Atom #2: Zen and the art of jig making (or Getting Jiggy with it)

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Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 11-24-2010 07:00 PM 1627 reads 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: is coming Part 2 of Atom series Part 3: Mice with tweezers »

I lay awake desperately for two hours trying to figure out how I was to cut four sides and a top from this striped cross.

In the end I gave up and went to sleep.

My new planer arrived bright and early. My old one had died inexplicably. Damn I thought this is getting me away from the project. I dutifully put it together, tried it out and tidied away the old one all without much enthusiasm. Another trip to the re-cycle centre (used to be called the dump, now re-cycle Nazis quiz you as to whether you’ve sorted your trash). Tomorrow of course. Its only open Thursday to Sunday but I digress. In the end the shop looked almost normal and I glanced the stripey cross once more.

It was sitting on a scrap of 12mm MDF. You can saw a 3mm slot in a lump of MDF easily, not so a delicate little flower like the one sitting on top of it. If I could make the cross ‘one with the MDF’ I would have solved the problem. Old fashioned filament light bulb goes on in head! Cut the MDF to the outside size of the cross and route a cross shaped groove in it. Vioila! (the holes are incidental, an artifact of previous use of the MDF)

The cross fits snugly in.

First thing to do is route the lipping rebate in the sides

Then cut the sides to length. Zero clearence slab of MDF on the tablesaw

Fence distance set to the height of the side + 2mm (for box separation cut). Set blade height to 3mm so as to definitely cut through the box material and cut through all four sides

Peel out the box sides

Each side looks like this at the moment

That may look a bit ragged but remember the piece is only 22mm x 20mm x 2mm.

I took the stumpy cross out of the jig and double sided taped it back in. Once I start cutting the stumps off there will be nothing left to hold it in there!

Then reset the saw fence to cut the stumps off

and sawed them off.

Removed the top piece carefully, with a knife and cleaned off the double sided tape. Here the pieces are

They will need to be edged with Ebony next and assembled. Thats for another blog though

Be seeing you

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

19 comments so far

View Crushgroovin's profile


234 posts in 2015 days

#1 posted 11-24-2010 07:11 PM

Another Amazing Box from the Master Brit! What wood did you use? Looks like purpleheart, yellowheart, padauk, maple, and cherry??

-- I wouldn't be so arrogant if you weren't such a moron!

View WoodshopJoe's profile


99 posts in 2351 days

#2 posted 11-24-2010 07:12 PM

I know how it is to ponder something as simple as cutting wood. I find your box making methodolgy very interesting and will have to make a go of it very soon. Thanks for sharing, I do enjoy reading your blog posts.

-- Joe Truehart - The Craftsmans Woodshop

View shipwright's profile


6280 posts in 1889 days

#3 posted 11-24-2010 07:13 PM

Cool Martyn. Re: “just because I hope I can” comment in segment # one, is it any fun if you know you can?

PS: You do know that you may be starting a “challenge of diminishing returns” don’t you. Which man will be able in the end to claim “Mine’s smaller than yours”?

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4166 posts in 1947 days

#4 posted 11-24-2010 07:15 PM

This is one nice project.
I’m impatient. :) Nearly as good as waiting 4 Santa. :)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4586 posts in 2127 days

#5 posted 11-24-2010 07:17 PM

Crushgroovin’, thanks and the wood types are in part one of the blog.

Joe, thank you. I sometime wonder if I make it seem too simple. Once you get the trick though its easy.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8623 posts in 2011 days

#6 posted 11-24-2010 07:55 PM

Cool. Clean. Logical. I love the way you think things through so thoroughly when doing a project such as this. It looks so easy because you do it right.

Great project, Martyn. And wonderful lesson.

It is simply beautiful. I can’t wait to see the next step.

Thanks. :) Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View SPalm's profile


5186 posts in 2973 days

#7 posted 11-24-2010 07:56 PM

You’re doing good. My that is small.

I hate those nights, laying awake, thinking. But then again, I love ‘em. It is what keeps me (and I believe you) going. Finding balance is what is needed.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Cozmo35's profile


2199 posts in 2127 days

#8 posted 11-24-2010 08:43 PM

Martyn, Each day you leave the shop, count your finger to make sure they are all still there! WOW! tiny pieces. If anyone can do it, it’s you!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 2774 days

#9 posted 11-24-2010 10:15 PM

just leave it on the workbench for the night and the elves will put it together!

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2031 days

#10 posted 11-24-2010 10:45 PM

What a clever solution! I am impressed my man. Many times, my moments of brilliance (relatively speaking!) happens in the shower….!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2206 days

#11 posted 11-25-2010 12:37 AM

DOOOOH! there I got kicked of the truck in the roadcurve a ½ mile back
but I take a hike and return to the next installment Proffessor

I like the way you used the Mdf to make it safer to cut
take care


View DragonLady's profile


298 posts in 2098 days

#12 posted 11-25-2010 04:10 AM


-- A woman's work is never done-but power tools help!

View BertFlores58's profile


1648 posts in 2013 days

#13 posted 11-25-2010 04:46 AM

Brilliant and simple… But needs a lot of practice specially in the accuracy part.. Thanks Martyn for posting.

-- Bert

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


16740 posts in 2767 days

#14 posted 11-25-2010 07:48 AM

That is a good pic Autumn, love it! Excellant explanation of how it works and how Martyn solved his problem.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View patron's profile


13422 posts in 2432 days

#15 posted 11-25-2010 08:23 AM

excellent solution martyn

reminds me about a story
i read about somewhere

the germans made the worlds smallest roller bearing
and were bragging about it to the world
in the hopes
of selling the technology
needed an electron microscope to see it

the japanese asked to get a look at it
the germans sent it to them
the japanese sent it back
about a month later

well the germans asked what they thought about it

“oh it is nice
but we don’t need your help”

in side the inner race hole
they had made one smaller

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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