All Replies on Just WHO is buying all of these expensive woodworking jigs, fixtures, and tools?

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Just WHO is buying all of these expensive woodworking jigs, fixtures, and tools?

by Planeman40
posted 06-17-2012 04:01 AM

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83 replies

83 replies so far

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 3932 days

#1 posted 06-17-2012 04:12 AM

I’ve wondered about that too. I think it may fall under the category of hobbyists thinking that the $150 thing-a-majig will magically make them better woodworkers.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4238 days

#2 posted 06-17-2012 04:29 AM

Never underestimate the power of marketing. Then the extension of the marketing that is long completely unbiased <nudge> endorsements by the personalities whether on video or magazines.

Nobody gets to make any money off of you if you make it yourself. Why on earth would they encourage that?

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Harry_Ch's profile


63 posts in 3916 days

#3 posted 06-17-2012 04:46 AM

Just like the guy that goes for the newest gadget, I consider them “Must Have”. They may use them once or twice, but does that really improve their skills? Hard to say for sure, but they do look pretty gathering dust and rust.

-- Deeds not Words.

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 4012 days

#4 posted 06-17-2012 05:01 AM

I will admit, I was guilty of that when I first got into woodworking .. got a fancy dovetail jig because I thought I had to have it. I think I’ve used it once.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View KenBry's profile


484 posts in 3688 days

#5 posted 06-17-2012 05:13 AM

Heck, the people in this forum have convinced me that i have to buy, powermatic, festool and lie nielson so why not get the best jigs too? ;-p

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

View Loren's profile


11269 posts in 4888 days

#6 posted 06-17-2012 05:17 AM

You are correct. It is hobbiest buyers who make a majority of
jig sales viable. Many pros don’t mess around with stretching machine
capacity in a big way – they upgrade the machine and move forward.
The time saved on profitable jobs makes this approach more feasible
for pros.

Commercially made luthier clamps are a pretty good value and
making equal ones yourself is doable but a hassle. Most shop-made
copies will be adequate but inferior to Klemmsia clamps.

View Planeman40's profile


1559 posts in 4001 days

#7 posted 06-17-2012 05:42 AM

I never heard of a “Klemmsia clamp”. I had to do a search on it. Looking at one at Highland Hardware ( I can say mine are every bit as good, complete with a steel bar, steel pins in the wood to take the racking force, leather pads, and maple for wood – and curly maple at that! I made eight of them and they were easy to do. You guys take a look at that Klemmsia clamp. Don’t you think you could knock those out?


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4401 days

#8 posted 06-17-2012 06:02 AM

I agree, and I work at one of these places as an instructor. I have to say I can teach a lot of things in woodworking, but I’ve not mastered the art of teaching someone how to design a piece.

I think the ones buying all these jigs are the ones that build strictly from plans. I have never stuck to any plans that I have ever bought. And I rarely buy a jig I could build.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3716 days

#9 posted 06-17-2012 06:03 AM

In some trades this is typical, the hobbyist keeps a lot of the companies in business. In photography the standard joke was that Hasselblads were mostly sold to doctors and lawyers than to professional photographers, they mostly used a workhorse like the Mamiyas. In the digital era, not even doctors or lawyers are willing to pony up $30,000 for a digital back.

Woodworking is no different, heck I am even willing to bet that most jigs are not even used in a professional shop. I only have two, a circle maker for the bandsaw and a taper jig. I am thinking of building a cross cut sled, but that is it. Ok, well I might even build a router jig like stumpy nubs build, there are some very good uses for a horizontal router.

As for tools I have to disagree with you, it is easier and cheaper to buy an “expensive” tool loke a LN plane that will work perfectly out of the box than to fight a cheap tool to make it work as it should and that you will have to discard after a few uses.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 4012 days

#10 posted 06-17-2012 06:11 AM

I’d love to see the Kelmmsia clamps you’ve made, those look neat I’d sure like to see how to make them.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View Loren's profile


11269 posts in 4888 days

#11 posted 06-17-2012 06:25 AM

Try the Klemmsias and be sure before making declarations. I have
made cam clamps from domestic hardwoods and they have not
held up the way the hornbeam ones do.

