Help - Jig for created steps or zig-zags

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Forum topic by FarmerB posted 08-10-2012 11:57 AM 1500 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2325 days

08-10-2012 11:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hello All,

I’m in the process of designing a collector card stand for a friend. The sides require a piece with steps as seen in the attached picture. I have to crank out quite a few stands, so I’m trying to think up a jig/system to make the cutting clean and accurate. I’ve tried google, but the search terms are so generic I’m not having much luck.

I’ve spent some time in sketchup trying to create something that works, but so far the best solution I can come up with would require 2 separate jigs to be swapped back and forth for each cut.

If anyone has an ideas I’d greatly appreciate the input.


12 replies so far

View madts's profile


1873 posts in 2539 days

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

You could do it as a glue up with 1/2” strips cut on the table saw. To me that would be the easiest.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


5088 posts in 2550 days

#2 posted 08-10-2012 01:28 PM

You could make a router template from 1/4” mdf for the steps and then rout them w a bearing bit on the router table. You will have to clean up the inside corners w/ a chisel. Cut the template using a combination band saw and hand saw, or a jig saw.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3944 days

#3 posted 08-10-2012 02:25 PM

You could layout and cut it, similar to the diagram, with the required steps, on your table saw with a dado blade, then cut off the right end.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2464 days

#4 posted 08-10-2012 02:58 PM

The dado method could work or at least speed the process up. You could even stack them together and do them all at once (or a few at a time).

The only problem I see is I count (8) 1/2” steps which is roughly 4” (above tablesaw table) of steps which will put it out of the range of most dado sets that I know of.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View FarmerB's profile


6 posts in 2325 days

#5 posted 08-10-2012 03:49 PM

Hrm… I’m liking the dado ideas.

I’m thinking I could cut 1/2” spacer strips to place against the fence and then put a 1/2” dado stack in the saw. Cut down to the top step first, remove a spacer and cut down to the second step, etc., all the way to the bottom.

I’ve never used my dado stack in such a fashion (full through cut) though… does that sound doable and, more importantly, safe?

View Lifesaver2000's profile


556 posts in 3311 days

#6 posted 08-10-2012 04:08 PM

FarmerB, I have a question. Are you cutting these pieces from sheet material like plywood or MDF, or from solid lumber?

The reason I ask is that if it is from sheet goods, it looks to me like two pieces like in your drawing are sort of reciprocal, where if you flip one over it would fit right in to the other. So if there were some way to cut the steps where both sides are usable, then you could get two pieces from just over 12” of material.

I guess that is where the above suggestion of using a router template by Bondo would be good, if the material savings is worth the extra trouble of having to clean out the corners.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2674 days

#7 posted 08-10-2012 05:08 PM

If you have a band saw with a fence, your half inch (minus the band saw kerf) strips idea would work very well. All you would have to do is a little sanding at the end, plus you can stack as many pieces as you want.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3335 days

#8 posted 08-10-2012 05:30 PM

Here is a different idea -

1. Cut the blank for the part to size with a taper on the edge that will have the stair-step. The outside corners of the stair step will just touch the taper.

2. Make a simple sled for your band saw to cut the risers. The fence will be on the front side of the cut, and the tapered side of the work will go against the fence. You’ll want the fence on both sides of the cut. Use stop blocks so that the cut cannot go too far. You will need to position the work for each riser, but that will only require lining up a layout line to the kerf edge in the sled.

3. The 1/2” runs should be easy to make with a decent hand saw. Or make a cutting guide for your saber saw.

Actually, for that matter, you could probably make a cutting guide for your saber saw for the entire stair step profile.

-- Greg D.

View FarmerB's profile


6 posts in 2325 days

#9 posted 08-12-2012 02:44 PM

Lifesaver, the prototype will be pine, the rest will most likely be maple or oak. The more I think about it, the more the router with a template is appealing to me.

Thanks for the suggestions guys… I’ll be sure to update the thread with whatever solution I come up with.

View Rick S...'s profile

Rick S...

10913 posts in 3232 days

#10 posted 11-24-2012 01:42 AM

Isn’t this the identical project you couldn’t get posted HERE so it got Posted here:

In Woodworking Skill Share by that (Removed On edit) ”Jonathan”? 2 days after it got Posted here?

103 Days ago on here ..”I’ll be sure to update the thread with whatever solution I come up with.”

107 Days was the last time you where on the Other Post!

What Gives???

-- I Chose "The Road Less Travelled" Now I'm Totally Lost! (Ontario, CANADA)

View FarmerB's profile


6 posts in 2325 days

#11 posted 11-24-2012 05:55 AM


I’m not exactly sure what part you’re wondering about so I’ll address both…

I signed up to the site and tried to post a topic. I tried to create this topic the first day I joined. I created the post that is the basis of this thread. The issue was that my first post to start a topic (the one that started this thread) had to be approved and if you look at my profile it took 10 days for that to happen. At around the 6 day mark I mentioned my issue in a different thread (I could post in threads, but not start them) and Jonathan was nice enough to start a different thread to help me out. Two days later the thread I tried to start was finally approved.

Clear as mud?

As far as updates go, I never got to attempt the project. It was intended for a friend that was selling sports cards at flea-markets and needed a display. Shortly after I did the design things got a bit slow for him and he backed out.

If I ever figure a nice easy way to accomplish what I mentioned I’ll be sure to share it.


View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 3936 days

#12 posted 11-24-2012 07:05 AM

I would mill 8 pieces 1/2” x 4 1/2” x ? length and at 1/2” x 3 3/4” x? length Then attach these together and then add sides and a top and back. It will be hollow and the assembly would be fast and accurate.

You are overlapping the 4 1/2” over each other 3/4” to make the steps 3 3/4” which is what is in your drawing.

You will be able to pre-sand all of the parts, seal them, sand them and assemble them.

You did not mention how wide it is so I put a question mark as to length of the boards.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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