8. MLCS 6406
For a relatively affordable choice that doesn’t compromise on quality, consider the MLCS 6406 (around $82), which is CNC machined and durably built to create strong and secure joints. A self-spacing edge guide helps ensure precise alignment of your materials.
- Includes a quarter-inch shank bit
- Takes a long time to set up
- Instructions are very confusing
7. General Tools 861 Pro
The self-aligning design of the General Tools 861 Pro (appx. $37) can greatly streamline the cutting process by ensuring that your two workpieces match up evenly every time. It also allows you to connect them as loosely or as tightly as needed.
- Compact size for easy portability
- Doesn’t have a protective clamp pad
- Can bend under heavy pressure
6. Leigh Super 12″
Meticulously designed to satisfy the professional woodworker, the Leigh Super 12″ (appx. $275) is an exceptional tool that will have you making smooth, beautiful furniture corners in no time at all. It includes a detailed user guide and a DVD that make it easy to get started.
- Sturdy one-piece fingers
- Can create decorative joints
- A collet adapter
5. Woodhaven 7660
The Woodhaven 7660 (appx. $203) is an extremely stable option that keeps your stock firmly in place as you work. Intended solely for half-blind joinery, it’s not as versatile as some other models, though it does allow you to produce consistent results.
- Oversized clamping knobs
- Made in the usa
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
4. Leigh D4R Pro
The Leigh D4R Pro (appx. $599) is well suited for commercial carpenters who need a precision tool that can stand up to daily use. It’s compatible with boards of up to 24 inches in width, and features a non-marring clamping surface that won’t damage your materials.
- Three carbide router bits
- Produces sturdy joints
- Manual is well illustrated
3. Keller Journeyman System 135-1500
The Keller Journeyman System 135-1500 (around $159) is suitable for home hobbyists or beginners undertaking small to mid-sized projects. This versatile choice allows for a wide range of cuts to produce classic, variable-spaced, compound-angled, and curved joints.
- Simple to operate
- Accepts wood of any width or length
- Minimizes wasted stock
2. Rockler Complete
The Rockler Complete (appx. $180) arrives with two templates and three 8mm shank carbide-tipped router bits for both big and small projects. Its strong clamping bars have an abrasive surface to help grip stock of all types and prevent slippage.
- Compatible with most routers
- Includes a quick-reference guide
- A good value for the price
1. Porter-Cable 4216 Super
Coming with several templates and accessories, the Porter-Cable 4216 Super (appx. $174) is a comprehensive offering that should cover all your needs. A gauge allows you to set bit depths according to your project, while the heavy-duty cam clamps provide a firm hold.
- Can also be used to make box joints
- Alignment lines for easy setup
- Durable machined aluminum build