The average do-it-yourself homeowner has only had to experience once cutting or drilling without a jig to know the value of a good woodworking jig. It makes for a frustrating experience when holes get drilled too deeply or picture frame moulding doesn’t square up during the final gluing and nailing stages. Then, of course, there have been the disastrous routing or dovetail cuts that just don’t measure up in the end. The solution to this and any woodworking problem is to have the right jig available.
Jigs do not need to be fancy or expensive. Often you can create your own jig for smaller jobs. However, if you are a steady hobbyist or use woodworking in your profession, it is well worth investing in a good assortment of jigs. The time savings alone is worth it, but you will also save countless dollars in ruined wood.
The Short List of Jigs Long on Performance
If you only have a few basic items to add to your workshop this year, consider the following short list of must-have jigs.
A dowel jig, for example, allows you to cut dowel holes to precision diameters and widths. This is ideal in furniture making where dowels can hold together drawer fronts to the frame or for inserting tight-fitting legs into tables and chairs.
Another furniture making jig you must have is the dovetail jig. Dovetail jigs give drawers the professional touch. If you have ever looked at a bureau that is at least 50 or more years old, you will see that the old way of doing things was to dovetail drawers. These fine pieces of furniture are around today for a reason! Dovetailing drawers makes them durable and keeps them functioning for decades, even centuries. Couple your dovetail jig with a dovetail job, and you can create furniture like the masters of long ago.
Router jigs can support wood as it passes through the saw creating the fine, even ornate detailing of truly professional woodworking projects. The bevelled edges of table tops and drawer faces are created accurately for each side of the wood using a router jig.
Kreg – The Leader in Jig Creations
The Kreg jig is a fine example of form meeting function.
The Kreg set usually come with face clamps to support these precision drill jigs. With the Kreg jig you can drill to specific depths and hole sizes for perfectly fitting matches.
One trick to use if you don’t have a jig on hand in the middle of a drilling job is functional, if not fancy. Try taping a thick band of masking tape around the drill bit at the desired depth. Then as you are drilling you will be able to see where to stop putting on the pressure. It works, even though it isn’t quite as precise! That kind of quick solution is fine if you are just doing the occasional woodworking job, but for less frustration (it can be hard to get the gooey tape off the drill bit) and more precision, professional grade jigs are the only way to go.