Size Turnings with a Gate Jig
In “Shaker Side Table” in FWW #239, Christian Becksvoort used a “gate jig” to size elements on the pedestal. Is it better than using a parting tool and a pair of calipers?
Clark Shellotte, Augusta, GA
The gate jig, or “sizing tool,” is made by Robert Sorby and works the same as using calipers and a parting tool. But it is more efficient because it combines the two into one tool, eliminating the need to pick up and put down calipers. It lets you turn and measure at the same time, making it the most efficient tool for tasks that need consistent sizing, like making long cylinders.
To use it, rough out your turning and leave it slightly larger than the diameter that you want. Then attach the jig to a 3/8-in.-wide parting tool and set it to the final diameter you’d like, measuring between the tip of the parting tool and the tip of the jig.
Start the cut as you normally would, with the parting tool on the tool rest, and bring the tip of the gate jig down to the workpiece. Then slowly lower the tool into the cut, making sure the tip of the gate jig stays in contact with the wood. You’ve reached the final size when the parting tool stops cutting and slips below the center point of the blank.
Set it, then cut. Slide the jig onto the parting tool, adjust it to the correct diameter…
…and tighten the thumbscrews to lock it in. Bring the gate jig tip into contact first, then gradually lower the parting tool to begin the cut.