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Forum topic by trz posted 08-22-2011 03:38 AM 989 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View trz's profile


90 posts in 1525 days

08-22-2011 03:38 AM

what kind of materials do you find work best for your jigs? plywood,mdo,mdf other ?

13 replies so far

View therookie's profile


887 posts in 1866 days

#1 posted 08-22-2011 03:43 AM

MDF primarily because it is the cheapest longest lasting and most stable MDO would work too but I just doint have that much access to it.


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2113 days

#2 posted 08-22-2011 04:00 AM

Recently, I completely a big project in which I made 72 new pew end panels for the pews at our church. After glue up, we did a rough cut with a combination of plunge saw, band saw and jig saw. Then, I attached a jig/template to the material to do the final cut with a straight bit with a guide bearing on the router table.

I used OSB for the template because I had some laying around. It worked great initially. Then, the edges of the OSB started to break down and I got rough edges on the material I was shaping.

I share this story so others don’t make the same mistake. The lesson – OSB does not hold up for extended use.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View gfadvm's profile


13765 posts in 1729 days

#3 posted 08-22-2011 05:03 AM

Most of my sleds, jigs, etc are made from 1/2 ” Baltic Birch plywood. It has held up well, is lighter than mdf, and the edges stay “crisp”.

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

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2616 days

#4 posted 08-22-2011 05:27 AM

It depends on the jig but I use what ever I have left over sometimes mdf, 3/4 ply or osb.

-- Custom furniture

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2347 days

#5 posted 08-22-2011 06:28 AM

I use baltic birch ply for jigs I keep and use the most. I find it to be durable. I have made mdf jigs also but prefer the ply.

View usnret's profile


184 posts in 1547 days

#6 posted 08-22-2011 06:48 AM

I use MDF mostly because its cheap and easy to find.

-- Chief Petty Officer USN(RET) 1991-2011

View jumbojack's profile


1441 posts in 1663 days

#7 posted 08-22-2011 07:16 AM

I prefer ply, but I have so much MDF scored free from a super market renovation that some seldom used jigs are made with MDF. I have a sled made of cast off 1×2, finger joint jig made of hard pine. It just seems I make jigs and such from the best material for the job keeping i mind how often I will use it and how much abuse it will be asked to take.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View NiteWalker's profile


2728 posts in 1616 days

#8 posted 08-22-2011 08:08 AM

For jigs I’ll be keeping for a long time, baltic birch for sure. MDF for one-offs.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View trz's profile


90 posts in 1525 days

#9 posted 08-23-2011 12:10 AM

Thanks. I was wondereing cuz i’m going to build a cutoff sled and was thinking of useing mdf as the base. would like to use baltic birch but I don’t think it’s availabel locally. The big box stores don’t seem to carry it anyway!

View canadianchips's profile


2123 posts in 2036 days

#10 posted 08-23-2011 12:24 AM

Our Home Depot carries
Baltic Birch it in small panels. (2’x4’) Quite expensive !
Plywood is my favorite. I rarely have MDF left over (I hate working with it in the first place)

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View mailee's profile


44 posts in 1517 days

#11 posted 08-23-2011 10:55 PM

I always use MDF for my jigs that I use occasionally. For my well used jigs I prefer to make them out of laminate. Mainly because I have them on hand in the shop.


View LeeInAZ's profile


39 posts in 1514 days

#12 posted 08-25-2011 06:24 AM

My local Lowes will special order small quantities (even a single sheet) of Baltic Birch for a pretty reasonable price. You need to talk with someone at their Pro desk and get them to do some calling.

-- Lee - Phoenix, AZ

View Tedstor's profile


1526 posts in 1672 days

#13 posted 08-25-2011 07:08 AM

I use MDF or Baltic ply pretty much interchangably. I have no preference between them, whatever I have on-hand.
For smaller stuff like auxillary/sacrificial fences I typically use laminate “hardwood” flooring. I have gobs of leftovers from the flooring job we had done a few years ago. Works great. I even use it for miter slot runners. I see laminate flooring on Craigslist all the time for free/cheap.

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