When in Doubt – Make a Jig

We seem to build a lot of jigs at the shop.


I think this is good thing, or else we wouldn’t build many jigs.  My kids and workers alike seem to cringe when I proclaim “It’s time to get jiggy with it!!”  Not that they’re uncomfortable with my making jigs – they’re just uncomfortable with my using the slang ‘get jiggy with it!’

Not all jigs are created equally!  Some work great.  Some simply don’t pan out, a seemingly waste of time, effort and money, they end up being expensive kindling.

The best jigs we make are the ones that

*are real time savers

*are quick and inexpensive to make

The protocol for most jigs are jobs that get repeated and need a high level of  accuracy.  Some  that come to mind are hole drilling jigs for shelves in the interior of cabinets, tapering jigs for the table saw, router jigs for stair treads. Some of the more elaborate jigs  have been fluting jigs, a jig for cutting a flat octagon on spindles and a jig to router dovetails into a candle stand leg.

The biggest problem I encounter with jig making is the decision of how much time and money will be put into the project.  Some take a fair amount of time thought and materials.  We are never certain if the jig will work to our standards.

One thing I have found is that we rarely go back and remake a jig.  I always have it the back of my mind – I’ll start with this jig – then I can improve it (make it more permanent).  It’s like cleaning the back room, we say we’re going to do it, but we never do.

Jigs are a great help for the shop and I’ve come to find that a well thought out shop built jig works far better that any universal jig that’s on the market – if they even exist.

We recently had a project that required a couple of jigs and a new bit.  Join us next week as we conquer a difficult task with jigs!

Until then take five.



Hello Woodworkers



As the web-site name suggests, this is a blog specifically for the woodworker, but much of the material will be enjoyed by any tradesmen involved in the construction industry.

Our goal is to NOT be another instructional or professional source of info. in fact, on many levels we’ll be downright unprofessional. That’s not to say that we won’t hand out an occasional tip, or highlight some interesting aspects of a project from time to time. As a professional, I always enjoy some insight into how other pro’s go about there business and day.  It’s part of the our training – working with other professionals is how we learn.  Herman, the first true trim carpenter I worked with, always said ” It’s what I love about this business – After 40 years I still learn something new every day!”

What we do aim to do is take a look at the woodworking profession (even for those that work with wood as a hobby) from a different angle. Short hitters each week.  Maybe be a little inspirational some weeks, some weeks a story from my years of experience, maybe simply piss and moan.  And let’s not forget to talk about the mistakes. The good the bad the downright ugly.   Stories , antidotes, tips, techniques, inspiration, that only other tradespeople will understand!

If you like and enjoy what you read – tell a friend or five! If you don’t like what you read then please keep it to yourself!

Thanks – until next week, let’s take five