My take on the thin rip jig

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Project by lumberjoe posted 10-01-2012 02:36 AM 7043 views 28 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This took a few tries to work as I wanted it to. I make a decent amount of cutting boards and often cut thin bands for splines or to hide plywood edges and end grain. I’m not super comfortable working with the fence less than an inch from the blade. These are commercially available, however they are also fun to make. This went through a few iterations. Cliffs notes at the bottom.

The final product:

It’s about 10” long, 4/4 red oak
Two 1/4” slots cut to attach to miter gauge (got to buy another whiteside router bit sinice my old cheap MCLS 1/4 bit kissed concrete the day before I made this)
I used an old router bit bearing in the end as a guide.
It rides in a miter slot runner for an old featherboard I replaced with a MagSwitch

It works awesome. I set it for a 1/2” rip and cut some slices off of some scrap ash about 3 feet long. It took a tad bit of trial and error to get the exact setting. Measuring blade kerf is not an exact science. I got dead on 1/2” on the dial calipers on my 3rd attempt. I ripped 6 strips. All were dead on 1/2”. I was very pleased and now have a lot of beautiful ash finish/stain stirrers.

The lessons learned
Number 1 – If you don’t use a bearing in the end, you are going to have a bad time

The first round was straight 45 degree angle. It worked, but it would deflect almost every time. A small flat spot worked much better than a point on the end, but I still got some deflection. A bearing is perfect. For those wondering, the inside diamater of this bearing matches a #10 wood screw exactly. I hollowed out a recess with a chisel then marked the center of the bearing. I drilled a pilot hole and scewed the bearing down. The screw has no threads toward the end, but just enough threads to bite into the bottom. Once through I sawed off the excess screw and filed/sanded it flush. Sorry fror the crappy pic, My camera saw my reflection in the cast iron and got a little awestruck:

Number 2 – One slot is a bad idea
Even with the bearing, held down in the center only, I could get the jig to move if I wanted it to. Two slots removes the piviot point fulcrum and locks it in place. It makes alignment a little tricky, however I’ve found with the bearing in the end, it doesn’t need to be perfectly 90 degrees to the workpiece. Bearings are round and spin, and you have a tiny little point of contact.

So for those of you that don’t like to read long posts, here are the cliffs notes:

1 – Two slots are better than one
2 – Use a guide bearing from an old router bit in the tip
3 – A #10 woodscrew fits right through the bearing with almost no play


18 comments so far

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19657 posts in 2824 days

#1 posted 10-01-2012 04:16 AM

Great little jig!

Do you have a condensed version of the cliff notes??? LOL.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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444 posts in 3279 days

#2 posted 10-01-2012 12:22 PM

I really like it! I got a lot from reading your notes. Thank you!

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

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1267 posts in 2296 days

#3 posted 10-01-2012 12:44 PM

Thanks for sharing. This is something ill need.

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5811 posts in 2441 days

#4 posted 10-01-2012 01:06 PM

Nice project! Nice write up. And, great observations on dual tracts and advantages of using a ball bearing. Thanks for your post as I been thinking about doing pretty much what you’ve come up with and glad to know it works.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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2899 posts in 2397 days

#5 posted 10-01-2012 01:20 PM

Thanks everyone. I actually made another one and found another good tip. Intead of hollowing out the recess for the bearing with a chisel, I made several very light passes on the router table before I tapered the ends down (piece still square at the end). After that, taper your sides off and you are good to go. That is a lot cleaner and a lot less work.


View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2576 days

#6 posted 10-01-2012 05:23 PM

Thanks for the “tip”

Me ,,thinking .. Would a nylon roller work?

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2397 days

#7 posted 10-01-2012 05:35 PM

I’m sure it would work just fine. I just happen to have a ton of bearings kicking around. I like to have spares as I have had a few quit on me from time to time


View a1Jim's profile


117239 posts in 3726 days

#8 posted 10-01-2012 05:38 PM

Jolly good show a simple but effective jig.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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2375 posts in 2981 days

#9 posted 10-01-2012 07:08 PM

Aw dude, it’s so sweet! =)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2397 days

#10 posted 10-01-2012 08:43 PM

This thing is great. I’m working on yet another one with some sort of indexing mechanism so my common thin cuts can be easily set


View bubbs's profile


90 posts in 2226 days

#11 posted 10-01-2012 09:30 PM

I must admit, I feel like a dummy. In all my years of woodworking, I’ve never encountered this kind of jig. Can you explain the technique on how it’s used? I’m sure I’ll have to make one ;-)

-- Cats, beer and wood...perfect.

View rance's profile


4263 posts in 3309 days

#12 posted 10-01-2012 09:46 PM

LJ, I’ll ask you the same thing I asked Rex.

I am always on the lookout for thin ripping jigs to get consistently accurate strips for use in making corner splines. Fitting these into a 1/8” blade kerf slot demands very tight tolerances. How consistent have you found yours to be from one strip to the next?

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2397 days

#13 posted 10-01-2012 11:36 PM

Bubbs, this is used to rip thin strips of wood. Rather than have the thin side between the fence and the blade, you set this on the other (off cut) side of the blade to make repeated thin rips. This way you can keep the bulk of the wood between the fence and the blade, making the cut safer.

Rance, accuracy is dead on with some practice. Setting the initial cut is a tad tricky as I described, but once set and with careful fence movement/positioning, I was able to get 6 half inch strips that were all the exact same size (measured with a dial caliper). I’ve found it helps also to run the same edge against the fence every time as well. Once you get a feel for it, it becomes pretty mindless.


View Roger's profile


20949 posts in 2953 days

#14 posted 10-01-2012 11:44 PM

Looks like a fantastic jig

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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2068 posts in 2337 days

#15 posted 10-02-2012 03:44 AM

Hey Joe,

Nicely done! I’m not totally clear on how to use it but I get the concept. I like the bearing idea and the stability of the 2 thumb bolts. Thanks very much for sharing and explaining.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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