I really like the look of dovetail joinery, but I've been frustrated by the complexity and setup of most of the dovetail jigs I've tried. I was skeptical that the new Delta Porter-Cable 77240 Omnijig Joinery system would be any different. I was never so wrong.
Details of the system
I was impressed with the weight and build quality of the Omnijig. The unit is heavy aluminum and steel with textured (knurled) work-holding surfaces to help secure stock in place plus the pods to set router depth.
The 24-inch jig can do variably-spaced half-blind dovetails, single-pass and rabbeted half-blind dovetails, through dovetails and, with accessories, sliding tapered dovetails, box joints and miniature dovetails.
Main features include the pods used to set router bit depth, an assortment of template stops, a router stabilizer bar mounted level with and in front of the finger assembly to aid in router control, single-lever workpiece clamping, and color-coded instructional guides located on the jig.
Putting it all together
After mounting a drawer side (tailboard), I set router bit depth by placing the router over the appropriate pod and lowering the bit until it just made contact.
Routing the tailboard is made easier with the added support of the stabilizer bar. The procedure is similar for cutting the pin board. Switching from 3/4- to 5/8- to 1/2-inch material involves only adjusting the bit depth while the other stops remain the same.
I constructed the first dovetail drawer by following the detailed instruction manual of the system. Onboard guides made the procedure for subsequent parts much simpler.
A laminated card tells which numbered router bit, template guide and jig stops to use for each material thickness and dovetail style, while the onboard notes, highlighted in red, outline the cutting sequence.
Each dovetail style has different color-coded notes. It also shows pictures of the finished part (tail board, pin board) and its orientation when mounted on the jig.
Setting the router bit depth with this pod procedure gave me exact or near exact joints. The onboard notes also included simple adjustment procedures. I quickly gained confidence with this easy system dovetails fit well, look good and, most importantly, didn't take much time or test my sanity in setting it all up.
The model 77240 Omnijig comes complete with everything you need to start making dovetail joints and retails for approximately $600. For more information go to www.deltaportercable.com or circle 260 on the reader service card.
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