Author Topic: Leigh RTJ 400 Dovetail Jig  (Read 3498 times)

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Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1126
Leigh RTJ 400 Dovetail Jig
« on: March 30, 2015, 09:45 AM »
I have had a number of different DT jigs over the years including the Jointech system, Leigh 12" Superjig and most recently, the Incra iBox.  I never could get the iBox to work with my Hammer slider so I was intrigued when I read about the Leigh RTJ 400.  I made a trek down to my local Woodcraft store and they didn't have one out on the shelf but had a few in the back so I sucked it up and purchased one.  I stayed a lot longer than I planned as I got into a spirited discussion with another Festooligan by the Festool display arguing the merits of a Trion vs Carvex or does one really need the Vecturo when you have the Fein, etc...  It's quite a club we have when Festooligans get together, almost like going to an AA meeting maybe, except in this case we encourage each other to slide down the slippery slope.   ;D ;D  I digress so back to the review.  Leigh makes superb products.  A bit pricey but they are very well thought out, easy to set up and use and (Festool, are you listening?) have the best instruction booklet ever produced.  There are a few things to put together out of the box, not much, and it took only about 10 minutes.  The hardest part was figuring out how the bolts from the cam clamps slid into their respective channel on the plate. No matter, it went together well and was ready for use.  I recently got a Kreg portable router table and it works perfectly with this system.  In fact, the booklet has tons of pictures and they were using a Kreg set up to demonstrate. Any router table will work as long as the plate will accept a Porter Cable standard sized bushing.  You have a few options on workpiece set up.  What's nice is you can either eyeball the position of your workpiece for symmetry purposes if you have a particular width of board you are using or use their printed guides on exactly how wide a workpiece should be to achieve the same results by using a fixed position on the side stop to get a perfectly symmetrical joint which the pins and sockets are all the same size.  It's much easier to use that my Superjig (going up for sale BTW) as you don't have worry about the router tipping or anything like that.  It's very fast once it's set up.  They use this bushing they call the E bushing which is slightly eccentric to dial in your joints.  I did a test case with some box joints and they were a bit tight so I went from their middle position of 5 down to a 3 and they fit together perfectly.  It isn't as flexible as a DR4 with variable spacing but there are a few things one can do with it for some variety.  It will go out to a 16" wide board so smaller chests and bigger boxes can be done.  It also doesn't take up much shop space as it can be hung on the wall out of the way when not being used.  You can also do finger joints down to 3/32" but that takes multiple passes to accomplish.  I have some small 2.75" high boxes to build for some drink coasters and a 3/16" spacing would be great for that.  The kit comes with a 3/8th straight bit and some other common DT bits and they offer an accessory kit that would give you the complete complement of bits needed to take full advantage of all it's capabilities.  Personally, I ordered some extras from Holbren as I can get pure carbide bits for less from them than their HSS variety.  As for dust collection, well, there isn't any unless you install the fence about an inch behind it and hook up the CT to the dust port.  The dust generally flies forward so I looked like I had been in snow ball fight (used white pine for test joints) after a few passes.   It's a small price to pay for the ease of getting perfect joints so effortlessly.  This is easily the best DT jig I have ever used and now I have to start thinking of some projects to make use of it. 
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

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Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 1808
Re: Leigh RTJ 400 Dovetail Jig
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 02:37 PM »
No dust collection? Huge drawback in my mind. It's amazing to me that Leigh wouldn't have addressed that issue since wood dust is definitely something that no one should be breathing or making more of than necessary. My Incra table is essentially dust free as is the Porter Cable Omnijig I have. I can't think of anything easier that the Incra although I agree that, with larger boxes or chests, dovetails could be more difficult with the Incra. For regular drawers, etc. it's great with no dust (or very little).
Randy