Favorite power-tool jigs for woodworkers
We put together a collection of power-tool jigs that our readers consistently call game-changers.
It’s safe to say that most woodworkers are natural tinkerers. You hand them a tool, and they’re going to try and personalize it, or modify it to work best for them. Jigs can be as simple as a block of wood with a screw in it, like one of Bob Van Dyke’s stop blocks, but they make woodworking more accurate and safe. In turn, that tends to make woodworking more enjoyable.
The following articles and videos are the ones that our readers consistently call game-changers. We think you’ll find one or two that will make you wonder how you worked efficiently without them.
The rip fence is an integral part of your tablesaw’s functionality, but its abilities are somewhat limited. That’s why Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking director Bob Van Dyke created his own auxiliary rip-fence system. This clever tablesaw add-on fits over his stock rip fence, allowing him to maximize the saw’s potential.
The bandsaw shines for many woodworking jobs, but if you ask Brian Boggs, its greatest potential is revealed when you use it with a template to cut curves. Equipped with a properly set up saw and using the techniques described here, you’ll make repeatable, glue-joint-quality bandsawn cuts that don’t require cleanup with a router. Boggs gives tips on sawing freehand, how to make a template that includes a “follower” to steady the cut, and how to cut true, large-radius arcs.
Contributing editor Michael Fortune shows us the clever low fence that he keeps on all of his bandsaws to make sure that switching to a low fence takes mere seconds, not minutes. His fence hooks onto the back of his regular fence, and a magnet on the front mates up to a screw embedded in the front that is always at the ready.
Track saws are equally at home in the workshop and on the job site. Ben Strano shows how to build a table that will make the track saw your go-to tool for crosscutting panels that are too big for your tablesaw.
Improve the accuracy of tablesawn crosscuts with stop blocks. Simple but effective, stop blocks ensure that identical parts end up identical lengths, and that corresponding joinery ends up in the right spots. Bob Van Dyke uses three stops regularly: a flip stop for most cuts, an adjustable stop for pinpoint accuracy, and sliding stop that makes it safer to cut short parts.