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 3791 days

#12 posted 06-17-2012 11:36 AM

Expensive is a subjective term, some will find a $500 Lie-Nielsen expensive, the guy that is waiting on his $11,000 Karl Holtey to be delvered doesn’t. I don’t think its a money question but a build vs buy question. To me it is, would i enjoy making it, do I have the time make it. My minutes are a whole more valuble to me than my dollars. But then again i only use hand tools and a bench hook is my only jig. I did buy thr mallet with the green coating, that green stuff is the bees knees if you hand chop mortises.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4107 days

#13 posted 06-17-2012 11:51 AM

I don’t know about you but I’m 62. I still have to work almost 50 hours a week and it sure doesn’t look like I’ll be retiring anytime soon. I only have the weekends to do my woodworking so my time is very valuable to me. At the plant I run the maintenance and engineering and work on the machinery. My time is valuable there and my pay is good. However, to me my weekend time is no less valuable to me. Yes, I enjoy what I’m doing and enjoy it but my time is still very valuable. If I spend several hours on a jig then that’s several hours I can’t spend on a project. There are tradeoffs that must be considered. There is no such a thing as a free lunch. Everything has a cost. Now I know how to make jigs because I’ve made plenty of them at work. There’s nothing wrong with woodworkers buying jigs if that’s what they think they have to do at any given time. After all some people love making jigs and working on their shops. I like making jigs too. However, there is a very big time constraint against many people and time is costly and precious.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 3431 days

#14 posted 06-17-2012 12:09 PM

Remember the mere mortal video?
Of that guy using the rake as a dovetail jig?
I wish I could try that, but my rake’s pinny things (those 9 or 20 or something sharp thingies) are too short..

-- My terrible signature...

View AndyDuframe's profile


48 posts in 4831 days

#15 posted 06-17-2012 12:38 PM

Buying expensive hobby gadgets oddly makes you feel like you’ve become an expert at a craft that you’ve never really mastered (and probably never will for one reason or another). For a lot of people, that sense of satisfaction, that feeling of accomplishment that can be had just by plopping down a credit card is nearly priceless—which makes the “pro-consumer” market one of the most profitible in the world.


View Dark_Lightning's profile


4842 posts in 4349 days

#16 posted 06-17-2012 01:18 PM

I’m with you, Charles. I have practically no wood working time due to working my paying job, and currently painting one of my cars (prep work is taking forever at one day a week, one man working on it). Once that is done, it’s woodworking time for sure. But that is a dry spell of about 6 months.

I have the Rockler dovetail jig, used once, and the mini dovetail jig…still in the box. Just don’t have the time, yet. I went into Rockler yesterday to look at the Pen Press/Drilling Jig and it’s $100. I won’t spend that, I can make one from what I have in less time than it takes to earn that much money, so when I get to it, I’ll build one. It’ll have ACME threads instead of the wimpy threads in that pen press. Just need some time…

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12396 posts in 4669 days

#17 posted 06-17-2012 01:19 PM

Charles took the words out of my keyboard.
The guy that can afford to buy jigs is too busy making that money to invest the time in making them.
Then there’s guys like me, too dumb to figure out how to make some jig.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 4091 days

#18 posted 06-17-2012 01:19 PM

aka Charles makes an articulate point about time. Well said.

There’s another aspect of time which feeds into this buying behavior, which we have been looking at in isolation (that is, the store, the gizmo, the credit card).

Look at the headline articles in any consumer woodworking magazine and the promise of quick gratification is there.

“Make this picture frame and learn how to make perfect miters every time!”

“A beautiful garden gazebo in one weekend!”

And then inside:

“Rout details like a pro!”

