Best Dovetail Jigs

If you work in carpentry or a woodworking shop, you’ll know that there are many different tools needed for all the different things one can do with wood to turn it into usable things.

If you’re not an experienced professional and you’re here to find out more because you’re looking to start out in this world, then hi.

A dovetail jig is a highly useful and commonly used tool for working with wood, and you would highly benefit from having one if you’re planning on putting together different pieces of wood to create furniture or other objects.

The dovetail jig keeps the wood in a vertical position and cuts out a dovetail joint, using a template for a precise finish. That way, you can perfectly slide two different pieces of wood together.

Dovetail jigs come in many different sizes and designs, with different capabilities for bothe DIY and professional use, so there’s plenty of variety available in the market to satisfy whichever preferences or needs you have.

If you’re new to dovetail jigs, you might need some help figuring it out the first few tries, but they usually come with instruction manuals and there’s plenty of video tutorials online to get you going!

Once you’re used to it, you’ll realize why dovetail jigs are such an important part of the woodworking industry, and why they are a great investment to obtain the best woodworking results.

Because it can be tricky to try and find the best dovetail jig amongst all the different choices available, we’ve compiled a list with our favourite picks that we deem the best overall options.

In a hurry?

A dovetail jig is what you need to get the perfectly finished dovetail joints, perfect for putting together wood-made furniture of high-quality and build.

They’re a highly recommended tool for wood-workers, and if you’re looking to break into that world then this purchase is a must. 

If you’re not sure which dovetail jig to choose, then we recommend you go for the one we’ve deemed the best overall product, our number one top choice for best dovetail jig: the Porter-Cable Dovetail Jig. 

This is a top choice product for good reason, with an overwhelming amount of good reviews and ratings by many satisfied customers that can back up its claims of good-quality and efficiency.

It comes fully assembled, thanks to its single-piece steel base design, making it extremely easy to set up and use. You can use wood stock between 1/4 and 1⅛ inches thick, held in place by a firm grip thanks to the heavy-duty cam-type clamps that the jig has.

It’s extremely reliable and highly durable, earning a steady place in your workspace with a great versatility, as it comes with many different templates included. It can produce half-blind, rabbeted half-blind, and sliding dovetails amongst others. It has a superior cutting accuracy for precision and will overall obtain excellent results!

Here are the main features:

  • Single-piece steel base design - arrives fully assembled
  • Accommodates 1/4 to 1⅛ inches of thickness
  • Heavy-duty cam-type clamps for firm grip
  • Router bit depth gauge - no need for measuring
  • Half-blind, rabbeted half-blind, and sliding dovetails
  • Superior cutting accuracy and precision
  • Highly reliable and durable

Top 5 Best Dovetail Jigs

OUR TOP PICK

PORTER-CABLE Dovetail Jig with Mini Template...

The Porter-Cable Dovetail Jig has made it to the top of our list by being an incredibly high-quality and efficient tool.

It has an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and high ratings from all the satisfied customers, proving its usefulness in the woodworking world. 

The single-piece steel base designs means that it doesn’t require any assembly, it’s ready to go as soon as it arrives! It can accommodate wooden stock from 1/4 to 1⅛  inches thick, and it has a good strong grip on the wood that holds it firmly in place.

This is thanks to the heavy-duty cam-type clamps that have sandpaper backed bars, providing extra safety when working the wood. You can also set bit depths without needing to measure, thanks to the router bit depth gauge that it comes with. 

It comes with a few different templates of dovetail joints you can create, as it can produce half-blind, rabbeted half-blind, and sliding dovetails.

It also includes a template 4213 for through dovetails and box joints, as well as a template 4215 for miniature through and half-blind dovetails. 

Made out of aluminium, they provide superior cutting accuracy and precision, as well as being highly durable and of long-term use. 

Pros:

  • Single-piece steel base design
  • Accommodates 1/4 to 1⅛ inches 
  • Heavy-duty cam-type clamps
  • Router bit depth gauge
  • Half-blind, rabbeted half-blind, and sliding dovetails
  • Superior cutting accuracy and precision

Cons:

  • No downsides

EDITORS CHOICE

General Tools 861 Portable Aluminum Dovetail...

