Woodworking Jigs- Key to Accurate Cuts

If you are a seasoned woodworker, chances are you know what jigs are and rely on them to make your task much easier and faster, but if you are a beginner, you may have heard the magical term but don’t know what they are or how to make one. So let me take your through the daunting task of understanding jigs and share some of the simplest jigs I made.

First things first, what is a jig? And here is what the definition says,

“In manufacturing or in woodworking, it is important to maintain precision in repetitive task and a Jig helps you to do that. jigs make you job easier, faster, safer and provides great result.”

Some people also call it templates or guides. They ensure that cuts are ensure that cuts are straight, holes are plumb, and parts are square. Jigs are worth the time it takes to make them because you’ll use them repeatedly for years.  You can make your own in a wood shop or even buy a ready-made one.

Now, coming to the jigs I made, I am going to talk about two of the jigs- the first one is a router jig for dado and rabbets cuts and the other is a jig that is used to make 60 degrees cut. I will take you through the process and some pictures and a video to help you understand how you can make yours and how to use it. So let’s get started.

Router jig to make perfect dado and rabbets

Making accurate dado and rabbet is a very time consuming process and that can effect the strength of the joint. To make this task easier, I made a simple jig.

Router Jig- How to make it? 

This is the image of my jig:

Amazed to see how simple it is? You can use it with both Plunge Router and Trim Router.

To make this, all you need is a rectangle scrap piece of wood.  Mine is  8” long and 4” wide, all you need to make sure that one of the edge is at 90°.

Now use fence on the one side of your wood piece (the same side which is at exact 90°) and make a cut with any router and a straight router bit in it, using fence as your guide line.

See the picture below to make the cut and don’t forget to put a scrap wood piece under you work piece so that you won’t damage your work bench. And that’s about it.  Your jig is ready!

How to use it

  • First you need to mark the thickness of your desire dado on the work piece.
  • Now put the jig on the top of your mark, you will be able to see the mark from the top of your jig through the cut you made.
  • Now follow the video below to know how to use this simple jig to make a perfect dado. You can use the same process to make your own rabbets as well.

How does it work? 

The cut we have made on our jig is basically telling us how broad the base of our router is from one end to the bit so that you can fix the fence on the basis of how far is the edge (the one which was exact a 90°) of the jig from the cut we made on the jig.

A jig to make 60° mitre cut

If you have ever made mitre cuts using power tools, you must have noticed that these tools only allow you to make mitre cuts upto 45°. Then what do you do when you have to make a cut about 45 degrees?

I had the same roadblock when I was working on one of my projects and so came up with a very simple jig.

How to make it?

With this jig you can make 60° miter cut and applying the same logic you can make jigs for any angle above 45 degrees too.

All you need to do is take any decent piece of wood approx. 2” wide  and mitre cut one edge of the wood piece at 30° using mitre saw.

And then cut the other edge at 0° like the image below.

And that’s it your jig is ready!

How to use it? 

The first step to use make 60° miter cut with this jig is-Adjust your miter saw at 30° and place the jig (with the edge that we had cut on 0°) against the fence and clamp you jig so that it won’t move. Now place the wood piece you need the 60° cut against the jig (with the edge that we had cut on 30°), you will be able to cut your piece at 60°!

Here is the video that shows you how to use the jig as well!

I have made more jigs like this- cross-cut sled jig is one of them. Makes my life as a woodworker so much easier. You can make yours too by making simple jigs such as these or trying your hand at something like a a cross-cut sled.

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