"Jaws" the jig

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Project by Tom Huntley posted 03-09-2011 05:30 PM 4958 views 48 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK, this one took three tries before I got what I wanted. And…it has turned out to be well worth the effort!

I have a problem with many sled type jigs, because tightening the clamps often distorts the jig, thereby compromizing accuracy and consistency. I like the idea of a push clamp because the forces can be more closely alligned along the length of the sled, meaning that it will ride flatter on the cutting tool surface. Initially, I tried different methods of moving the push clamp, and it was a pain in the butt! Then the idea of moving the jaws , and leaving the clamp fixed hit me. Eureka! A solution. Later, I had to get the pushing force of the rubber bumper lower to the sled, so it would hit more squarely in the middle of 3/4” stock. Notice the wedges located under the back side of the push-clamp mount. After that, I decided I wanted to hold a runner backer in place when making doors, and a second clamp (removable Incra clamp in photo) was added. Fini

The pictures should tell the story, but here’s how it works. Position the jig in the miter rail and loosen the jaw clamps. Insert your stock and close the clamps. Now depress the toggle until the arm is at around 2 o’clock. This will open the jaws slightly to the clamping position. Tighten the jaw clamps, and close down the toggle the rest of the way. (At least this is how I do it in order to quickly achieve the clamping pressure I want.) When I make doors, I cut the runner backer first, which also results in alligning the jig perfectly for subsequent cuts. The backer stays in place under the incra clamp, and the push clamp is used for multiple runner cuts. This is my favorite feature on this jig.

Sometimes, I turn the whole thing around and use it on my table saw. When I do that, I close the jaws tightly on the wood, and do not use the push clamp, since the rubber would be the only thing bucking the saw blade. So, I tighten the jaws, turn the knobs, tighten the Incra clamp, and make my cut. Simple! Great for small pieces too!

If you make one of these, and I think you will really like it, experience has taught me two things. Make sure the miter rail, sled edges, and jaws are as close to perfect as you can make them. This will make the jig even more fun to use. Also, the slot for the hold down clamp is offset to allow the back side some surface to rest on. I trilled a 7/8” hole at the end of the slot so I wouldn’t have to dissassemble the jig to change the clamp. I have a smaller toggle clamp on an adpter I sometimes use.

Again, this design is part of my mission to irradicate digital disconnectomies from all of woodworking!

Best to you all. Tom (3:16)

-- Tom Huntley - Rochester Hills, Michigan

12 comments so far

View traveler's profile


14 posts in 3919 days

#1 posted 03-09-2011 05:53 PM

Very interesting solution for end cuts. I assume you’d use a different strategy for the long side of the piece you are cutting in the demo?

View Tom Huntley's profile

Tom Huntley

58 posts in 4299 days

#2 posted 03-09-2011 06:02 PM

I probably could have done a better job staging the photos. Originally, I wanted a sturdy jig to cope panel door rails. This jig fits the bill as good as anything I’ve tried so far. I think the “longer” piece you are talking about is the in reference to the photo where I show how the jig can be used on a table saw. For really small pieces, I feel safer doing it this way than I do on my 12” power miter saw. Hope that helps.

-- Tom Huntley - Rochester Hills, Michigan

View Tom Huntley's profile

Tom Huntley

58 posts in 4299 days

#3 posted 03-09-2011 06:04 PM

OK, I get it. Yes, for the styles (long pieces) I use a more conventional feed technique. I place two feather boards in the fence, and one on the table ahead of the bit. Then I merely push the stock through, finishing off with a push stick. No magic there. In fact, I’ve taken to making styles in long sticks for inventory, then cutting to desired length when I know what my door heights are going to be. Thanks for the comment.

-- Tom Huntley - Rochester Hills, Michigan

View Ed Pirnik's profile

Ed Pirnik

83 posts in 3891 days

#4 posted 03-09-2011 06:16 PM

Beautifully done! Despite the fact that looks aren’t relevant for a jig – I always love a clean, smooth looking unit!

-- Ed Pirnik, Fine Woodworking Web Producer

View Ken90712's profile


17984 posts in 4249 days

#5 posted 03-09-2011 06:38 PM

Nice solid jig you have made, should last a long time.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3748 days

#6 posted 03-09-2011 11:51 PM

very nice jig with good ideas

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View sawdustunderfoot's profile


31 posts in 3954 days

#7 posted 03-10-2011 01:35 AM

That is a nice looking jig! After I build my router table, this will high on my list of jigs to build.
Thank for posting this.

-- There are no mistakes in woodworking , they're learning expierences ;)

View woodzy's profile


418 posts in 3739 days

#8 posted 03-10-2011 02:35 AM

Nice idea. I have been looking for a design. I like this best.

-- Anthony

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3864 days

#9 posted 03-10-2011 03:42 AM

very nice jig, and very good description of it

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Bricofleur's profile


1480 posts in 4253 days

#10 posted 03-11-2011 12:43 AM

I like the idea of using a push clamp, which are not often used. Clever!



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View TheDane's profile


5953 posts in 4723 days

#11 posted 03-11-2011 01:57 AM

Tom—Pretty clever .. thanks for posting!


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4346 days

#12 posted 03-24-2011 11:58 PM

Good job on the jig. Looks like a winner!


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