choosing what is right for you #6: Jigs. Jigs, and more Jigs.

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Blog entry by kenthemadcarpenter posted 05-04-2016 09:36 PM 1524 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Cross Cut Sled Part 6 of choosing what is right for you series no next part

There is no question about it, ‘at some point during our trek into the world of wood working we are going to need some sort of jig, whether it is a temporary one or a permanent go to Jig. Of course if you google it, you no doubt will get flooded with every type of jig imaginable, go to you tube and you find find countless video’s to build all sorts of nifty jigs. In my wood working most of my jigs are temporary jigs. Pending on what you your self are doing you may need more than one type of permanent jig,
But for those just getting started, You don’t need to go out and buy/ or build every single jig out there.
Knowing what type of jig you need will depend on the machine you are using as well as the type of work you are doing. As an example I recently was doing a small night stand for a customer, I don’t do tapered legs that often, so I made a simple disposable tapered leg jig. If I was doing them more frequently then I might decide to either build a permanent one or buy one.

Buying vs Building your own jig.
which one is better. Often times I found when building my own jigs, by the time you buy all the hardware, and materials (whether you are purchasing new material or grabbing stock you already have you still one or the other pay for it)and the time you put into building it, often times you might be saving your self a few bucks, but the key difference is you can customize to fit your needs vs one that comes out of box. So It will basically come down to a couple of factors based on your needs, budget, and how soon you need it. Lastly don’t get discouraged because you don’t have some fancy jig with all the bells and whistles, Yes jigs can make our lives easier and in some cases add additional safety to our wood working tools, but it is how you adapt and hone your skill.

4 comments so far

View fatman51's profile


335 posts in 3297 days

#1 posted 05-04-2016 11:05 PM

Well Stated. my shop has a closet full of purpose built jigs, some of them more adaptable than others. Some Jigs are so temporary that I do not even save them. The only Jigs I can remember buying are my hinge templates and, strangely enough, my tapered leg jig.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View Bill_Steele's profile


785 posts in 3191 days

#2 posted 05-05-2016 04:24 PM

Great article / blog!

I have several jigs that I have purchased (e.g. dovetail jig, tenoning jig, Kerfmaker (from BridgeCity), etc.) I also have homemade jigs (radius template, flush trim, etc.). I think I base my decision to buy vs build based on:
1. The cost of the jig (bought vs built)
2. My anticipated frequency of use (can I use this for other projects and how often will it be useful?)
3. The accuracy of the jig (bought vs built)

I feel that jigs are useful and often necessary to achieve quality, accuracy, and repeatable results. I love the magazine Shop Notes—many great jigs are highlighted in that publication.

View lew's profile


13534 posts in 5215 days

#3 posted 05-05-2016 08:49 PM

If you build a jig, label it in detail so you can remember what it’s purpose was/is and even take some photos of it in use. As you get older, you’ll appreciate this advice.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View kenthemadcarpenter's profile


124 posts in 2527 days

#4 posted 05-06-2016 01:09 PM

Thats is a great piece of advice lew.

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