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New Leigh D1600 Review

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Philly

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Howdy Folks
Martin at Brimarc kindly let me play with the new Leigh D1600 dovetail router jig. This is a cut down version (in features and price) of their famous D4 jig, a big favourite of the “Bearded One”.
I have put a step by step photo diary on my website here. It includes through dovetails, half-blind dovetails and me actually making a project using it. Have a look and see what you think.
As I also own an Incra system and a LittleRat I was interested to see how the Leigh would fare in comparison. I found the Leigh really quick to set up and use-the learning curve was pretty shallow. Also the router bits were included with the jig so you could get stuck in immediately.
The finished dovetails look good, obviously not hand cut but really nice. And as you can arrange them however you like its difficult to produce an ugly joint-way better than fixed dovetail jigs. There is a 16 inch capacity so some nice sized projects can be made. The jig really excels for making drawers. You can knock them out in no time-this is a Leigh strength. Also larger boxes and casework would be perfect for this jig.
The dovetails themselves are not particularly small. There are only certain size bits that can be used with the jig but for most cabinet applications they look fine.
So, to sum up……
I liked this jig a lot-it was quick and easy to set up and get routing. It also produces perfect results (as long as you use a backer piece when routing) that look fantastic. It will certainly help you make classy looking projects quickly.
If you are in the market for a Router dovetail jig give the little Leigh a serious look. It is a real nice piece of kit.

Cheers
Philly :D
 

Waka

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Another first for the New Dorset Workshop.

Good detailed review Philly
 

Philly

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Alf
What? Eh? Have I made a terrible-typo?
What are you "rabbiting" on about? :lol:
Philly :D
 

tim

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Great review Philly. Well done.

Aside from the capacity, are there any other differences between it and the D4?

Cheers

T
 

Philly

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Tim
I believe the fingers on the D4 are split so you can vary the width of the tails/pins more. They are solid on the D1600, but I think this makes for easy use. Mind you, I've never used the D4.
Also the D4 will takes 24 ich wide boards, as opposed to the 16 of the D1600.
Hope this helps
Philly :D
 

sxlalan

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Hi Philly,

How would you rank it, the littlerat and the incra in terms of ease of use, versatility, quality of results etc?

Cheers

Alan
 

Philly

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Good question Alan!
They each have different strengths and weaknesses. Something like this......

Incra-Great for smaller, more intricate work and as an everyday router table fence with great adjustability.

LittleRat- Great for handcut looking dovetails, cutting joints of ALL sorts, accurate clean use of the router for any wood removal job. The Littlerat is not so good with larger workpieces, maybe the big brother WoodRat is better for larger items, although jigs can be made to hold just about anything.

Leigh-Simplicity of use (no measuring, just move the fingers to get the look you want), speed, great for drawers and casework.

Which is the best? Depends what you like to make.
Which could I live without? All of them-but I am glad to have them in the workshop!! :twisted: :lol:

Hope this helps-be interested to hear from other users,
Philly :D
 

Chris Knight

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Philly,
Nice review - and stool.

I have the D4 and use it quite a lot for large carcase corner joints usually wider than 16 inches so there is no possibility of using the model you reviewed. I also value the ability to "split" the fingers which results in a better balance between the size of pins and sockets for large joint. However for smaller work, this little jobbie looks the business.
 
A

Anonymous

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Nice review Philly

not sure I could live without the split fingers of my D4 though even for a saving of £50-60
 

AndyC

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Even though i'm the newbie at work (only 7 months into career as cabinet maker) I've been designated as 'the dovetailer' and do any dovetailing required (which is a fair bit)! We use the D4, but i have to say that as handy as the 'infinate adjustability' is, i find that the lack of support and rigidity in the construction disapointing, especially considering the price and reputation of this bit of eqquipment.

I think things could be much helped with a front support bar to stop any slight rocking of the router that can occur. FWIW.
 
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