The General Tools 861 Dovetail Jig has been designed to be highly efficient and easy to use, so that you can get the dovetail joints done to perfection with ease.

It’s very lightweight and easy to transport, so that you can easily carry it and take it with you to a different location. Maybe you need to go to a different workshop, or maybe you’re helping out a friend at their house, this dovetail jig can be taken anywhere without needing to re-assemble it at all.

It has been constructed from a one-piece made of aluminum, and is highly durable and resistant to wear and tear. It has a self-aligning design that ensures that both ends of the dovetail match up every single time, so there’s no room for mistakes.

The wooden pieces you’re working on will remain firmly grasped thanks to the integrated clamps for securing it in place. You can also easily adjust the dovetail interface to create looser or tighter joints, according to your preference.

The product comes with a control knob for the table router included. The templates it comes with allow you to cut through, half-blind, edge-to-edge, and square joints.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and very portable
  • Self-aligning design
  • Integrated clamps
  • Through, half-blind, edge-to-edge, and square dovetail joints

Cons:

  • Might lose precision when tightening the clamps

BEST VALUE

CMT CMT300 UNIVERSAL JOINTING SYSTEM

The CMT CMT300 Jointing System is yet another great dovetail jig available in the market, able to offer excellent results that are easy to achieve, upping your craftsmanship a few levels without the need for extra effort.

It can accommodate a thickness of board between 12 and 25 mm, which is a good standard for any DIY project that you might want to tackle. The jig is made from steel, making it highly durable and heavy-duty, sturdy enough to sit through all of your projects while resisting a great deal of wear and tear.

The wood pieces are held firmly in place, to be worked on, by full-length clamps, which are the best way to fix them strongly. It comes with a template for half-blind joints, as well as through dovetail and box joints.

It also includes a template guide, so that you can understand each type and know what to use it for. It’s pricier in comparison to other dovetail jigs, but it has great levels of precision and accuracy that will make your joints look professional.

Pros:

  • Thickness between 12 and 25 mm
  • Highly durable and heavy-duty
  • Full-length clamps
  • Half-blind, through, and box dovetail joints

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can be tricky to set up

RUNNER UP

Trend CDJ300 Craft Dovetail Jig for Woodwork...

Dovetail joints are excellent for wooden furniture or boxes of large sizes, and it will make them look elegant and far more professional.

However, if you’re looking for a dovetail jig to apply joints to smaller wooden projects, such as jewellery boxes, drawers, toy trunks, etc...then you might need a dovetail jig that can deal with smaller items. 

The Trend CDJ300 Craft Dovetail Jig is the best for getting little things done. Very easy and fast to use, it can cut joints on both hard and softwoods, or even sheet materials, with a thickness between 12 and 25 mm. It’s made from solid strong steel, for high performance and durability.

The wood is firmly secured with full-length clamps, which are the best fort that adds sturdiness. It cuts wide lapped half-blind and rebated dovetail joints, and also comes with templates for small lapped, box, and through dovetail joints. It has outstanding precision, making it ideal for those smaller pieces, and the cutting accuracy is very easy to achieve.

Overall, it’s a high-quality product that will help you cut dovetail joints very easily and for a long time, thanks to its durability. 

Pros:

  • Excellent for smaller items
  • Thickness between 12 and 25 mm
  • Full-length clamps
  • Half-blind, rebated, box, and through dovetail joints

Cons:

  • Focused on craft jobs - not as apt for bigger pieces

RUNNER UP

Silverline 633936 Dovetail Jig 300 mm Width...

The Silverline 633936 Dovetail Jig is one of the cheapest, most budget-friendly options, perfect for those wanting to use a dovetail jig occasionally for DIY projects and simple tasks.

It can handle pieces of wood with a thickness between 25mm to 32mm, which is enough for personal use and home-focused projects that don’t require a professional.

It has an automatic alignment feature, which is amazing for less experienced workers, as you will be able to get that precision and perfect cut without the risk of making it wonky.

It has a firm grip on the wood, to avoid it moving around, with sturdy full-length clamps to secure everything in place. It cuts both work wood pieces simultaneously and can cut both male and female dovetail joints. 

