Jigs as Important as Tools

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Eric posted 01-23-2008 03:35 PM 1019 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife is out of the country attending a conference, and while I do have kid duty (age 4.5 and 3), I still manage to steal away from time to time to do some woodworking. Gotta love those DVDs that have the “Play Continuously” option!

So even though I’m supposed to be working on my bench, I get these ideas of things to make and want to act on them. One of them is to make my wife a little box. She has no need of a little box, but it’s the thought that counts. Well, the thought for her and also the thought of trying some more dovetails and maybe my first splines. Let’s be honest here.

But before I get started on a box, I thought it would be a good idea to make myself a couple shooting boards – one at a 90-degree angle, another at a 45-degree angle. I was initially turned on to shooting boards from Landis’ workbench book, and then the video I watched from fellow LumberJock Mot put me over the edge.

But just prepping the wood for the shooting boards is quite the hassle with the bench (simple cabinet) I have to work with! I only have an all-purpose vise on the top, but it’s bolted into like a 1/8” top so it wobbles all over the place, and one day will just pull right out, I know it. The bench is so long that it is extremely difficult to cut on the right side of it, and even if I could, the cabinet storage underneath makes clamping virtually impossible if not done on the very edge.

I’m green enough as a woodworker that I don’t mind talking about (or posting pictures of) me doing crazy stupid stuff. Here is one such picture: me getting creative trying to saw off the ends of this scrap Ikea shelf. You can see the vice threatening to pull right out – thus my hand functioning as an additional clamp. Click the pic for full size:

Help! I need some clamps!

Oh, and about the title of the post. At one point I got frustrated, thinking I was wasting all this time just for a couple shooting boards. But then I realized the inherent value of these jigs and just how much time they will save me in the long run. Well worth the effort.

But yes, I did for one moment wish that I had a table saw.

[This post taken from my blog Adventures in Woodworking]

-- Eric at

4 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18618 posts in 4362 days

#1 posted 01-23-2008 04:17 PM

(I have to ask about the kids … boys? girls? which is which?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3997 days

#2 posted 01-23-2008 04:19 PM

You’re right. The time you spend doing shooting boards now is time you won’t have to mess with them later!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3985 days

#3 posted 01-23-2008 04:24 PM

MsDebbieP: Older one is a boy, younger is a girl. So it’s also fun to think of how to involve them in what I’m doing.

-- Eric at

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4034 posts in 4265 days

#4 posted 01-23-2008 06:37 PM

I foresee all kinds of possibilities for you, a bench hook etc. You could even bolt your vice to a thicker board with carriage bolts and countersink the bolt heads, then screw that to your work top. Good luck Eric, and keep us posted with your updates on that box. I find I need no excuse or reason for making them.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics