DC16 Dovetail Jig - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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DC16 Dovetail Jig

Akeda - DC16 Dovetail Jig

Akeda’s box-like dovetail jig design offers good router support, an accessory port, and good dust collection.

$350 (450 as tested with Router Bits) (As of 10/15/2006)

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Editor's Review: Tool Test: Dovetail Jigs

by Tim Albers

review date: October 15, 2006

The Akeda jig truly is a new approach to cutting dovetail joints—and a successful one. If it were 24 in. wide, it would give the Leigh D4R tough competition for the best-overall award.

The Akeda comes completely assembled, and setup is a snap. The jig is calibrated at the factory and no adjustments are needed. Within 30 minutes I had read through the excellent instructions and made a precise, finished joint with variable spacing.

The Akeda’s uniqueness comes from its boxlike design, which employs movable guide fingers that snap into a guide rail at 1/8-in. increments. The tails are cut first; then the tail fingers are replaced by tapered pin fingers. The clamping bars are simple and fast to adjust—one of the best designs of any jig. They require only one knob, with an internal gear system keeping pressure even.

The Akeda bits are not a standard size, so I’d keep a few extras on hand in case one breaks.


The usual knock against router dovetail jigs is that speed and convenience are illusory, and that good woodworkers can hand-cut the joints in less time than it takes to adjust the fences, the stops and the depth settings associated with a jig. This point is probably closest to the mark when it comes to machining variably spaced dovetails. Jigs for such work are notorious for their mechanical complexity. But a new jig on the market, the Akeda DC-16V, takes much of the hair-pulling out of dovetailing with a router.

The Akeda deploys its finger templates in an ingenious way. Instead of sliding along a bar and locking with a setscrew, each guide’s pair of integral cogs meshes with corresponding slots in the jig’s back rail. The guides can be located and locked in place with ease and precision—either the cogs engage the slots or they don’t. Penciled reference marks, transferred to the back rail from embossed centerlines in the fingers, make accurate changeovers from tail guides to pin guides a snap.

On the downside, the dovetails can be spaced in increments of only 1/8 in. But, as I see it, the simplicity of this jig and the shorter set-up times that result make the spacing limitation acceptable.

When the dust had cleared, though, the Akeda had reliably produced dovetails that needed the barest of hand taps to send home, joints whose tails and pins typically measured within a tolerance of 0.005 in.

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Editor Test Results:

Instructions Excellent
Learning Curve Easy
Ease of Setup Very Good
Ease of Use Very Good

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Akeda
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number
Thickness Capacity 1/4 in. to 1 in. (pin board max: 3/4 in.)
Width Capacity 16 in.
Variable Spacing Yes
Templates Included VT, VHB, S
Accessories Available Router Bits, Dust Port, Various-Sized Fingers

The Akeda dovetail jig is a pleasure to use. With the dust collector attached, there is no visible mess at all. This is the only dovetail jig that doesn't require any template adjustment for a perfect fit. All of my dovetails press together with just the right amount of hand pressure. The fit and finish of the joints it produces are second to none. For through dovetails, I can make a good fitting joint on the first try (no test cuts needed). For half blind dovetails, the fit is controlled by the bit depth so it's a good idea to make a test cut. I made a setup block for the exact depth of cut required, which makes things even easier. I have other brands of dovetail jigs at my disposal, but the Akeda is the one I use.

I have used several DVT jigs in my time, as well as hand-cut Dovetails. This is the fastest, easiest, and best one that I have used. A minor issue: Leigh Jigs can give interesting spacing of the DVT in any configuration. Akeda can only do this in 1/8" intervals. This really did not bother me in the least. The Manual is great, and easy to read and understand. The Web site is also very informative. And the new Jigshop.com site is helpful with parts. It also removes most of the sawdust while routing with its accessory kit. All in all, I have quit looking for the ultimate jig for my use.

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