It isn’t as professional as other dovetail jigs, and it is far more limited in the results you can achieve, but it is an ideal option for those looking to do simpler projects, with a less regular need for making dovetail joints, as it has a good price value for beginners or for hobby use.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly option
  • Thickness between 25 to 32 mm
  • Full-length clamps
  • Cuts both male and female dovetail joints

Cons:

  • Less professional
  • Limited results

Best Dovetail Jigs Buying Guide

A dovetail jig is a great tool to have on hand when working with wood, as it will allow you to make dovetail joints and put together wooden furniture and objects really easily.

It is often said that dovetail joints are the sign of a good craftsman, as it looks a lot more elegant and sleek than screws or other joint mechanisms.

With a dovetail jig, not only are those dovetails super easy to achieve, you also have access to different templates for different types! 

However, as simple as it is to use, the complication might arise in trying to choose a dovetail jig that works well with your needs and preferences.

Especially because the market is full of many different options and choices. There are many factors to take into consideration, especially those directly relating to the type of results you might obtain, as you want to get the best possible outcome when using your dovetail jig.

To help you understand all the basics about dovetail jigs, and the different features you should look out for, we’ve summarized some information in this buyer’s guide for you.

Width and Thickness

For a dovetail jig to work, it needs to be able to accommodate the pieces of wood upon which you wish to cut the dovetail joints.

It’s important to check that the dovetail jig you’re looking at is able to hold the wood pieces you have in mind, which means checking the width and thickness. 

Most dovetail jigs accommodate a width of around 300mm, as it is a pretty standard measurement. The differences come with the thickness, as it tends to vary a lot more between different dovetail jigs, so it’s what you need to check first.

It’s up to your personal preference which thickness joint you want, just take into account that your wood pieces need to be able to fit in the jig.

Ease of use

Dovetail jigs are one of the easiest tools to use, and they offer a professional and advanced craftsmanship at a very accessible level of knowledge and experience, so they are well worth the investment.

However, even within dovetail jigs, the ease of use can vary. Even if you’re a professional or slightly more advanced, it’s always good to aim for the easiest possible to use, as it will also make the process faster. 

For this, you should check things such as how easy the jig is to set up, or whether it arrives fully assembled. During the process of cutting the joints, does it have any features? It’s good to look out for self-aligning jigs, so that you can ensure a more precise result. 

Quality

The quality of a dovetail jig refers to its construction and build, looking at its materials and its overall capabilities and results.

Look for dovetail jigs made out of sturdy materials, such as steel, to ensure a longer life-span, durability and resistance to wear and tear. 

As you’re buying the tool, it might as well last! It should be able to be used safely, and it should feature a clamp that is sturdy enough to hold the wooden pieces firmly in place when working on them, to avoid any sudden movements and misalignments that will ruin the entire process. 

It’s also good to check the customer reviews, as they will attest to the results the dovetail jig can provide. Keep in mind that some dovetail jigs are designed for professional and advanced use, while others are more suited to smaller crafts and hobby use. 

Templates it includes

There are many different types of dovetail joint cuts, and it is as simple as switching the template of your dovetail jig to choose on or the other.

Most dovetail jigs come with a pack of different templates for you to use, although there may be dovetail jigs that don’t come with many, so you should check to ensure you’re getting what you’re after.

Keep in mind which joints you’re wanting to use, and look for products that come with those templates included. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you make with a dovetail jig?

A dovetail jig can become an extremely multi-purpose and versatile tool, as it can be used to make a huge amount of different things.

Any type of construction or build made from wood that needs two timber blocks joined together, can be achieved through using a dovetail jig.

By cutting dovetail joints in the wood, you erase the need for screws or similar forms of joints, therefore making your wooden construct a lot more elegant and sleek.

From furniture pieces, to boxes, to drawers...it is an extremely versatile and useful tool to have in a woodworking environment. 

Do you glue dovetail joints?

If the dovetail joints are very tight, they won’t need any glue to hold them in place.

However, dovetail joints are using mechanical action to be held in place towards a single direction, so if pulled the wrong way they might come apart. 

In a fully assembled wooden construction, this shouldn’t happen as all the pieces end up holding each other in place.

As a general rule though, dovetail joints are glued together for a firmer hold and to ensure that they don’t come apart if pulled in the wrong direction.

It also adds that extra stability and security, for a more durable finish. 

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