Jigs and woodworking are synonymous. There are many reasons for woodworkers to make jigs. Sometimes they are made for a single cut or single use, sometimes they are used to make multiple numbers of something and other times they are made to help improve safety. Whatever the reason, jig making is a part of woodworking. They can simple or complex but are often made from bits and pieces of wood found around the workshop that would otherwise end up as firewood.
I always seem to be making one sort of jig or another, the biggest problem I have is after I store them for a few months (or years) I forget what I had them for. What's worse, I have been known (on a few occasions) to make a new jig, when I already had one but forgot I had it.
I have a few jigs that I use all-the-time, like the ones featured here.
The first, is the center finder. I always seem to be cutting wood in half. I purchase a lot of rough cut lumber that is quite wide and often needs to be cut in half to run through the jointer and planer. I also find that I am often ripping thicker boards in half and all of this means finding an accurate center.
There are a few ways of finding centers on boards but I find the quickest and easiest is this simple design center finder jig. I have them in different sizes but find that the biggest and the smallest are the ones I use the most.
The next jig that gets the most use in my shop is about as simple as it gets, sand paper contact glued to flat substrate such as a small MDF board. It's so quick to use to take the edge of something, flatten something or just take the edge of newly cut dowel.
Assembling projects like boxes, picture frames, doors, small cabinets ... almost anything square is quick and easy with this squaring jig. I made it so that the sides were slightly lifted off the base so that any sawdust that might find it's way on one of the arms, would not impede the accurate assembly of the project. It also makes it easy to clean out any sawdust too. This is another very popular jig in my shop that gets a LOT of use.
... And speaking of making picture frames and small boxes, very often they are assembled with 45 degree corners. This means that when gluing edges it's edge grain to edge grain which doesn't glue all that well, or at least does not allow the glue to hold as good as gluing long grain to long grain. What I do to ensure these edges are nice and strong is to use splines cut diagonally into the edges corners of the frame of box. I often do this in contrasting woods to make it look nice, but more than that ... to make the sides much, much stronger. The spline cutting jig for this is, like the other jigs, pretty easy to make and makes cutting splines a breeze.
Making jigs is good practice in woodworking. In most cases, making jigs means you need to be extra careful in your accuracy so that the jig will not be the cause of projects that don't line up properly and will give years of quick, easy use and help make your woodworking fun and rewarding ...
Copyright - Colin Knecht