Author Topic: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate  (Read 1030 times)

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Offline PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 196
Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« on: September 06, 2019, 10:50 AM »
Hi all - this summer I've been toying with the idea of a Leigh dovetail jig. Used one a few times a couple decades ago. And since Festool doesn't do much with dovetails, I was hoping for some feedback on this jig.

They're now running a rebate on the accessory kit where it only sells for $99 dollars. This may push me over the fence, so to say.

For those that have/use it - what are your thoughts? How does it compare to the Incra positioner? Thanks in advance!

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Offline Roseland

  • Posts: 624
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2019, 02:27 PM »
I hope my experiences are untypical.  I bought a D4R with accessories a three or four years ago. I went on a one-day course at Axminster Tools, and then didn't have cause to do any dovetailing for a while.  When I came back to it I found it just too complicated.

Last week I gave it away to someone who uses one daily to make solid oak kitchens.  He already has two but they are so heavily used the fingers have actually worn down such that the top of them is no longer flat but cupped in the middle.

I think if you are going to use one every week you'll probably stay proficient.  If not, it will likely be a big waste of time and money.  I never ever managed to use mine in a finished project.

When I got my Leigh, I gave away my old half-blind jig because I thought I'd moved on; big mistake.

I'm now considering one of these: https://www.axminster.co.uk/ujk-technology-dovetail-jig-506300

Andrew
TS55, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, CT26, RS100, ETS125, CXS, MFS400, DF-500, Zobos.

Offline Jim Kirkpatrick

  • Posts: 1121
    • Jim Kirkpatrick Woodworking
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2019, 04:03 PM »
I've had mine for years and love it!  Yes, there is a learning curve and when I first got mine I think I had Skil routers.  Later I upgraded to Porter Cable but about 10 years ago, I got Festool routers and holy moly, what a game changer.  They make cutting dovetails effortless they're so smooth. 
Be sure to get the vacuum and router support attachment.  It's a huge improvement both in dust collection and keeping the router steady

Offline PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 196
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2019, 08:29 AM »
@Roseland - thank you for the feedback. Was it the Leigh jig (specifically) that you found frustrating because you didn't use it often, or was it the concept of a dovetail jig itself?

Offline PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 196
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2019, 08:33 AM »
I've had mine for years and love it!  Yes, there is a learning curve and when I first got mine I think I had Skil routers.  Later I upgraded to Porter Cable but about 10 years ago, I got Festool routers and holy moly, what a game changer.  They make cutting dovetails effortless they're so smooth. 
Be sure to get the vacuum and router support attachment.  It's a huge improvement both in dust collection and keeping the router steady

Thanks, Jim - you brought up another point I forgot to ask. How do Festool routers play with the Leigh? Are they well balanced and can I use the template guide that comes with the jig? Or should I save some frustration and pick up a cheap Porter Cable 890 series router?

Regarding the vacuum and router support attachment - that is part of the accessory kit that Leigh sells, but is now discounted to $99 (down from $279) when you buy the D4R Pro in September. This offer may make me pull the trigger. I'd rather buy something that I know I'll eventually use when it's on sale so when I need it, I have it and saved a couple of dollars as well.

I appreciate the feedback!

Offline Roseland

  • Posts: 624
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2019, 10:41 AM »
@Roseland - thank you for the feedback. Was it the Leigh jig (specifically) that you found frustrating because you didn't use it often, or was it the concept of a dovetail jig itself?

It was the Leigh in particular; I've had success with a simpler single pass half-blind jig.

I primarily wanted to copy furniture made by a UK company (Ercol) who use half-blind dovetails in Elm.  The Axminster course only showed how to do through dovetails.  The guy I gave the jig to only does half-blind, but he uses it set up as though dovetails.  He said he and a colleague spent an entire day trying to get the Leigh to do half-blind single pass and gave up.

I was so fed up with it I just wanted it out of my sight.

On another aspect, the quality was dubious.  The plastic mouldings one either end of the vacuum and router support turned to crumbly dust.  Leigh sent replacements f.o.c, but the new ones are showing signs of going the same way; they've broken where the magnets fit in.

If you make the investment I wish you better luck that I had.

Andrew
TS55, MFT/3, OF1400, OF1010, CT26, RS100, ETS125, CXS, MFS400, DF-500, Zobos.

Offline PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 196
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2019, 10:45 AM »
@Roseland wow - that's pretty eye opening. Thank you for the candid review! Still on the fence, but hoping yours is an isolated incident.

