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In woodworking, the making of jigs is a necessary element to help us work safer, quicker and more effectively. For some time I have been using the Dowelmax doweling jig and it has opened up a whole new world of woodworking for me because I can make things quicker, more accurate and just as strong as using mortise and tenon joints. One of the issues I face on rare occasion is that the dowels I need to use are sometimes too long, which means I either have to re-drill holes, or cut the dowels slightly shorter. I hate re-drilling holes if I can avoid it because sometimes it can make the holes a bit looser than I like. I prefer the dowels to fit tightly in the holes to give me a better fit and to ensure I get an excellent glue contact. So ... the next issue is cutting dowels. I seldom have to tim more that about a dozen or so, but even that can take a while and cutting them by hand as I have been doing means they are often slightly different lenghts. I have been thinking about some sort of consistent dowel cutting device for some time and I finally came up with an idea that I like.
It is MUCH quicker than cutting the dowels by hand and each dowel is cut to the exact length and even better, it only takes a minute or so to set the jig up, which mean I will use it more often and get better results.
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For most of us who work alone in our workshops, having another set of hands to help hold things would be a pleasant addition. A short time ago I saw a picture of something called an assebly jig, then I looked for more and found all sorts of different versions and most of them looked like a great thing to have in the workshop to help hold projects when you need to work on them and you already have both hands busy.
I alwasy like to try and make jigs that can be worked in more than just one configuration and this version is no exception. I decided that a jig that could work standing up and on it's side would be ideal for almost any occassion, so rather than put a side on the jig, I left it open, knowing that if I needed to make the base more stable, I could easily add a piece to do that at any time, and remove it quickly and easily if needed.
The first thing to find was the lumber and I have lots of scraps around that are perfect for this. I used 1/2" baltic birch for the base and for the uprights. It's very stable and nice to work with. There really isn't too much to say about the cutting and the assebly that it's pretty straight forward in the video and the project is a simple one to make. I think I took me about 4 hours and much of that time was setting up machines and routers to make sure I had perfect corners, edges and that the slot I was cutting for the center would fit the T-Bolts snugly. I'm looking forward to using this little jig in the future ... it should make woodworking much easier going forward.
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When I look around at the jigs I have been amassing it's a bit frightening. So much so that I recently discovered that I have made 2 jigs that do exactly the same thing. One of them I made about 15 - 20 years ago, and for the life of me, I do not know where it went for most of it's life and I needed the same functionality about a year ago, so made that same jig again and soon after found the original ...
Maybe if I had made a dual purpose jig back then ... a jig that did more than one job I might got a bit more use from it and maybe used it a few time over the years instead of squirrliling it away in my wood storage room where is eventually got forgotten about. Well, time to make another jig, this time a dual purpose, and maybe I can even get it to do more?? Wouldn't that be nice, a multi purpose jig ... I must work on trying to make more of my jig do more kinds of things.
This router jig for cutting dados is something I have been meaning to make for a long time. I often need to cut one or two quick dados and setting up my dado blade on my table saw, making test cuts etc. Is a lot of time for what should be a short process. The other thing that I need that is along the same vein is a jig that I can use to cut slots ... in even more jigs I want to make, so why not make a jig that does both?
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I don't seem to need to cut circles very often, but when I do, I often resort to drawing them out on the wood I am cutting then cutting them out by hand with my Jigsaw. This method is ok, but the jigsaw always leaves a rough edge that is uneven, so after cutting I usually spend as much (or more) time cleaning up the cut with my belt sander. For one-ups, this is ok, but I know there are better ways ... like using my router and the circle jig I made for that quite some time ago, but there is still another way, using the bandsaw, and that's what I am doing today.
As we all do, I checked out the Internet to see what was available and there are a number of designs and all that I could find were designs that made fixed sizes. What if I want a circle made that is between those sizes? I need a variable distance circle jig, and that's what I made.
I decided the best way to make a variable jig was to create a sliding center, which means 2 pieces of wood, fastened together in a manner that lets the slide move uninhibited.