I've been thinking about getting a dovetail jig large enough for blanket chests and I was directed to the Woodrat, which is more than a dovetail jig. It's a bit costly and apparently the learning curve is quite long but it's supposed to be a great thing once you get it figured out. Does anyone have experience with the Woodrat (or Little Rat)?
I have used both units. Watch out they have a price increase coming up and a deadine for current priceing. I personally prefer the little Rat not because it is less expensive but it is simpler to use and has one limitation....does only 7 degree DTs' - which I like best because they come closest to handcut.
The Rat methodology is pretty easy to comprehend once you do a joint or too (not "smoke", "do"). No great learning curve...no more so Leigh, Incra and like.
Now to the broader question "or dovetail jig." That depends on what you want to do. If blanket chests, I have used LittleRat, KatieJig; Incra and home made jig from Stotts Template Master.
All worked very well. If I were to do just one blanket chest design, I mght well go with the Stotts - it cost $60 or so and it is always ready to go. The KatieJig like the Leigh can do variable spaced DT's which is nice. The Incra JIg I find myself using a lot, particularly for small boxes and drawer...but it worked well for a 34" high blanket chest - I just did it 8" at a time.
I am afraid I have probably confused you with more of an answer than you were wanting. Getting the right jig depends on so many things. http://www.woodshopdemos.com/stots439.jpg
Using the Stots JIg
site page: http://www.woodshopdemos.com/stots4.htm
I am not familiar with the Woodrat? I have a 24"Leigh dovetail jig that I absolutly love. The manual, which is small, is easy to understand. The manual has easy to understand charts that tells you which bit and bushing guides to use. After using this jig for six years or so(not everyday mind you) I can go up to it and cut any joint half blind or through with little frustration. I have two of the charts posted up for easy reference.
I also have the tenoning atachment that is very cool.
I find that any manual is very important. The more clear and consise it is the less frustrated you will be.