The case for using jigs

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 06-18-2017 02:08 AM 367 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MrRon's profile


4120 posts in 2905 days

06-18-2017 02:08 AM

Jigs can be the woodworker’s best friend. True, it sometimes takes more time to make a jig than to build the project, but if you want accuracy, a jig is a worthwhile investment in time. It is also an important item when repeatability is required. I have built projects without using a jig and learned the hard way that a jig when built properly will save you a lot of mistakes and headaches, especially when working with an expensive piece of wood.

Jigs can be made for a one off project, or it can be treated as a project in itself and used over and over in the future. Many do not use jigs and the usual result is redoing the job or having to make a repair. If someone does not do woodworking on a regular basis, I can see why a jig would not be used. Woodworkers who spend much time in the shop can see the advantage of using jigs.

Now that I’m 82, my energy and strength is not what it was and I now rely on jigs for almost every project. It adds much time to the project, but it enables me to work without expending a lot of energy. My recent project is building a deck and trying to manhandle 50# boards, holding them while trying to line up a bolt is a job that is not easy. Imagine me kneeling on the ground and trying to nail joist hangars at the right place on a beam. That’s where a jig is needed; for repeatability and accuracy. To me the time invested in making jigs is time well spent.

I also do machining and jigs are almost mandatory. Mistakes do not go well with metal when holes don’t line up. Much time can be lost when a metal project has to be scrapped and redone. If one wants to make a great improvement in their woodworking, I recommend that you invest the time in making and using a jig.

6 replies so far

View rodneywt1180b's profile


65 posts in 48 days

#1 posted 06-18-2017 02:28 AM

You’re absolutely right. They also make a job safer by holding and supporting the work securely.

-- Rodney, Centralia, WA, USA

View ralbuck's profile


3096 posts in 1928 days

#2 posted 06-18-2017 02:34 AM

Very good advice!

Anything that I think I may want to repeat; I try to make the jigs I need as I go.

-- SAWDUST is THERAPY without a couch! just rjR

View bruce317's profile


325 posts in 485 days

#3 posted 06-18-2017 03:12 AM

Right you are.

-- Bruce - Indiana - Sawdust is just, MAN GLITTER!

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


3049 posts in 2071 days

#4 posted 06-18-2017 04:26 AM

Years ago Bearpaw turned me on to making jigs for items I had to make more than once or maybe again later. A true time and effort saver. I do recommend a note stored with it to recall what it is for, and how to use. Because my memory recall is not as good as I would like it to be some days . LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Madmark2's profile


249 posts in 250 days

#5 posted 06-18-2017 04:38 AM

I make jigs with wood scraps and clamps. I can usually set up in a minute or two and tear down is about the same. My most complex jig is a stick of wood with a thru carriage bolt and a knob for the drill press. I set the center distance and clamp on a stop block for length. Works fine & lasts a long time. Often i clamp to the rip fence of the TS with a 90° plastic clamp block to make a corner jig to build boxes.


View MrRon's profile


4120 posts in 2905 days

#6 posted 06-18-2017 03:28 PM

Jigs will improve a woodworker’s skill 1000%. The main reason to use a jig is accuracy. Jigs are not limited only to dovetails, doweling or box joints.

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