So the subscript here is that, with a little help, the reader can get real good real fast. Walk into a woodworker’s store with that, and you’re far more likely to walk out with a fancy fixture that appears to make that promise even closer to being fulfilled.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View TheDane's profile


6012 posts in 4903 days

#19 posted 06-17-2012 01:38 PM

Most of the jigs I use are shop-made, but I do have a couple of commercial jigs that get fairly regular use (tenon jig, box joint jig, etc.).

Jigs that I can knock out myself in a few minutes make sense. The more complex stuff I’m willing to purchase. It’s that putting a vaule on my time thing!


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

View Don W's profile

Don W

20180 posts in 3808 days

#20 posted 06-17-2012 01:47 PM

I’m the guy wishing I could buy them, but I doubt I would anyhow.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3489 days

#21 posted 06-17-2012 01:58 PM

I don’t know about expensive jigs, but sometimes I buy vs make. A lot of it for me, as a newbie, is a confidence thing. Even though they are “easy” to make, I bought a tapering jig. It was 15$ and works perfectly. I probably could have made one for less, but it would have taken me a while as I don’t really understand the principles of tapering until I used this jig. I haven’t made a cross cut sled yet because I am not totally confident I can get it perfectly square. I will say if there was one commercially available for under 50$ (that did miters as well) I would probably buy it. I’m working on it though.

I do know form a lot of other facets in life that 99% of products over promise and under deliver. I would never consider buying any of the “fad” jigs Lee alludes to that make promises of turning anyone into a pro.

I will say that a pocket hole jig comes close to that promise though. I have always struggled to the point of giving up making face frames. I could never get it right with half laps or dowels. 15 minutes with a pocket hole jig and I had an absolutely perfect face frame on my very first attempt.


View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 3716 days

#22 posted 06-17-2012 02:16 PM

I think that I would have to follow Charles and his line of logic. I place a higher value on my shop time and my working for a living time. Also note my nick, casual, I work in steel construction and understand tolerances but I often have trouble meeting them in my woodworking.

Most of us have seen ‘the woodwright’s shop’ and or similar shows where they do fantastic projects with 300 to 400 year old tooling and techniques. Me, I need all the help that I can get to achieve and maintain the tolerances that I desire. No one else might notice the smaller errors in a project but knowing they are there and where they are I do notice them, and they bother me.

Perhaps the one bad aspect of quality tooling, jigs and fixtures, is that by increasing the production and accuracy of making parts they might also lull one into a lower attention to detail. If the operator malfunctions so does the best equiptment so there is still a learning curve.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4226 days

#23 posted 06-17-2012 02:41 PM

I generally prefer to buy over make. I CAN make – and certainly I sometimes do make (right now I am building my own drum sander, because I think the price for such a thing is a little out there, for what it does, for what I need) – but I barely have enough time to do the work I already do. I get guys come through my shop all the time who give me flak – “why did you BUY that? I could make one in an hour”.

Maybe I should just make a list of all the things I can otherwise do in an hour and hang it up in my shop.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View knotscott's profile


8430 posts in 4616 days

#24 posted 06-17-2012 02:58 PM

Most of wwing “luxuries” come as gifts. My best friend is a woodworker, and a very generous gift giver….for several years he gave me wwing jigs, blades, miter gauges, etc., as gifts. Otherwise, I wouldn’t normally buy them. Let’s see….I’ve got a Wixey angle gauge (very handy), Dubby taper sled, Wixey digital fence readout (neat, but not necessary), a GRrripper (great to have!), a DC remote (love it), Forrest WWII, small parts holder, precision squares, tenoning jig, and digital bevel gauge (among other things). I make my out router tables, workbench, several mobile bases, bit and blade racks.

Knowing what I know now, I’d spend money on a digital angle gauge for a TS, the GRrripper, a good blade (Forrrest or other)...I love the DC remote, but wouldn’t feel guilty spending the money when I just throw the switch on.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Planeman40's profile


1559 posts in 4001 days

#25 posted 06-17-2012 04:01 PM

Move over! We ALL want to become best friends with your woodworking best friend!


