Hardwood for shop jigs

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Forum topic by bigdavegeorge posted 06-12-2020 09:27 PM 570 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bigdavegeorge's profile


2 posts in 230 days

06-12-2020 09:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig hardwood

Hey Woodworkers
What type of hardwood do you use for you run of the mill shop jigs?

11 replies so far

View Aj2's profile


3599 posts in 2775 days

#1 posted 06-12-2020 10:02 PM

Whatever is leftover from builds. If you need a suggestion from me it’s poplar

-- Aj

View LesB's profile


2799 posts in 4420 days

#2 posted 06-12-2020 10:29 PM

The least expensive hard wood would be in the maple and birch isle of the store.

A lot of jigs are made from Baltic birch aka Russian multi-layered plywood. It is dimensionally stable, strong, and can be laminated together for thicker elements of the jig.

For quick and dirty (temporary) jigs I use what ever I can find in the scrap box.

-- Les B, Oregon

View CaptainKlutz's profile


4016 posts in 2471 days

#3 posted 06-12-2020 11:46 PM

Welcome to LumberJocks!!

+1 dimensional stability is most important factor for many jigs, and BB ply or MDF are most stable choices.

In Arizona we can get alder cheaper than any of the above suggestions. Knotty 4/4 is ~$1bdft, #2 common 8/4 is ~$2. It has a hardness similar to poplar (and common softwoods like Douglas fir, and SYP); which can often be too soft for some jigs. When it has to be hard and scrap bin doesn’t have what I need, grab hard maple from wood pile.

Another tip: Hoard wood when ever you find a really great deal. I have few hundred bdft of cherry that cost me less than $1.50 bdft. Also have some 8/4 hickory that cost me less than $2. When you hoard wood, no reason to run to store for jig lumber, unless you run out of BB Plywood. :-)


-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View SMP's profile


3208 posts in 882 days

#4 posted 06-12-2020 11:48 PM

Usually a combo of baltic birch and poplar. But if I need more rigidity or resistance to warping i will sometimes get white oak or even QSWO if it needs it depending on dimensions etc.

View bondogaposis's profile


5934 posts in 3328 days

#5 posted 06-13-2020 01:50 AM

Whatever scrap I have on hand that is close in size to what I need.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Walker's profile


443 posts in 1449 days

#6 posted 06-13-2020 04:30 AM

In addition to agreeing with what everyone else said, I like 1/4” hardboard for jigs that involve my router with its guide bushings. Since it’s actually 1/4 (and not 3/16” like plywood), it fits perfect.

-- ~Walker

View bigdavegeorge's profile


2 posts in 230 days

#7 posted 06-13-2020 12:47 PM

Thanks all for your suggestions. Much appreciated

View JackDuren's profile


1437 posts in 1936 days

#8 posted 06-13-2020 01:28 PM

I don’t make jigs from hardwoods but if I was a young man and wanted so called life time woodworking jigs from hardwood I’d use the hardest wood I could for those jigs…

View LeeRoyMan's profile


1489 posts in 704 days

#9 posted 06-13-2020 01:56 PM

Sometimes you just need something down and dirty.

I normally prefer BB.

View Madmark2's profile


2103 posts in 1565 days

#10 posted 06-14-2020 12:17 AM

Jatoba. Its relatively inexpensive (about 1/3 more than oak), plentiful, very hard, very stable, drills & taps well from 4-40 to 1-8, has a nice color, glues and ages well.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View therealSteveN's profile


7031 posts in 1551 days

#11 posted 06-14-2020 04:34 AM

I like White Oak, and Hard Maple for their ability to hold onto a screw, without it wallowing out. If it doesn’t depend on screws, plywood is King, BB is the King with a crown.

-- Think safe, be safe

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