August 12, 2022

Keller 1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig Review

Keller 1500 Journeyman Ratings Click here to view on Amazonclick here to view on Amazon

Keller 1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig
The Keller 1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig is a simple and versatile 15-inch precision-milled clamp-on template dovetail system. Unlike bench mounted dovetail jigs, all Keller Dovetail System jigs are mounted on shopmade backer boards, which allows for an extremely versatile setup.

Although the Keller 1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig is aimed primarily at beginning woodworkers who want to cut through dovetail joints in drawers, cabinets, midsized furniture and smaller boxes, its simplicity and accuracy mean that a lot of experienced woodworkers buy them too.

All the jigs in the Keller Dovetail System are extremely easy to set up and use, and have the added advantage that there is no limit to the length or width of stock that you can use them with. For boards that are longer than the 15-inch template you simply slide the template along the workpiece.

Easy to Setup & Use
Since there are no adjustments to make, the setup is quick and easy. All you need to do is mount the template on a backing board. Mounting holes in the template allow the user to screw the template to the backing board (a block of wood 2¼ x 3½ x 18 inches – not supplied).  The workpiece is clamped vertically in a vise and the backing board is clamped to the workpiece with the template fingers projecting over the edge. With this model, there is only one template which has back-to-back routing slots. You use the straight slots to cut the tails and the flared slots to cut the pins. In addition to making it really easy to clamp the stock to the template, the backing board also prevents tear-out as the bit passes through the workpiece.

The system makes through-dovetails with virtually “no measuring, no off-sets, no test cuts, no messing around” says inventor, David Keller 😀

There are two main reasons for the simplicity and accuracy of this system

  1. The fingers on the pin template exactly align with the scribed imprints of the dovetail sockets.
  2. The system does not rely on the use of guide bushes (which is one source of inaccuracy) – instead there are ball-bearing guides on the cutters themselves. This means there is no offset to allow for because the ball-bearing guide on the straight bit is exactly the same diameter as the bit itself, so, according to the inventor of the system, David Keller, “What you see is what you get” when you cut the pins.

No Workpiece Size Restrictions
With bench mounted dovetail jigs the size of the workpiece is limited by the size of the jig body which is a maximum of 24″. With the Keller Dovetail System there is no limit to the size of stock that you can use. If the stock is longer or wider than the length of the template all you have to do is cut the first set, slide the template along the workpiece and cut the next set.

Quality Made in the USA for 35 Years
For 35 years, the Keller Dovetail System — the first through dovetail router jigs ever patented or manufactured — has set the standard for simplicity, speed and accuracy. The template and router bits are precision machined from the highest quality components and, what’s more, it’s still made in the USA, and Keller really seem to care about quality, as even the packaging and enclosed literature are really well put together.

How much should you expect to pay?

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What’s included?
Phenolic guide, standard dovetail bit, straight bit, ball-bearing template guides, and fully illustrated instructions.

Keller 1500 Journeyman User Reviews

The reviews are pretty unanimous in their praise of thei jig 😀 – users love the simplicity, accuracy and value for money.

  • “This is a VERY simple-to-use, quick, straightforward, but very accurate, too”
  • “Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best”
  • “Want a simple to use, reliable, accurate tool to do so, buy the Keller. Worth every dime… “
  • “Precision Dovetails made too dang easy”
  • “Really easy and tight dovetails”

Any downsides?
Nothing that we could find, everyone is really blown away by this dovetail system, including really experienced woodworkers.

Keller 135-1500 Journeyman Dovetail Jig


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