Lumber for making shop jigs?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 06-15-2011 06:15 PM 956 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


656 posts in 1726 days

06-15-2011 06:15 PM

I’d like to make a saw vise (perhaps like this one), but I don’t yet have a local source for good, affordable hardwoods like hard maple, hickory, etc. If you were limited to the woods sold at the big home centers (woods such as Douglas fir, SYP, and “white wood” in the lumber area, and red oak, poplar, and pine in the finished-boards area), what type would you use for making a saw vise and other shop jigs? Thanks.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

5 replies so far

View lew's profile


10631 posts in 2798 days

#1 posted 06-16-2011 05:01 AM

I would go with the oak.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View gfadvm's profile


13785 posts in 1733 days

#2 posted 06-16-2011 05:15 AM

Dont know about the saw vise, but I use Baltic birch ply for most of my jigs,sleds,etc. You can usually buy half or quarter sheets at the big box stores as well as full sheets[which are a problem to wrestle across the table saw safely.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View auggy53's profile


159 posts in 1722 days

#3 posted 06-16-2011 05:21 AM

im kinda cheap , i try to find old oak pallets to cut up.

-- rick

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 2132 days

#4 posted 06-16-2011 05:36 AM

on sale plywood or even mdf is good for jigs and cutting sleds depending on how stable the climate in your shop is. for a fixture like that saw vise, I woudl definitely go with the oak. Maple may be a bit stronger, but it is more prone to warping if your shop changes seasonally, or if you dont want to put a full finish on it. I know for my jigs and fixtures like that, I usually just brush on a quick sealer of shellac to minimize warping, but it isnt enough to really stabilize it if you have severe humidity and temperature changes.

View mtenterprises's profile


879 posts in 1736 days

#5 posted 06-18-2011 07:14 PM

Whatever is available at the moment. If you like what you built you can always call it a prototype and build a much better one later.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

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