901)668-8600

Porter-Cable Corp., Box 2468, Jackson, TN 38302

Ease of use:

Instructions:

Versatility:

Weighing in at 60 lbs., the steel and aluminum Porter-Cable Omnijig is the sturdiest jig of the four we tested. And—with its many template options—it rivals the Leigh jig for versatility.

Unfortunately, the basic jig will only make halt-blind dovetails: To make through dovetails you'll have to shell out an extra $160 or so for the optional through dovetail template. This sturdy, well-engineered template has fingers that you can adjust for variable spacing, allowing you to create the look of hand-cut dovetails.

To make through dovetails, you clamp the work vertically to the front of the jig under the template, which guides a router bushing. The tails and pins are cut in separate operations. To be able to use some of the larger dovetail bits, you'll need a router that accepts a V2-in. collet.

Once you learn how to set the Omnijig up, dovetailing goes quickly. Adjustments are fairly easy to make, although fine-tuning for a good joint fit requires turning nuts with a wrench to position the template. The workpiece clamps require a little fiddling to adjubt, but they're btrong enough to straighten a warped board. All templates are solid aluminum and attach easily to the jig.

This jig came out of the box fully assembled except for a few template brackets. All that's necessary is to bolt the jig to a bench, or to a piece of plywood that you clamp to a bench.

The Omnijig's instruction manual is its Achilles' heel. It inadequately covers jig setup and adjustment, leaving you to discover the fine points of "tweaking"'

the jig by trial and error. _

Fortunately, the video that accompanies the jig clarifies many of these procedures.

In short, we liked the Omnijig's design—but not its price. Its rock-solid construction makes it the jig we'd favor for constant production work.

Strong clamps. Gripping a workpiece is easy with the Omnijig's cam-action clamps.

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