August 12, 2022

Leigh D4R Variable Dovetail Jig Review

Leigh D4R Dovetail Jig Ratings   Click here to view on Amazonclick here to view on Amazon

Leigh D4R Dovetail JigThe Leigh D4R Dovetail Jig is the ultimate variable finger dovetail jig, made by the people who invented variable finger jigs. The infinitely adjustable fingers mean that you can let your creativity run free and design unique variably sized and spaced joints with 100% accuracy. If you want to take your dovetail skills to the next level, the Leigh D4R is the jig that will make it happen. You will be amazed at what you can achieve with this dovetail jig.

Should you consider buying a variable finger Dovetail Jig?
There’s no doubt that buying a variable finger dovetail jig like the Leigh D4R is a serious investment, costing more than double the price of a fixed finger jig, and so you need to be sure that you need the added flexibility that variable spaced fingers gives you. In this Leigh D4R Dovetail Jig Review we will look at all the important standard features that all quality dovetail jigs should have first, and then we’ll look at the benefits of variable spaced fingers.

Durable construction of jig body and side stops ensure precise joint alignment
The base of the Leigh D4R is a rugged one-piece aluminum extrusion (CNC machined on top and front). The sidestops, against which all boards are placed, are machined right from the jig body ensuring precise joint alignment every time. The top sidestops are also undercut to allow easy routing of rabbeted drawer fronts without the need to offset the matching tail board. The D4R will handle boards up to 24″ wide and 1-1/4” thick.

The ultimate variable finger dovetail jig, made by the people who invented variable finger jigs. A serious tool for people who are passionate about their woodworking 😀

Cam-action speed clamps work quickly to secure boards safely
Two clamp bars hold work pieces horizontally or vertically in place against the machined non-slip textured clamping surface, and the quick-acting cams operate with levers to easily secure and release the clamps during operation, so you don’t have to worry about the stock slipping in the middle of a cut.

Easy to assemble and operate
With a detailed instructional manual that supplies illustrated step-by-step instructions for assembly and operation, the D4R is easy to set up and use. A 50-minute instructional DVD is also helpful if you want to see the Jig in action. Bear in mind that it will take longer to set up than fixed finger jigs but that’s the price you pay for the increased versatility. The D4R can be used with almost any router, and the included Leigh e7 template guide bush helps guide the bit through the wood without touching the guide bush or the guide surface. The finger assembly is removable and flips to change from through to half-blind mode; this reversing action automatically positions the scale correctly. In addition the easy-to-read, calibrated scale at each end of the finger assembly helps you align the work piece so that it remains parallel to the fingers.

Half-blind dovetail and box-joint spacers increase efficiency
The D4R features two new spacers that allow you to cut half-blind dovetail joints with a single pass, and finger/box joints with accuracy and precision. With the use of a dual-function spacer that creates the ideal spacing between the fingers, the correct offset on the tail board, and limits the distance the router can travel, you can quickly cut half-blind dovetail, box, or finger joints that fit together perfectly.

Leigh D4R Dovetail JigSo, what are the benefits of variable finger spacing:
There are two main benefits to variable spacing

  • Variable spaced pins and tails give a hand-cut appearance and allow you to design customized, beautiful joints
  • Make your joint match your stock – with a fixed finger jig you will have to make your stock match the incremental pitch of the template because all dovetail joints should begin and end with a half pin.

Customize Your Work
A lot of people think that the evenly-spaced pins and tails produced by a fixed finger template give your work a machine-cut look. By varying the size and space between the pins and tails you get a classic hand-cut look. The Leigh D4R allows you to arrange your dovetail pattern as if you were going to cut the joints by hand. You design the layout first and then set the jig to fit the work. Using the included guide finger screwdriver, you can adjust the fingers to match the layout that you designed. After you set the spacing and cut the tails, you simply flip the finger assembly around with no further adjustment and you will have the correct spacing for the pins.

Match the joint to the stock
It makes far more sense to be able to match the joint to fit the stock rather than the other way round. All dovetail joints should begin and end with a half pin – the joint will still work if you don’t do this but it will look awful. With a fixed finger jig you have to work to the finger spacing to achieve this, which may not be a problem of course in most cases – you just don’t have the option to make that last little adjustment…

What’s in the box?
The last thing you want to do after you unbox your brand new dovetail jig is to go hunting for equipment that should have been included. The jig includes everything you need to cut infinitely variable through, half-blind, rabbeted half-blind and sliding dovetail joints. You just need to add the router and you’re all set!

  • Leigh D4R Dovetail Jig
  • Two dovetail bits, one straight bit
  • One collet reducer, 5/64″ hex key, e7 template guide bush, square-head guide finger screwdriver, Leigh wrench/gauge
  • Four cam-action speed clamps
  • Nylon stop rod, single pass spacer, box-joint spacer, half-blind bridge-piece material
  • Sliding dovetail fence
  • Fully illustrated user guide, instructional DVD

Leigh D4R guide fingersWhat kind of warranty is there?
Leigh Industries provides a five year limited warranty.

Optional templates for additional joinery options
The versatility of the joints that you can make is increased by five optional templates that expand the D4R’s capabilities to include finger joints, Isoloc joints, and multiple mortise and tenon joints.

How much should you expect to pay for the Leigh D4R?
There’s no denying this is an expensive piece of kit and there aren’t any huge discounts around. One thing we did notice was that people are so impressed with the quality and features of the jig that hardly anyone even mentions the price.

Click here to view on Amazonclick here to view on Amazon

Leigh D4R features at a glance:

  • Infinitely adjustable guide fingers to customize your work
  • Single-pass half-blind dovetails
  • Cut half-blind-, through-, and sliding dovetails, or finger and box joints right out of the box
  • Non-slip clamping surface and cam-action speed clamps for securing boards
  • Rugged construction with machined side stops ensures precise joint alignment every time
  • Five optional templates expand the D4R’s capabilities to include finger joints, Isoloc joints, and multiple mortise and tenon joints

What are other people saying?
This dovetail jig has received incredible reviews from users all around the web 😀

  • “An exceptional product – great workmanship – quality is unsurpassed”
  • “My Leigh D4R is by far the best jig I’ve ever used”
  • “I’m glad I upgraded, and I wonder how I went this long without it!”
  • “I am VERY impressed with this product and excited about all the possibilities”
  • “If you see yourself being serious about woodworking, get this jig, you won’t be sorry”

Any complaints?
We couldn’t find any complaints for this dovetail jig on consumer sites around the internet. If there is anything that users point out, it’s that it does require a little time to get it set up but the instruction DVD and manual are put together so well it makes it so easy – and once it is set up the results are amazing!

If you don’t need the flexibility of variable guide fingers then you will save a lot of money by buying a top of the range fixed finger jig like the Porter Cable 4212

The video below shows some of the amazing joints possible with the Leigh D4R


Click here to view on Amazon