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Fuzzy's profile


299 posts in 5229 days

#26 posted 06-17-2012 04:18 PM

Think FISHING !!! MOST fishing lures don’t need to catch fish to be effective from the manufacturer’s perspective … they only need to catch fishermen. Marketing sells … hype sells … “you will be a better #### if you only had our jig” sells.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a small, but professional furniture or cabinet shop nearby … ask for a quick tour … and notice how many of these type of jigs you see. The very fact that you often read “I bought an XYZ jig several years ago, and, while it works … it sits on the shelf, unused” should tell you something about buying fancy commercial jigs.

I don’t for a second mind or regret seeing my $5.00 box joint jigs hanging on the wall … but it would drive me nuts to see some $200.00 box joint jig that I bought on an impulse hanging there.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View jpike's profile


2 posts in 3412 days

#27 posted 06-17-2012 05:29 PM

We’re well-trained consumers and respond to marketing like Pavlov’s dog. Those of us with disposable incomes and access to credit have to spend/charge it somewhere, no? The best statement of this economic mindset that I’ve ever seen was on the bumper of a humongous RV. It read: “We are spending our children’s inheritance.”

C’est la vie

View MrRon's profile


6184 posts in 4484 days

#28 posted 06-17-2012 07:41 PM

After reading all the responses, I realize we are not all talking about the same thing. In general, a jig or fixzture is a special purpose device designed for a specific purpose. A dovetail jig is certainly a jig, but it is considered a “universal” jig, in that it can be setup to handle different situations. The jigs that I and others make in our shops, are designed for a special purpose and that purpose alone. Although it can be reused, it doesn’t lend itself to modification for a different purpose. I don’t think anyone would consider a dovetail jig or a pocket hole jig as a waste of money. Most jigs we make at home are necessary because it is specific only to the particular job at hand. An item like a “bench cookie”, is not a jig. It is a gimmic someone thought up to separate money from gullible people. A scrap piece of wood or a hockey puck would serve the same purpose.
It’s the same with cooking. More and more, our food supply is going from the raw state to prepared. That all started with TV dinners. No one seems to have enough time to do traditional things. We just have to make the time. I am now retired, but even when I was fully employed, I found the time to cook, do woodworking, play with my kids. I guess it’s a matter of priority; what is most important to you.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A fixture is a work-holding or support device used in the manufacturing industry. What makes a fixture unique is that each one is built to fit a particular part or shape. The main purpose of a fixture is to locate and in some cases hold a workpiece during either a machining operation or some other industrial process.[1] A jig differs from a fixture in that it guides the tool to its correct position in addition to locating and supporting the workpiece.[1][2]

The primary purposes of jigs and fixtures is to:[1]

Reduce the cost of production
Maintain consistent quality
Maximize efficiency
Enable a variety of parts to be made to correct specifications
Reduce operator errors
Types of Fixtures: General Purpose – They are usually relatively inexpensive and can be used to hold a variety and range of sizes of workpieces (examples: Vices, chucks, split collets).

Special Purpose – They are designed and built to hold a particular workpiece for a specific operation on a specific machine or process.

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5777 posts in 4472 days

#29 posted 06-17-2012 08:19 PM

I don’t count dovetail jigs as a fancy jig… Especially since I am not smart enough to figure out how to make one of my own that would be worth using…

But for the most part, my store bought jigs are things I highly doubt would be worth a hoot accuracy wise if I had made them. Those are…

#1. Dovetail jig. #2. Doweling Jig. #3. Pocket Hole Jig.

I have a store bought jig, but it was given to me, and that is the Rockler router insert jig. A friend had it, and passed it to me when we was done with it…

The rest of my jigs tend to be one off jobs that are cobbled together quick and dirty to just do a one or two off sort of job, then they get stashed in a corner somehwere…

True multi use jigs tend to get decent hardware, star knobs and the like…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Stillnew's profile


3 posts in 3410 days

#30 posted 06-17-2012 08:25 PM

Some people (okay—me!) get as much enjoyment from shopping for fine tools and setting them up as they do from using them. Building a quality workshop is fun! I make some jigs and buy others. The great joy of woodworking is that it lets each of us do our own thing.

