What are your most used jigs?

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Forum topic by DavidL41 posted 03-26-2015 04:59 PM 1694 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 1396 days

03-26-2015 04:59 PM

Im a beginner and want to know what jigs are must haves. What jigs do you use on a regular basis, which are ones that you use time to time but is a lifesaver.

I plan to use hand tools only.

My list:

Dove tail guide
Mortise and tenon guide
Miter box
saw guide

17 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile


3230 posts in 1716 days

#1 posted 03-27-2015 11:29 AM

First, a good sturdy, level and flat workbench with decent vises is THE most important tool.
I mention this because as beginners, we often underestimate the workbench.
It can be a simple bench made of 2×4’s and plywood, but you will soon find you need something more.

Now to your question:

IMO a shooting board is an absolute must.
You can make a combo shooting/miter if you want.
I usually use my shooting board for making crosscuts.

Next would be various jigs to hold work for planing, such as a plane stop, a saw stop, etc.

A chisel guide for finishing up through-mortises, haunched mortises or sliding dovetails, things like this.
I usually make them on the fly as needed from a simple block of wood.

If you do alot of dovetailing or joinery, and you’re an older guy like me with a so-so back, then I would also consider an elevated moxon vise such as the “Bench on Bench” or benchtop bench.

I know you’re a beginner, but why all the saw guides? You don’t need training wheels to learn to ride a bike, do you? IMO things like this are crutches and will keep you from developing the necessary hand-eye skills of a craftsman.

My suggestion is practice making cuts. You can draw lines if you want at first, but then just take a board and saw what you think is 90 degrees and check yourself. Soon you will develop the ability.

Same thing with dovetails and mortise/tenons. Take some scrap and practice. Throw them away when you’re done. Don’t wait till you have a project to learn a skill. If you make a good one, sign it and date it and take a picture and maybe nail it on the wall. I still have the first good blind dovetail I ever made. One day it might mean something to you.

Good luck and I’m glad you’re using hand tools. Its great, isn’t it?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2171 days

#2 posted 03-27-2015 12:05 PM

I just want to second the comment about the workbench being the MOST important tool. If you’re bending over to work on the ground all day long, you won’t like woodworking for very long… Don’t ask how I know that.

Also, to get philosophical, your shop is your other most important tool. Try to make it somewhere that is pleasant to be with good lighting, a view outside. I have found that my shop atmosphere greatly affects my mood in the shop.

I don’t have many jigs for handwork. I also do lots of joinery with powertools, so those jigs won’t really help you. I do have a dovetail guide a la David Barron, but I’ve found my tablesaw dovetail sled is more accurate.

Ok, back to regularly scheduled programming.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View BigMig's profile


471 posts in 2849 days

#3 posted 03-27-2015 06:27 PM

1. Workbench – bought a workbench top that came out of a school and added a support system based on an article in FW.

2. Crosscut sled for my table saw – used the Wood Whisperer’s video as a model. Excellent upgrade. LIGHT YEARS better than a miter guage.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View AlBThayer's profile


22 posts in 2521 days

#4 posted 03-30-2015 03:07 AM

While the work bench is an important tool. Lets give the OP what he is asking.

1) Table saw sled. A must build first fixture.

2) In my shop is a dovetail fixture to build drawers with. I simple fixture just for drawers.


-- I can fix anything. Just ask my grandkids.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5314 posts in 1956 days

#5 posted 03-30-2015 03:12 AM

I usually use sawhorse over my workbench. My most used jig has to be my tenoning jig for the tablesaw. I first built one from MDF and it worked ok, one Christmas my dad got me a Delta 34-184 and it’s been a dream to use vs. my cobbled together limited adjustability jig. The accuracy and safety offered by a good tenoning jig is a real asset for me in the shop.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View rustfever's profile (online now)


762 posts in 3546 days

#6 posted 03-30-2015 03:17 AM

The most important jig is the one you wish to use next. I have 25/30 jigs. Each is important. I make a new jig for most every new project.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View bbasiaga's profile


1242 posts in 2231 days

#7 posted 03-30-2015 03:46 AM

I use my straight cut guide for my circular saw to break down sheet goods, followed by my circle cutter for my router, and then my tapering jig for my table saw. Those are the only three jigs I have, and also the order in which they are most used.

I recently built an angle jig for my drill press so I can get angled holes. Haven’t tried it yet though. Soon. Next on the list is a cross cut sled probably. But I may pre-empt that with a jointing jig for my planer.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View TheFridge's profile


10815 posts in 1722 days

#8 posted 03-30-2015 04:08 AM

Table saw sled. Can’t say workbench cuz I’m still building it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1660 days

#9 posted 03-30-2015 03:14 PM

Thin strip rip guide.

-- Brad, Texas,

View DavidL41's profile


11 posts in 1396 days

#10 posted 03-30-2015 04:53 PM


View Notw's profile


677 posts in 1989 days

#11 posted 03-30-2015 05:39 PM

I get a lot of S2S lumber so a straight line rip jig get a lot of work in my shop

View TheGreatJon's profile


340 posts in 1469 days

#12 posted 03-30-2015 06:04 PM

+1 on the straight line rip jig

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2926 days

#13 posted 03-31-2015 12:30 AM

I thought he stated he’s a hand tool only guy? Most of the posted jigs are power tool jigs.

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

View CharlesA's profile


3358 posts in 2033 days

#14 posted 03-31-2015 12:37 AM

Hand tools only:
bench hooks

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View BroncoBrian's profile


875 posts in 2194 days

#15 posted 03-31-2015 02:33 AM

1. Workbench – bought a workbench top that came out of a school and added a support system based on an article in FW.

2. Crosscut sled for my table saw – used the Wood Whisperer s video as a model. Excellent upgrade. LIGHT YEARS better than a miter guage.

- BigMig

WOW! Thanks for mentioning that. Saw a crosscut sled at Woodcraft today. I am going to use Kreg sliders so I do not have an issue with cold winter air, but this project happens this weekend. Even ordering a digital gauge for it (and b/c I don’t have one yet).

Great video and a must have sled. Going to keep the size reasonable though so I can move/store it easily.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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