Workshop Wednesdays - Cheap Tricks and other Useful Jigs archive
Wednesday 19 March 2014
Derek Jones applies a little make do and mend philosophy to create a few jigs that are quick to make, and light on the pocketError loading Partial View script (file: ~/Views/MacroPartials/cwsGalleryImages.cshtml)
In theory, it shouldn't be that difficult to process small components at the bench, but in reality this is often not the case and especially so when part-way through an installation. Achieving workshop accuracy away from the bench is something that can test the patience of the most experienced cabinetmaker and requires some lateral thinking. For the most part, the primary function of a jig is to hold the workpiece, large or small, securely in place while a specific operation is carried out. In varying degrees they introduce accuracy, safety and continuity to achieve results that would not be feasible to attempt freehand or by other means.
It's not uncommon to begin some projects with the construction of a complicated jig that will, in many respects, be far more complicated than the component required. The jigs that follow in this article benefit from a level of ingenuity matched only by their simplicity and, in some cases, will even fit in your pocket. Others can be put together using what's in your tool box or retrieved from the scrap pile. Quite often it's not the fix you get into that matters, it's the way you get out of it that counts. Thank you to those who have shared any of the following tips and saved my bacon.
Jig 1: panel pin or box nailThis is hardly a jig, I know, and it doesn't get any easier or cheaper than this. I saw Andy Ryalls from Phoenix Building Conservation demonstrating this little technique at the European Woodworking show last year. Using a Japanese plane, he managed to reduce a peg of soft wood to a mere slither using a single box nail as a stop.
Start by driving the nail into a flat, but sacrificial, bench top. The head of the box nail will cut into the end of the workpiece and hold it firm. Check the height of the nail every so often and adjust it with a gentle tap from a hammer. It requires a little nerve, especially if you've just sharpened your iron.
Veneer pins will work equally well but if you're feeling flush you might prefer to use a Japanese wooden nail or even a matchstick if you can find one. Youâ€™ll need to drill a pilot hole first of course and this only really works on thin material.
Jig 2: double-sided tapeNo workshop should be without a roll of double-sided tape. It's great for mounting templates to stock pieces for routing and for attaching short sections to a carrier board to pass through a thicknesser.
On thin pieces, roll the tape down onto the carrier before placing your workpiece onto it, aiming to get it as flat as possible. The feed rollers generate a lot of downward pressure so for very thin pieces that are likely to break when being removed from the tape, create a pair of stops with bevelled ends instead.