View Bill729's profile


241 posts in 4322 days

#31 posted 06-17-2012 08:53 PM

I enjoyed reading everyone’s posts.

I am worried that I may have been marketed into thinking I may need a routing plane (~$185, I think).

Have any of you handy folks tried to build your own? A shoulder plane would be nice too—I think I might be able to build a wooden version one of those some year… : )

I enjoyed that this thread made me think. I thought I was the only one who didn’t have bench cookies! I saw someone buy a bench cookie holder and/or dispenser the other day!

Bill Whig

View wncguy's profile


501 posts in 3553 days

#32 posted 06-17-2012 11:37 PM

As a newbie, I am in awe of some of the jigs & fixtures that are shown here, but I don’t have the equipment to make some of them (chicken or egg) and frankly I think I need experience on making some things that will interest me. Then expand to building my own items I need.
If a famous painter did not make their own canvas, brushes, paint or easel – does that diminish their work?

-- Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 4926 days

#33 posted 06-18-2012 12:07 AM

Guilty … I have several of the more expensive jigs. I get very little time in the shop and so when I have time, I like to make the most of it and don’t want to fuss with making jigs when I could be working on a project.

Expensive jigs that are totally worth it:

- I could have made a home made mortising system, but I love the accuracy I get from the Mortise Pal.
- I could have made my own sharpening system but the Wolverine turning tool sharpening jigs let me get into turning because sharpening completely intimidated me
- The Incra system … i use it all the time for both decorative and utility joints
- The Kreg K2 pocket hole jig … use it on every cabinet making project and for making quick prototypes

I am also guilty of buying a few dust collectors:
- Rockler circle/ellipse jig … cant even remember why I bought it
- Milescraft Spiral Cutter … not sure what it does
- Lee Valley Variable Angle burnisher … I finally learned to tilt my burnisher 5 degrees down without help

I do make my own jigs often, but I find the commercial jigs are much easier to use for tasks that require a lot of accuracy (i.e. joinery).

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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3183 posts in 4471 days

#34 posted 06-18-2012 12:46 AM

It’s the age old question – “Fish or cut bait?”

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 4012 days

#35 posted 06-18-2012 02:08 AM

I was thinking about this one today when I was in my shop. As we know time is money, it always is no matter who you are. Some people have more time than money, others have more money than time. Jigs also have a hardware cost that often is forgotten about, so I decided to do a little experiment.

I wanted to compare the cost of the Incra I-Box to Stumpy Nubs’ Box joint jig.
I do not own the plans, so some of this is just rough guesstimate based on the pictures.
Plans: $10
2ft T-Track: $15
20” Drawer Slides: $19
1/2’‘x2ft threaded rod: $5
Hinges: $1
Plywood: $20
MDF: $15
Misc Hardware: $3
Aluminum Bar: $10

Material Cost: $98
Since I don’t have the plans, I can’t make exact cost estimate but I think it’s most likely pretty close:

Incra IBOX price: $170

So the time difference is 72$
Say it takes you 3 hours .. that’s $24 not to bad
Say it takes you a weekend (14 hours) .. that’s 5.14 an hour ..

It really all depends on how much money/time someone has really .. but after looking at it like this, I feel less guilty about some of the jigs I’ve bought :)


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4226 days

#36 posted 06-18-2012 02:24 AM

Well, a lot of times jigs are made up out of scraps and bits and pieces you already had – so it may not be a completely fair assessment to price it all out. (Or at least, if I had to buy all new components to build a jig I’d just buy the thing, for sure.)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 4012 days

#37 posted 06-18-2012 02:34 AM

I agree, a lot of times they are, .. you could most likely drop the plywood and mdf costs from the jig .. but a lot of that depends if you have the right sized scraps laying around. (It’s always my luck that when I need a small scrap of plywood .. the scrap pieces I have are an inch too short!).

