What jig can you make that can do Dados, include stop dados, Rabbets, Fluting, Edging, and even Wainscoting? Yes, this jig can do all this and even more. It's easy to make and can be made a long or as short as you need from cut-off plywood or smaller pre-cut pieces from the lumber store and the only hardware needed is "T Bolts" and some wing nuts to go on them ...
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/5o5tubTr-BA
For this build, I started off with the "stop and start" blocks because, from them, the rest of the jig will come together naturally and will depend on the size and base of your hand router as to what size you want to make the jig.
I made mine 5 inches square to start off with as this was the size that most suited both sizes of wood routers I own. The first thing I did was to mark off the curve of the stop blocks as they will sit in the base of the jig. I do this so that I know where to cut the slots, which will be the next thing to do. The slot for the "T-bolts" to go through, and I always do these kinds of cuts first because it is easier and safer to hang on to larger pieces of wood than smaller ones.
A word about the T-bolts. I found the pair I purchased to be a bit more "oval" than I liked, I wanted the sides to be a bit flatter so I round the 2 opposing sides of the T-bolt so they were somewhat flatter. The bolts you select might be fine right out of the package but examine before you start drilling holes and making recesses just make sure they will work for you the way you need.
I set my router table up with a 1/4 Spiral cutter and set my stop and start blocks on the router table so that the slot would be an exact length the piece of wood I am cutting is "trapped" between the blocks and the fence, so it's actually a pretty safe cut to make.
The slot I was making was slightly larger than the 1/3 bit I was using, and I don't have another bit suitable so I will need to make to passes on each slot to make it the proper width.
There are 2 ways to make this kind of a double pass, one way is to shim the wood you are cutting with a thin piece wood, or in my case, a thin piece of plastic ... then remove that plastic and make another pass at cutting slot, which now makes it slightly wider. The second way of making these cuts is to physically move the fence, and you do not have to move the whole fence, you only need to move one side or the other of the fence in order to make the bit slightly closer or further from the router bit, then make you cut. The reason I like using the shim version is that if it's convenient and safe, I have found it to be a bit more consistent ... but that's me ... others might find moving the fence works better for them. Either way works fine.
Once the slots were cut in the stop blocks, I took both of them to the bandsaw and cut the curves of that I earlier marked on the stop blocks. Of course, the curves don't serve and particularly useful function except to look nice and there is no reason why they couldn't remain square, be triangular or even hand-cut, the main point is that they want to be 90 degrees between the face and the part that rides against the jig's fence.
Cutting the Base Parts
The base of this jig can be whatever works best for the equipment you have and the chores in you have in mind for the jig. It can be any width and any length. I decided to cut the fence part of my jig at 2 inches. I then used this as a guideline to figure out what the width of the base part of the jig would be. In my case, with my routers, I decided to make mine 7-7/8 inches wide ... and as I said, length can be whatever you want.
In order for the stop blocks to be infinitely variable, I needed to drill a series of holes, about 3 inches apart all along the length of the jig. I first figure out where the center of the jig would be - end to end, then worked backward to see where to drill the holes and used the stop blocks I just made to ensure the holes were all along the same plane and large enough to accommodate the T-bolts.
I cut the through holes first and set up my drill press using my adjustable fence at the appropriate distance, then marked off where each hole needed to be drilled.
After the through-holes were drilled, I needed to cut a small recess for the T-bolt heads to fit into. This will make sure I can tighten and loosen the T-bolts while they are in the jig without fear of them coming loose. You can see the oval recess and the through holes in the picture below.
I used a small Forstner bit to make the oval recesses and small recess on either side of the through-hole is all it takes. If the recess is a bit long, it doesn't matter, what does matter is that the sides of the T-bolt fit fairly snug.
Building the Jig Base
Now that I have all the holes drilled, I needed glue, what is essentially the "fence" to the base of the jig and this distance needs to be whatever that distance is on your stop blocks, and that is why I constructed them first, because now they become a measuring tool to help position the distance of the fence.
I installed one-stop block in each end of the jig, then marked a line where I wanted to spread glue on the base of the jig. You won't need a ton of glue here because there will not be a lot of pressure and it will be linear pressure. There is probably no reason why you couldn't use screws or ever nuts and bolts for this, but I selected glue because I wanted the 2 glued surfaces to act even more as laminated wood, and remain straight and flat forever for me.
After the glue was spread and the fence positioned, I used my 23 gauge pinner to secure the fence to base and waited for the glue to dry.
I tested this jig with a couple of different router bits just to see how it worked. In both cases, I secured both the jig and the wood I was cutting to the top of my workbench edge using clamps, and checked to make sure it was secure.
Next, I set the depth of the cut, and remember, your wood router base is also on another platform so when setting that height, you will need to take into account that extra layer between the base of your router and the wood you are cutting.
Both my cuts when extremely smoothly, both the shallow and the deep stop dados were straight and even ... just what I was hoping for.
... And now another jig to add to my suite of very usable wood router jigs. What I like about this jig is that it's easy and accurate and the fact that I now have it will help me in my decision making when doing future builds because I now have another woodworking tool at the ready ..
Copyright Colin Knecht