jimrutherford.com 1990-2016
Home Improvement:
Kitchen Electrical and Lighting The Computer Modeling Basement

Leigh Jig

Theres really nothing else as stout, configurable, and accurate as the Leigh jig.  I snagged one of the last D1600s for sale after it was discontinued.  This photo is from the leighjigs.com site. One of the cool things about the Leigh jig is that it has available templates that make a strong interlocking joint that appear way more contemporary and organic. 

Contemporary Isoloc


They are called “Isoloc” joints.  Check out the Leigh page on these joints to see the crazy patterns that they can make.  We used “Bears Ears” for the front drawer joints and variable pitched dovetails for the rear.  The picture above is one of our actual drawers
This is another picture from the Leigh jig site, but the pattern is the same Bears Ears that we used in the kitchen.  the piece of wood in the jig would be a drawer front or back.  the routing here is like routing dovetail “pins”

Dovetailed Drawers

Yet another tool to buy!

If you are even thinking about building your own cabinets, get this book.  Robert Lang’s Complete Kitchen Cabinet Maker is the reference.  Don’t start buying any tools or wood until you’ve read the whole thing.  It’ll save you so much!
This shows routing the analog to the dovetail “tails”, which would be used as the drawer sides.  Can you picture flipping this over itself and onto the board in the previous picture?
Never pose while routing! 
More drawer parts waiting for assembly
Parts are glued and clamped into a right-angle jig to ensure that they wind up properly aligned before sanding and finish.
...or drink beer!  Fully milled parts like these come our incredibly fast with the jig once you get into the production hang of it. 
Lots  of drawers in very little time.  I left out the boring steps of cutting a groove to receive the drawer bottom plywood and also the preparation of the back piece which is milled to allow the draw bottom to slide in from the rear.
Here’s a drawer in the island.  Note the complete lack of visible slides and also the full extension of the drawer to the face of the cabinet.  Thank you Blum Tandem slides with soft-close motion (Blumotion). I’m sure I’ll cover this on another page, but we set up a temporary kitchen by building the future kitchen island in our basement and powering it temporarily.  Since it had an induction cooktop and there was already a wet bar, we had no lack of cooking capability.
Making drawers yourself lets you plan exactly which wood will go into the drawer and of course it’s a chance to show off your woodworking skills.  Real woodworkers cut their dovetails by hand, but with at least 23 drawers to build (27 was the final number), I opted to use a jig.  Even when you buy high-end cabinet with dovetailed drawers, chances are that the minimal wood used will have joints in it.  Doing it yourself means that you can plan a single board to map to a single drawer with no joints running down the sides.  Also, you can create attractive variable spaced dovetails or something crazy like these....