Multi-Task Jigs

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Blog entry by Sir_Robert posted 04-13-2008 06:07 PM 1377 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Woodworking magazines are full of jigs for routers, tablesaws and drill presses. If I built all the one-purpose jigs I’ve seen in these magazines, I wouldn’t have any room in my small shop to turn around let alone do woodworking.

One thing I’ve noticed about woodworking magazines is that they take essentially the same jig and write ten articles about it, changing it cosmetically each time. For example, how many table saw sleds have you seen in the past year? They all do the same thing! Why not combine a sled with a taper jig and a fixed-angle mitering jig?

My process for creating multi-jigs is as follows:
1. Look for jigs with similar functionality and blend designs.
2. Omit features that unnecessarily over-specialize the jig to a single purpose.
3. If possible, combine jigs that would typically not be used at the same stage of a woodworking project. This will preclude switching settings back and forth on your multi-jig.

By combining jigs, you’ll reduce clutter in your shop.

-- Sir Robert

6 comments so far

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 4310 days

#1 posted 04-13-2008 08:07 PM

Good advice, can you share photos of those you have made?

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4312 days

#2 posted 04-13-2008 08:16 PM

I have the plans for jig, the photos of jigs, the ideas for jigs. I just never seem to have the time to make them, until I just can’t find another way to do something without one. And usually when I take the time to make one, I can’t believe I was ever able to work without it. Most of mine are very specific, and quite different from each other, so I don’t know for sure if they could be combined. A good thought though, because they do take up space.

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4442 days

#3 posted 04-13-2008 09:58 PM

Some of the most useful jigs are for one specific use. There is no way around it. For example: a template for routing a curve.

Also, I build jigs only as I need them for a job. I have spent time building fancy jigs out of books and magazines that I thought I would use because they were really cool, even though I didn’t have a job for it right away. Some of these are mostly effective at collecting dust.

But I agree with your point about the same jig being featured again and again in each magazine. Most of the content in today’s woodworking magazines is recycled over and over. There is rarely a new idea. I’d say the majority of the good ideas are found in the old original editions of Fine Woodworking and Shopnotes. I am starting to become disinterested in the magazines because of this lately.

-- Happy woodworking!

View SteveKorz's profile


2139 posts in 4281 days

#4 posted 04-13-2008 10:24 PM

I’ve often wondered this same thing. I guess if they would combine them, they wouldn’t have anything to publish in the next issue… lol

I’m with you tho, if I needed all those jigs, I’d have to combine them into as few as possible. Not only do I not have the room, but if I don’t use them for a while, I forget how to use them… lol…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

499 posts in 4350 days

#5 posted 04-14-2008 12:23 AM

This is so timely!! I have spent a good part of my weekend pulling out old jigs & sleds from all the hiding spots around the shop & If I could not remember what it was for ,or the last time I used it——it got tossed. I filled up 2 garbage cans & gained tons of usable space——that I’m sure will soon be filled up with NEW jigs. Oh well!


View Grumpy's profile


25847 posts in 4419 days

#6 posted 04-14-2008 01:28 AM

Ahh, nothing like a new jig Sir Bob so how about sharing some pics. Itching to see those multipurpose ones of yours. I agree with you on the fancy ones, they don’t work any better. There is nothing like a simple down to earth basic jig to do the job.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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