Jigs in woodworking can help us accomplish a lot of different things but some jigs can be improved upon, but the improvements aren't alway obvious unless you have used the jig for a time and I am going to tackle 2 of those jigs in this episode.
Drill Press Magswitch Fence Modification
The first and one of the handiest jigs I have is the Magswitch fence for my drill press. This is easily the best fence system I have ever made for my drill press, it's quick, easy and not complicated and can be taken of in a heart beat. I can't say enough about this jig.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/4krLJWELogQ
The first version of this jig works well, but I didn't think about one thing, and that was that I really like to use a 3/4 inch thick backer board on my drill press which in this case also happens to be the height of the magswich fence so doesn't work the way it could. I like to use the 3/4 inch backer board to help prevent the drill bits from bumping into the metal base and making them duller quicker, and because using a backer board helps to reduce tear-out on boards being drill ... well, sometimes it does ...
The main reason I like, and use, the magswitch fence is because it helps to save my fingers when wood twists when I am using the drill press. The nice thing with having a fence is that when the drill bit grabs the wood, the fence holds it in place rather than twisting it, that's why it's often necessary to clamp some pieces when drilling holes, especially thicker pieces of wood or metal, because the drill press can grab these and if you are trying to hold these pieces with your fingers, they can often twist right our and injure you.
All I need to do is make another backer board with an integrated fence ... which is what I did. I measured where I wanted the magswitches to be and made sure I had some extra room so that after I drilled the holes, there would still be sufficient all around the switchers to hold them in place.
After drilling the holes, it was a simple matter of attaching fence, I pre-drilled 3 holes and drove screws in from underneath the jig base ... that's it the jig is done. I have already got a lot of use from the first version, this one will be even more useful ... can't wait to put it into production.
Table Saw Angle Cutter Jig Modification
Next on my list is the table saw angle cutter. This one is overdue for a modification. I would have used this a lot more than I have but currently, the only way of cross-cutting with this is to use the back upright as the fence and it's not really designed for that, nor has it ever been checked for accuracy.
The purpose of this jig is to make angle cuts quickly and accurately without having to change the angle of the table saw blade. Some saws are very difficult to adjust table saw angles, and almost every saw, it is a tedious job, for often one or 2 cuts, then it needs to be cranked back and re-setup to be exactly 90 degrees to the table. It's a pain, and that's why this jig is so handy, you can put it on the saw in seconds and be ready to cut in no time at all. When done, you take the jig off and the saw is already set up ready to go.
This is a relatively easy fix for this jig, but it still needs to be installed accurately, that is, the fence needs to be 90 degrees from the miter slots in the table saw top.
The first thing I did was select a good quality piece of 3/4 inch plywood that I could use to make the fence from. I cut this wood at 1-1/2 inches wide and 9 inches long to fit the top of my angle cutter jig.
Next, I fastened down one side of the fence, the bottom, only because it was easier for me to align the top of the fence with that carpenters square and the miter gauge, then drill the final screw into the to of that plywood fence.
Next, I took a few moments to find a wider piece of scrap wood to check to see if the cut was accurate. It's important to use a wider board to check for accuracy because any skewing in the cut will be more magnified in the wider board so it's easier to see if it lines up.
I love fine tuning jigs because I know when I do this I am getting use from them and making them even better for their intended use.
Copyright Colin Knecht
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