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Keller Model 1601 Pro Series Dovetail Jig Expensive but Professional Template
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Keller 1601 Pro-Series Dovetail Jig Keller applies its classic dovetail jig design to the 1601 Pro-Series heavy duty templates for dovetails of any width.

Keller aluminum dovetail templates have been around since 1976, and now I know why. They’re practically bulletproof and are wonderfully straightforward to use. I was sent the Model 1601 template kit, which routs 7°, 7/16" dovetails, spaced 1-1⁄8" on-center, with a pair of Keller piloted dovetail and straight bits. Two hefty 1/2"-thick templates get that job done — one for pins and one for tails — on any width stock.

Getting the system up and running is quick: you mount each template to a block of wood that becomes a workpiece clamping surface. Only the pin template requires initial adjustment, and that happens by sliding it back and forth on two slotted screw holes, making a few test cuts and fastening it permanently with heavy screws.

Registering pin board for joint alignment To register the pin board for joint alignment, just hold the boards together and mark the tail lines, then it is ready to cut.

I followed the manual’s recommendations for initial template setback on the blocks. To my surprise, the pin size was spot on: my first test joint was a pleasing slip fit, ready for glue and clamps.

The process for making a joint involves routing the tail board first on either your router table or with a handheld machine. Then you use the tail board as a pattern to knife a single tail location onto the pin board. No calculations or difficulty to it. Clamp the pin template to these lines, and rout the pins. Careful knife lines will ensure dead-even board edges when you’re done.

Cutting clean dovetails with Keller jig The author's first cut was almost immediately ready for glue up, the kind of accuracy you expect from a company with 30 years of professional experience.

Keller Pro templates come in three sizes. While they’re meant for fixed-space joints, you can vary the pattern by shifting the template during routing. A $269 (2009) price tag may seem high for a jig that only cuts through dovetails. (A lower-priced “Journeyman” series is also available.) Still, these Pro templates carry 20-year warranties and should take a lifetime of hard use.

posted on December 1, 2009 by Chris Marshall
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