What is a dovetail jig?

What is a dovetail jig? The broad definition of ‘a jig’ is…

…a plate, box, open frame for holding work and for guiding a machine tool to the work… [Source: www.dictionary.com/browse/jig]

…a device that holds a piece of work and guides the tool operating on it. [Source: https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Dictionary]

A jig’s primary purpose is to provide repeatability, accuracy, and interchangeability in the manufacturing of products. A jig is often confused with a fixture; a fixture holds the work in a fixed location. A device that does both functions (holding the work and guiding a tool) is called a jig. [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jig_(tool)]

The more common styles of box making jigs cut:

  • through-dovetail joints
  • through-finger joints
  • half-blind dovetail joints
  • mitred-blind joints
  • pocket joints
  • butt joints
  • half lap joints
  • dowel joints.

The strongest joint of these is the through dovetail.

The dovetail jig helps the woodworker to easily make dovetail or finger joints when constructing boxes and furniture items. It’s only limited by your imagination.

Dovetail jigs, in particular, come in different forms. But essentially, a dovetailing jig is a device which holds timber in a vertical position so that each dovetail joint can be cut with a router.

Most jigs use a template attached to the base to make a joint with a particular shape. For example, to cut small, medium or large dovetails. Each template will use specific router bits, to cut dovetails on one side, and pins on the other side.

Joined together, the two pieces form a dovetail joint that is strong and durable. When you follow a few simple instructions, a dovetail jig should deliver precise joints every time.

The Gifkins jig has five templates to cut through dovetails and through finger joints. Explore the website front page for more information!