Narrow Board and Thin Strip Cutting Jig

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Project by thetinman posted 05-15-2014 12:39 PM 5727 views 17 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch


This project is part of a bundle of projects building some basic shop tools and table saw jigs. The project series concludes with dressing out the table saw. As each project is posted links are added to the items in the list to keep everything bundled.

ZC Plug for Factory Plate
T-Square – Circle Saw – Router Guide
Dowel Cutting Jig
Table saw Push Sticks

Pimped out Table saw: Router Table, Router Fence, Left Side Table, Out feed Table, Shelves/Cabinets

Cutting narrow boards and thin strips can be difficult and dangerous. If you use the fence the boards/strips can bind and kick. The wood tends to get blade burn and require more sanding. You can chew up your push sticks until they simply give out and cause injury (as a neighbor of mine recently found out). With your blade guard on there is a limit to how narrow a board you can push between the blade and the fence until even a push stick can’t pass.

This jig is not a new concept. I’m not sure any are. This design has been around for a great many years. The forth picture is the jig that used to be my dad’s. It has to be 40+ years old. There are many other designs ranging from straight sticks to those with gauges on them. I’ve seen this design with a roller bearing mounted at the front. What I like about this jig is that it has a deceptively simple fine adjustment designed right into it. Move the jig even with the blade, measure the width you want, lock it down and make repetitive strips/boards safely with minimal sanding needed. But, the trick built into it is to offset the rounded nose of the jig at a very slight angle when you measure and lock it down. Now, if the strip is not the width you want, say to fit a miter slot, simply tweak the jig. The jig is designed to increase or decrease the width with a simple slight turn without remeasuring. To make the strip narrower, turn towards the nose. To make it wider, turn away from the nose. When you look at the pics or sketch you can see how the measurement changes by just tweaking the angle. You’ll be surprised how fast you learn this simple jig and avoid a lot of trial and error cutting and wasted lumber.


Building the jig is straightforward and takes little time. This is nothing fancy – just a working tool. Just some building notes are needed.

Drill the 1/2-inch hole then begin cutting the slot on the tablesaw. Look down the hole and stop cutting when you see the blade. This avoids undercutting the jig. Finish the cut by hand.

When you glue on the strip to ride in the miter slot it does not have to be perfectly square. The slider is free to turn and does not rely on the base being square to the miter slot. Just glue on the miter strip fairly square, clamp it up and let it set.

The foot at the nose of the slider can be any width you wish. I used 1-inch which is narrower that the original. Just know that the width of the foot determines the closed distance from the saw blade. As such it determines the maximum width of a board the jig can be used with. Saw designs vary and the actual max width is determined by how far your miter slot is from the blade, of course.

Glue on a strip of ply for the foot at the end of the board, letting the ends hang out. They will be cut off even with the nose and sides when you cut the 45’s. Round the end over after the 45’s are cut. I used a bench sander. A hand held sander works just fine.

The knob is just a 1 1/2-inch square piece of ply with a hole drilled in the middle and a t-bolt.

When you drill the bolt-hole in the base be sure to counter drill a larger hole underneath to countersink the bolt head.

-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

7 comments so far

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4224 days

#1 posted 05-15-2014 02:32 PM

A very handy little jig, I may use you design for my own use if that’s OK with you.

cutting small parts can be inherently difficult, cutting them safely takes the worry, and fingers out of the equation.



-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 2783 days

#2 posted 05-15-2014 07:16 PM

Dave – Of course you can use it and change it all you want. As I ststaed, it’s really not my design to begin with. I use it for anything 2-inches or narrower.

Nice looking family. Keep all your fingers.

Have fun and stay safe.


-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

View NormG's profile


6511 posts in 4248 days

#3 posted 05-16-2014 03:02 AM

Great jig idea

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4224 days

#4 posted 05-16-2014 07:37 AM

Thanks Terry for the compliment, the little guy on the right is a tad bigger now. Costing me a fortune to feed him.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3315 days

#5 posted 05-16-2014 11:56 AM

another quality jig by the tinman. IMO this your series of jigs should be sticky-ed, anyone out there new to tablesaws really ought to read all of your reviews and projects. Even if they dont build them all or any, I think anyone could learn a little something from you bud.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Ttier315's profile


58 posts in 2786 days

#6 posted 05-16-2014 09:45 PM

Another post added to my favorites list. It’s going to take me weeks to build all these jigs but I can’t wait to get started

-- Tom T, upstate NY

View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 2783 days

#7 posted 05-16-2014 10:14 PM

Well, aren’t you fellas nice. Thanks as always for the kind words.

I was going to post the taper jig next but wifey went to see her family in PA. She has the the camera with the jig pics on it. My fault for not putting them on my PC. So, I’m going to post the tablesaw on Monday and worry about the taper jig when she gets back. That’s out of sequence and my regimented mind is all a flutter. I’m so easily confused.

Thanks again guys


-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

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