Why do all these jigs look like copies of each other?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 03-27-2014 01:28 AM 1362 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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915 posts in 2062 days

03-27-2014 01:28 AM

I got the Rockler table saw tenon jig a few months ago. Yes, yes. I know many of you think buying pre made jigs is stupid.

When I was searching for information about the jig I discovered this jig is like a Cylon-there are many copies.

What appears to be the exact same jig is also marketed by Delta, Jet, Grizzly, and Woodcraft. And probably many others. The only difference appears to be the color of the paint.

So I started looking at some other jigs.

The same thing with the Rockler taper jig. I found the same creature under many different brands. Once again, paint color is the only thing different.

And the Eclipse style honing guide is sold by more brands than I can count.

My question (which is largely just curiosity) is how is it that all these brands have the exact same design? Don’t the designers patent these things? Who made them originally? Is there any difference between the brands at all?

I put example links below. Sorry for not putting in images. I don’t have a photo sharing account.

11 replies so far

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1861 days

#1 posted 03-27-2014 01:42 AM

It’s because once you’ve seen one shopping centre, you’ve seen the mall.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3616 days

#2 posted 03-27-2014 02:08 AM

1 & 2: expired patents.
2: research if you want to know.
3: Depends on the specific product.

View swirt's profile


2659 posts in 2940 days

#3 posted 03-27-2014 02:21 AM

Often they look the same because they are made by the same company (same offshore factory) and in some cases branded differently.

-- Galootish log blog,

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915 posts in 2062 days

#4 posted 03-27-2014 03:43 PM

So there is essentially one source for these things? That explains a lot. Perhaps the design is patented and the patent holder licenses the design out to one factory.

View ddockstader's profile


155 posts in 3230 days

#5 posted 03-27-2014 07:21 PM

Patenting a jig is like patenting a wheel. The purpose of a patent is for something that is unique, not something that does essentially the same thing as many other things. And patents are not foolproof. The U.S. Patent Office issued a patent several years ago for some swiveling handles to attach to a wheelbarrow. At the same time they inadvertently issued the patent for the wheelbarrow, a tool that’s been around for thousands of years.

View MrRon's profile


4720 posts in 3212 days

#6 posted 03-27-2014 07:23 PM

They are copies in the same sense as a saw is a copy of any othersaw; they all perform the same function and there are just so many ways of doing it. They all have a clamping device, a handle and are guided by a groove in the saw table; all common elements.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4907 posts in 3929 days

#7 posted 03-27-2014 08:57 PM

I just made mine.


View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 2215 days

#8 posted 03-27-2014 09:28 PM

It’s like ddockstader said; why reinvent the wheel? You’ll see a lot of this similarity in power tools. The Ridgid R4512 has a couple clones, and many 9” bandsaws are similar. Harbor Freight carries several tools identical to bigger brands, but those bigger brands will often have better quality control, which is the main difference.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

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5849 posts in 3554 days

#9 posted 03-27-2014 09:30 PM

Lots of lower end Chinese-Indian machines have very similar base shaped designs.Companies sometimes make minor visual adjustments apart of course from the obvious paint jobs graphics etc.We have a company here in the UK who go out to China and order their own stuff in their own livery colours graphics etc , and at the same time make their own sometimes quite major adjustmants to improve the overall quality as it carries their company name .Maybe bigger better electric motors,switches, finishing to be more perfected as well as a host of other similar adjustments at the order stage.I buy from them sometimes knowing that the end product is of a significant higher quality than their competitors.I suppose this is done by USA companies too Grizzly perhaps as well as others but I could not say for sure. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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915 posts in 2062 days

#10 posted 03-27-2014 11:18 PM

Grizzly is pretty open about most of their stuff being made in Taiwan. There’s got to be several ways of making an iron tenoning jig, however.

The good thing I’ve found so far is that the instructions from different manufacturers apply pretty much verbatim to the Rockler version I have. I’m still trying to figure out how to be sure I get a tenon exactly 1/2 inch in size….

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915 posts in 2062 days

#11 posted 03-28-2014 01:08 AM

If anyone’s curious I think the tenon jig I linked to is based on a jig made by Delta, which at one point was owned by Rockwell Manufacturing. I think the original thingy was made by Rockwell.

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