Jig Design Enabled with SketchUp
Judging by the high number of articles and blogs on jig design, there must be considerable woodworker time and effort in making shop helpers or jigs. Just as SketchUp is used for design and construction of furniture, it is also very effective in creating these helpful shop auxiliary tools.
For years, I’ve needed a proper adjustable hold down mechanism for glued-up box or drawer assemblies. The dovetail joints on these assemblies are difficult to fix on the workbench while cleaning up with the hand plane. I recently decided to make a contraption to help with this problem.
Fortunately, my bench is modeled in SketchUp, and that helps with the detail design of the adjustable hold-down mechanism. As shown in the video below, I start the design by bringing into view the workbench and a typical dovetailed box to be planed.
In my device, the adjustment is accomplished by perforated rails (multiple spaced holes) and wooden pegs. The equal spaced holes can be placed in SketchUp by using a “Repeated Element” feature. After copying one hole to a new location, I type 14x and immediately there are 14 holes placed at 1 1/4-in. spacing. This can save some time.