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December 11, 2017

Porter Cable Omnijig Dovetail Jig Review

Porter Cable Omnijig Ratings  Click here to view on Amazonclick here to view on Amazon

Porter Cable Omnijig

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The Porter Cable Omnijig is Porter Cable’s flagship variable guide finger dovetail jig. Like its main rival, the Leigh D4R, the Porter Cable Omnijig gives you maximum versaltility and the ability to cut all types of dovetail joints, and has a number of time-saving features unique to Porter Cable to make it earier than ever, such as their patented router bit depth gauge and template positioning stops. The main advantage of the omnijig over the other jigs in the Porter Cable range is the variable guide fingers which let you customize your work and produce variably spaced joints, giving more of a hand-cut look.

Should you consider buying a variable finger Dovetail Jig?
All jigs in this price bracket can produce a tight-fitting and accurate dovetail joint. The factors that differentiate them are the diversity of joints they can create, the width of workpieces they can handle, and the setup and adjustment time they require. The best jigs offer a good balance between versatility and learning curve, and with a variable finger jig like the Porter Cable Omnijig this becomes even more important – there’s no point having time saving features if it takes twice as long to set up.

There’s no doubt that buying a variable finger dovetail jig like the Porter cable Omnijig or 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 Porter Cable Omnijig 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.

The Porter Cable Omnijig allows you to arrange your dovetail pattern as if you were going to cut the joints by hand and fit the jig to the stock, not the other way round 😀

Easy to use adjustment features – does the jig make adjustments easy?
The Porter Cable Omnijig has patented alignment lines and intuitive router bit depth stop which allow for quick, easy set-up. The tightness of your dovetail joint is controlled by adjusting the depth of the router bit and the Porter Cable Omnijig’s patented router bit depth gauges allows you to quickly and accurately set the depth without taking measurements. In addition the Omnijig has on-board instructions which provide clear guidance and mean you won’t have to hunt for the instructions when setting up for the most common cuts. When you do need it, the manual is well written and the instructions are easy to follow and precise.

Ready to use – does the jig come with everything you need to get started?
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 Omnijig comes fully assembled and includes two carbide-tipped bits, seven template guides, a square screwdriver, wrench and a user guide. The durable, single-piece steel base design requires no assembly and allows for clamping or bolting directly to the work bench so you can be up and running in no time.

The Omnijig also has a couple of extra features to increase the ease of setup and use – their patented router bit depth gauge which allows you to set the bit depth without measuring, and their “Set & Forget” template positioning stops. The stops are pre-set at the factory (although they can be adjusted) and ensure that the various different templates used for the different type of joint are located correctly on the jig, resulting in fast and repeatable setup.

Omnijig Router Bit Depth GaugesReliability – does the jig keep stock where it needs to be?
When you’re working on a project, workpieces need to be clamped and unclamped frequently, so it’s critical that they are easy to set in the correct position, and that they stay there. If there’s one thing that can wreck an afternoon in the workshop, it’s having to chuck a few expensive pieces of wood into the scrap bin because your jig let them slip in the middle of a cut. Dovetail jig components that hold stock in place during the cut need to be sturdy and reliable and the Omnijig has machined, textured clamping surfaces to provide excellent grip on wood stock from 1/4″ to 1-1/8″ thick, as well as a single-hand clamping system which allows for easy positioning of the wood on the jig.

How much should you expect to pay?

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So, 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.

Porter Cable Omnijig Variable FingersCustomize 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 Porter Cable Omnijig 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 kit includes everything you need to cut through, half-blind, rabbeted half-blind and sliding dovetail joints and box joints. You just need to add a router and you’re all set!

  • Easy-to-mount, heavy-duty steel base
  • 24″ Variable Finger Template (77241)
  • Left and Right Template Stops and Template Guides – G0, G1, G2, G3, G4, G5 & G6
  • Router Bit Depth Gauge
  • Dovetail bit and straight bit
  • Square Screwdriver, Wrench, 2 O-Rings
  • Dovetail Set-Up Guide and instructional DVD featuring Norm Abram

What are other people saying?
This dovetail jig has received some excellent reviews, particularly regarding the ease of use 😀

  • “This is Awesome!”
  • “Fantastic and easy to use”
  • “Provides bullet-proof, perfect half-blind dovetails every time”
  • “I am really happy with it and can’t see needing another DT jig”

Porter Cable Omnijig Variable Finger Template

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What kind of warranty is there?
All Porter Cable dovetail jigs come with an excellent warranty package which includes a ninety-day money back guarantee plus a 3 year limited warranty and 1 year free service contract.

This is an expensive item and you need to know that it’s right for you, but with the 90 day money back guarantee you really can’t go wrong.