A couple of whiles ago when I posted my lumber rack, some of the LJ’s inquired about my panel jig. I figured that if I ever needed to replace it, then it would be right to blog it for you. I’m not going to take credit for this as I have seen it somewhere else in one of the many woodworking mags. Just can’t remember which one!
This jig is used lying on top of sawhorses or the bench to crosscut and rip large sheets of material. I say “material” because we’ve used it for sheetrock, plywood, MDF, hardboard, styrofoam, etc. It’s perfect for us small shop guys who don’t have cabinet saws with infeed/outfeed tables. It’s also quite portable as it takes up just 11’x8”x3” space when folded, but opens to a full 4’x8’ supporting the entire sheet.
It requires six 8’ 2×2’s, and 16 (of each) 1/4×20x2” bolts, washers and locknuts. Locknuts work best here as they will not eventually loosen and fall off. (Locknuts have the nylon insert inside them). Skill levels….basic at the most! This is easy to say the least! Take you about an hour.
2×2’s are expensive so I used 2×4’s ripped in half. You don’t have to be precise with this, but be sure to do all your drilling on the factory dimensioned side. So what you’ll have cut is four 8’ 2×2’s and four 4’ 2×2’s.
Mark the 4 footers at 4 1/2” from each end and again at 16 1/2” from each end. This is where you will drill four 1/4” holes thru each board.
Mark the 8 footers at 12” and again at 36” from each end. Drill four 1/4” holes thru each of these.
Now in each board, using a forstner (or spade) bit, drill halfway thru each 1/4” hole. Size your spade/forstner bit big enough to accomodate the washers. (I used a 7/8” bit on mine). It’s a good idea here to recess these bolts and nuts from the saw blade…but I’ve forgotted several times to reset my blade depth and have not only cut plywood, but also clean thru the 2×2 as well! So keep in mind that you need to adjust that blade depth before cutting.
All you need to do now is bolt it together. Don’t tighten the nuts too much though as to allow the unit to fold easliy. I’ve included pictures…they show the long ripping side followed by the short crosscut side, folded and stored.
-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!