At the same time, those scraps do have a value, you can use them in other projects or who knows what else you paid for the entire sheet (I didn’t use full sheet prices) .. just because you have half left over from a project doesn’t mean that scrap doesn’t have a value.

Maybe I’m looking at it too much from a business accountant view where everything has a cost and a value, who knows.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View japanesewoodworker's profile


75 posts in 4292 days

#38 posted 06-18-2012 02:52 AM

Guilty as “charged” !
I am going to post my “un-boxing” of a Festool Multi-Function-Table, and a plunge cut saw.

The reason I made “this” investment” was because:

1) I have been down the road of the 10” contractors’ saw….been there done that….
2) I am sick-n-tired of the poor Made in China (MIC) quality….
3) I already have the Festool Sander, Dust Collection, and Li Ion brush-less drill
4) Because ‘my-soul’ might be satisfied….
5) I have many “honey-could you this with wood…” (yes, Dear…sigh…) How much do you want to spend ?
6) Contractors’ poor quality work at neighbour’s home (Senior Citizen…Ouch !)
7) you fill in the blank here !

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263 posts in 3840 days

#39 posted 06-18-2012 03:18 AM

You know, I wanted to come up with an eloquent defense of my position. Something about Time is Money, and we all solve for this equation differently, depending on where we are with life, family, age, career etc.

Simply put – I am the guy buying those gadgets. If it says Incra, my heart beats fast. Bridge City Kerf or Tenon Maker? Heart a-flutter. Kreg? Mine. Mailing lists for Jessum, Woodpecker, Grizzly, Woodmaster, Brese planes – CHECK.

I’m trying to find a place to hide a MultiRouter now, to which I will bolt an FMT Pro. It will have 2 extra linear slides (I knew they would come in handy – thanks Ebay!), a quarter mile of Incra Track on it, and 14 stops in various axes and positions. Yes, this will render both machines completely incapable of making anything. No, I do not care.

Now send me your damn bench cookies, so I can balance this on something.

Tongue firmly in cheek,

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 4787 days

#40 posted 06-18-2012 03:44 AM

We build most jigs and buy some others. Depends much on valid points made by Jeremy. If I save 15.00 making the jig that will take me 3 or 4 hours to build, then I think it through. Most jigs I find more convenient to build, others are just more economical and convenient to buy.

-- .

View JarodMorris's profile


167 posts in 3616 days

#41 posted 06-18-2012 04:20 AM

An old woodworker went to dinner at his wife’s friend’s house. The woodworker’s wife said it would be a nice gesture to make something for the host in his shop so the old woodworker set out making an ornate picture frame for his wife’s friend. When he arrived the host took the picture frame and was awestruck by its beauty. She said, “This picture frame is wonderful! Your tools must be incredible!” The old woodworker didn’t say much as dinner went on. When the dinner was finished, he and his wife were leaving. The old woodworker turned to the host and said, “Ma’am, that dinner was wonderful. Your stove must be incredible.”

-- Dad: Someone was supposed to pick up his toys! Son: My name isn't "Someone".

View japanesewoodworker's profile


75 posts in 4292 days

#42 posted 06-18-2012 05:09 AM

Some “professional” contractors in my area DO NOT know that “square” and “plumb” are NOT the same.

You should see the poor workmanship. (maybe I am just getting as -OLD- as my father…he is OVER 89… and trying to shoot his age in golf….woodworking is MY golf…)

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 4342 days

#43 posted 06-18-2012 06:28 AM

”Your stove must be incredible” I get IT….......

Seems like less stress to be ticked off at a store for selling you some worthless jig than being ticked off at yourself for making the same worthless jig…...................

-- mike...............