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 547
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2019, 10:57 AM »
I have a D4 that I purchased new about 20 years ago.  It does have a learning curve however once set up correctly and after a few practice sessions it is an excellent dovetail jig.  It is so versatile and has a best-in-class spiral bound manual that is key to understanding set up.  It can even be updated easily to be same as the current one after all of these years.

I can't comment on Festool routers as mine are Bosch however two things are critical to ease of use.  One is the vacuum guide attachment as mentioned above. It is excellent at chip collection and greatly adds to router stability in use.  The other is the Leigh elliptical guide bushing.  It has the ability to slightly change OD with a slight rotation of the guide and thereby takes up any slack in the guide fingers for tight fitting joints.  It requires a Porter Cable style guide bushing mount though and I don't know if those are compatible with Festool routers.  (I am not sure if Leigh may have a Festool adapter)

Leigh also has many excellent videos that show how to set the jig up for various operations.  I haven't used it in a while due the nature of my current work, however I don't want to part with it as it has never failed me when I needed it.

Offline PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 196
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2019, 11:22 AM »
Thanks, @Dick Mahany.

I'm a bit concerned about using my OF1400 with a template guide - there have been instances with centering issues with this particular model. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it won't make a difference in this instance because you're following a template, correct?

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 547
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2019, 11:35 AM »
Thanks, @Dick Mahany.

I'm a bit concerned about using my OF1400 with a template guide - there have been instances with centering issues with this particular model. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it won't make a difference in this instance because you're following a template, correct?

I have always centered my guides and so I really don't know for certain.  I have read about the centering problem with the OF1400 and that is a major detractor (for me) even though some have jumped through hoops with home made fixes.  I would think that as long as the router body is not rotated, then the resulting placement errors should cancel out.  Perhaps someone with experience can help answer this question.

Offline Jim Kirkpatrick

  • Posts: 1121
    • Jim Kirkpatrick Woodworking
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2019, 12:01 PM »
I've had mine for years and love it!  Yes, there is a learning curve and when I first got mine I think I had Skil routers.  Later I upgraded to Porter Cable but about 10 years ago, I got Festool routers and holy moly, what a game changer.  They make cutting dovetails effortless they're so smooth. 
Be sure to get the vacuum and router support attachment.  It's a huge improvement both in dust collection and keeping the router steady

Thanks, Jim - you brought up another point I forgot to ask. How do Festool routers play with the Leigh? Are they well balanced and can I use the template guide that comes with the jig? Or should I save some frustration and pick up a cheap Porter Cable 890 series router?

Regarding the vacuum and router support attachment - that is part of the accessory kit that Leigh sells, but is now discounted to $99 (down from $279) when you buy the D4R Pro in September. This offer may make me pull the trigger. I'd rather buy something that I know I'll eventually use when it's on sale so when I need it, I have it and saved a couple of dollars as well.

I appreciate the feedback!

The Festool Routers are very well balanced.  I use a simple guide bushing made by Rockler and have never had any issues.  I've heard good things about the elliptical bushing that Leigh sells.

Offline PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 196
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2019, 12:02 PM »
I've had mine for years and love it!  Yes, there is a learning curve and when I first got mine I think I had Skil routers.  Later I upgraded to Porter Cable but about 10 years ago, I got Festool routers and holy moly, what a game changer.  They make cutting dovetails effortless they're so smooth. 
Be sure to get the vacuum and router support attachment.  It's a huge improvement both in dust collection and keeping the router steady

Thanks, Jim - you brought up another point I forgot to ask. How do Festool routers play with the Leigh? Are they well balanced and can I use the template guide that comes with the jig? Or should I save some frustration and pick up a cheap Porter Cable 890 series router?

Regarding the vacuum and router support attachment - that is part of the accessory kit that Leigh sells, but is now discounted to $99 (down from $279) when you buy the D4R Pro in September. This offer may make me pull the trigger. I'd rather buy something that I know I'll eventually use when it's on sale so when I need it, I have it and saved a couple of dollars as well.

I appreciate the feedback!

The Festool Routers are very well balanced.  I use a simple guide bushing made by Rockler and have never had any issues.  I've heard good things about the elliptical bushing that Leigh sells.

Thanks, Jim! I have the 1010, and the 1400. Which do you use with your Leigh?

Offline Jim Kirkpatrick

  • Posts: 1121
    • Jim Kirkpatrick Woodworking
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2019, 09:52 AM »
I use them both for through dovetails.  Nice to not have to change bits.  I really like the control I get with the 1010 though.

Offline PeterJJames13

  • Posts: 196
Re: Leigh D4R Pro Mail In Rebate
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2019, 08:10 PM »
I use them both for through dovetails.  Nice to not have to change bits.  I really like the control I get with the 1010 though.
Thanks much - I appreciate it!