Woodworking jigs are a necessary part of any woodworking shop. They are great for repetitive tasks in many wood working projects, and make complex projects easier to manage and faster. You can purchase pre-made jigs or make your own. Although they are inexpensive, making your own from scrap wood is even cheaper. Depending on the type of projects you like to do, you will need a variety of different jigs.
Types of Woodworking Jigs
Dovetail jigs are great for making dovetail joints accurately, and can be purchased relatively inexpensively. Another option is to make your own dovetail jig. You can find templates for making your own jigs on the internet or in most stores that sell wood working supplies. Many of these templates allow you to make up to twelve different size jigs.
You may want to pick up a dovetail bit for your router and a dovetail saw. These are great tools if you intend to make your own jigs. Templates allow you to make variable spaced or fixed dovetails for a variety of projects including cabinets, drawers, and small boxes. Some systems come with bits and templates together in one kit, which is a more cost-friendly option compared to purchasing the components separately.
Dovetail saws are used to cut not only dovetails, but other fine joints for projects. The blades on these saws are thinner than other saws. This allows for greater accuracy. It’s important to purchase a good quality tool for making tight joints and professional looking project. Look for about fourteen to seventeen points per inch in a good quality saw.
A dowel jig is used for making quality, consistent dowels. If you are using a thick piece of wood, get a self-centering jig for better accuracy. There are a variety of sizes from a quarter to one half inch. Complete kits are available that include the dowel jig with several hundred dowels in a variety of sizes. Glue is sometimes included in these kits.
A Kreg jig is great for cabinet making. Perfectly positioned slides are necessary if the movement in the drawer is to be smooth. Using Kreg jigs save time because you won’t need to measure and mark the spaces for drawer slides. These make it easier to mount metal drawer slides and can be used for center, bottom, or extension mounted drawers. This is an inexpensive, yet versatile piece of equipment to have and use in your shop.
Making Woodworking Jigs Yourself
Making your own woodworking jigs saves money in supplies. Use inexpensive materials and scrap pieces of plywood for making your own jigs. Since you will more than likely use the jigs for one project only, you don’t want to spend much on materials. If you plan to reuse your jigs, use a stronger hardwood to make them more durable.
You can find instructions for making your own jigs in woodworking books or magazines. Instructions are also available on the internet, which you could print out for future reference. Consider getting a good binder to keep your jig-making instructions organized in your workshop. Using plastic page protectors will protect the instructions from getting dirty, ripped, or damaged.