Since its invention early in the 20th Century, the router has become one of the most popular portable power tools—and with good reason. Few tools can match its speed, accuracy, and versatility for shaping wood or cutting joints. But jigs are almost a necessity; although the router can be used freehand, most cuts require a guide—particularly repeat cuts.
The jigs featured in this chapter provide various ways of obtaining quick and precise results from your router. Some, like the dadoing jigs shown beginning on page 16, reduce the setup time for simple procedures. Others, like the lap joint jig on page 27, allow the tool to produce multiple copies of the same joint in a few minutes... >
very woodworker uses jigs regularly. Marking gauges, combination squares, the rip fence on a table saw, and router bits with ball-bearing pilots are all jigs that are taken for granted. And who hasn’t, at one time or another, made a simple thinga – majig on the spur of the moment to help get a certain job done?
In our shop, we design most of the furniture we make. In developing a new piece, we consider the esthetic and the building process at the same time. Our chairs, for example, have parts that don’t come straight from machine tables because we like them to have a certain stance to support the person sitting on them just so.
Some of our more complex jigs are used in chair making. These sorts of jigs are planned from the outset, tailoring the process to the design... >
ears ago, I worked in an auto body shop, where we hand-formed body panels.
Often we needed two matching panels—one for each side—but we never produced exact mirror images. Subtle differences were easily excused: “You can’t see both sides at the same time,” it was said.
In cabinetmaking, however, matching pieces must be exact duplicates. You usually can see them at the same time. Although some masters can accomplish this freehand, most of us must rely on carefully constructed jigs.
I was lured to woodworking in grade school when the shop teacher put me to work on the props for a Christmas play. I learned early that the time spent on the jig or template meant time saved and consistency gained.
There are plenty of jigs and fixtures on the market but, like baseball gloves... >
look at a new tool as a beginning. Once it is taken from its box or crate I read the owner’s manual to learn what the manufacturer suggests the tool can do. Then I stand back and think, “There must be more to it than this.”
Inevitably, by some strange thought process I can’t explain, there appears a mental picture of a jig, sometimes simple enough to test immediately, other times elaborate enough to require a session at what at one time was a drawing board; now, I design on my computer. The new jig might enable the tool to do something its designer never envisioned, or it might increase accuracy with minimum fuss, or it could add a safety factor to a routine operation. In any case, it has to be custom-made since it is rarely available commercially.
I’ve designed dozens of j... >