The Gifkins Dovetail Jig hails from Australia, which explains why I had never heard of it before researching this article. I sure wish it were on my radar years ago. It makes through dovetailing exceptionally easy to do on the router table. The system is designed around a thick, one-piece phenolic bottom template that cuts pins on one side and tails on the other. An aluminum spine and pair of replaceable MDF backup boards provide good support over the template to hold workpieces vertically.
The template is engineered with the necessary pin/tail offset already calibrated. Two wraparound stops on top of the jig set your pin and tail board locations automatically. Once the stops are tightened, it’s ready to mill both joint parts. The jig is even helpfully labeled to clarify which side of the template does what and with which bit — a piloted straight and dovetail bit are supplied. Gifkins sells clamps and brackets to secure the boards, or use your own clamps.
The only fine-tuning required — a one-time job on this jig— adjusts the pin thickness. It’s a simple matter of adding shims behind the pin backup board.
Six dovetail templates are available to rout various pin sizes and spacings. The jig can also make box joints but not half blinds. A standard kit includes the jig, bits and an “A10” template that routs 10mm pins in stock up to 1/2″ thick. Other templates and cutters, available as upgrades, mill larger dovetails in stock up to 7/8″ thick. The jig is limited to boards around 12″ wide or less.
After I added a few of the included paper shims, this jig cut flawless dovetails. The clearly written manual made my learning curve easy. While $249 (in 2009) may seem like a lot to pay for one size and style of dovetails, Gifkins will have you cutting them almost effortlessly … and liking it!