View wbrisett's profile


205 posts in 3589 days

#44 posted 06-18-2012 10:56 AM

I’ve bought a few and made a few, and received a few jigs. For me it’s all about time. As Charles (helluvawreck) points out working full time+, my shop hours tend to be limited. Usually I’m trying to knock out a project and that’s when I realize I need some jig to finish. When this happens, I usually try to determine if it’s worth it to me to make my own jig or buy one. Sometimes I’ll make something that works one or two times, but not something you would print in ShopNotes. ;)

My wife and daughter have bought me a few jigs that I probably wouldn’t have purchased, but once I tried them I thought, how clever (Kreg’s crown moulding jig and milescraft spiral design kit). The problem is most jigs serve a single purpose and that’s where the time vs. money comes into play. I work hard, and have a little discretionary income, and consider woodworking my hobby. I’m willing to spend a few dollars on my hobby. In fact, that’s what it’s all about in my opinion.

So, to answer the original question, I guess I’m one of the guys who might buy some of those jigs (my wife and daughter will for sure as gifts) if I don’t want to spend all day in the shop building them.


View MrRon's profile


6184 posts in 4484 days

#45 posted 06-18-2012 01:01 PM

Some of the “jigs” mentioned are really more like tools.

View DamnYankee's profile


3320 posts in 3802 days

#46 posted 06-18-2012 03:28 PM

I am mixed. Some I buy some I make. Whether I make or buy is frequently driven by several factors: cost of buying verses time & difficulty of making; availability of jig (I don’t live close to a woodworking specialty store so I either need to order on line or drive an hour to get it); availability of parts such as knobs, tracks, etc (If I don’t have it I can’t use it to make a jig); anticipated repeated use (I might buy one if I think I will use it alot); required tolerances (if I don’t think I can build the jig to meet the tolerances I perceive it needs I might buy a jig).

Over the years of my woodworking adventures I’ve gotten increasingly confident in making jigs, and better understand the principles in making one.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 4607 days

#47 posted 06-18-2012 03:36 PM

Well a here is contrary opinion. I have bought some relatively expensive jigs and tools. Most of the time I have been happy with them.

I have bought a lot of inexpensive tools and later upgraded to better tools. It would have been a lot less expensive to buy the better tools first.

I would rather spend time making things and not spending time making jigs. And if you value your time at anything, Lots of times it makes more economic sense to spend the money on tools and jigs rather than spend the time making a jig which often times is more difficult to make work.

My 2 cents worth.


View Doss's profile


779 posts in 3505 days

#48 posted 06-18-2012 03:55 PM

When I was younger, I used to work on my cars all the time. Spinning wrenches was fun. Why pay a shop to do the work? That’s hundreds saved.

Now, I think to myself, “Do I really want to spend the time doing this or enjoying my weekend?”

I think the same can be applied here with jigs (as some of you have already said). I don’t really buy jigs only because I build jigs for the projects I’m working on and they rarely see any use after that (yeah, I know some of you think that’s crazy).

JarodMorris’s story has been told in photography as well (something else I spend a lot of time doing). Someone will look at a picture and say, “Wow! That is a great picture! You must have a nice camera” or, even more annoyingly, “You must be really good with Photoshop.”

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Mike's profile


60 posts in 3450 days

#49 posted 06-18-2012 04:15 PM

I don’t know, I went to Woodcraft and spent $20 on one of those aluminum leg tapering jigs for my table saw. I could have made it for $5 or maybe $10 at the most…but it was $20 bucks, aluminum, and easy to change adjustment and go right back to a setting. I went right home and made tapered table legs. Not sure what that makes me?

View Brohymn62's profile


125 posts in 3496 days

#50 posted 06-18-2012 07:10 PM

I can’t afford expensive jigs… althought I did drop $50 for a dovetailing jig on CL. Which i think is the only jig I’ve ever purchased. Everything else seems perfectly within grasp of the machines in my shop. I’ve even come across some plans for a stroke sander that I might be tackling soon… although at that point… you’ve crossed the line into shop made machines… a while new arena!

Really like the idea of the home made clamps… they are expensive too… might try my hand at some of those luthier clamps

-- Chris G. ; Los Angeles, CA

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