About Router Jigs

Written by jay p. whickson
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About Router Jigs
(Michael E Whicker)

Router jigs help you guide the router so you get repeatable designs with as little effort as possible. They can be as simple as a "T" made as a straight edge guide or complicated to create elaborate designs on moulding. Most router jigs are homemade. You can use jigs to dado, dovetail, cut circles or use for mortising.


You can create jigs for about any job you use a router to do. There are simple jigs you can create to plane and level surfaces that simply require two L-shaped wood tracks. Use a simple "T" formation to create a jig that guides your router in a straight line. The significance of the jig is to help you guide the router in the path you intended and reproduce the exact design you wanted. When you create the jig and route along the path you created it to follow, you eliminate the worry that you'll waste good stock with an error.


You can make a simple edge guide from two pieces of plywood. This jig allows you to make dado cuts easily. All you need is one 1/4-inch board for the base and a 3/4-inch board for the guide. Take a measurement from the edge of your router bit to the side of the router. You'll cut the guide board in that far. Connect the two boards together with screws and clamp it onto the board you're going to dado and the table. Dado with ease knowing you'll have the perfect surface.


Make an adjustable circle cutting jig with just a 15-inch by 6-inch board, two dowels, some screws and a little labour. Cut the board into five equal pieces. Slide the dowels into the holes at the router base and centre one of the pieces. Mark the holes. Bore a hole into the marked spots put glue on the ends of the dowels and insert them into the holes. Set your stock on the surface and secure it with the other four pieces of board. Mark the centre of the stock and attach the block with the dowels. Adjust the dowels in the router to the radius of the circle and tighten down the screws in the base of the router to hold it into place. This easy adjustable jig to cut circles in any diameter.


Perhaps you don't want to make your own jig for more complicated jobs like box joints. There's commercial jigs you can buy for these router cuts. The same jigs also make rebate cuts, dados and when you use a dovetail bit, does dovetail joints. Once you make the first cut you simply line up the jig and it spaces the cuts perfectly. The cost is minimal when you consider what your time is worth.


If you're just starting out you might consider a jig kit. The kit allows you to make a huge amount of different types of jigs both special purpose and common. You receive built in panels that come precut and drilled and connects with all of the components. Best of all, you not only get all the parts for various jigs, you also get jig plans when you buy. This takes a lot of the unnecessary work out of building your own jig and supplies you with everything necessary to fill most of your needs.


Buy a jig for installing locks. If you're a professional builder or install doors or locks for a living, then a jig for the knob, lock and lock pockets makes your work go quickly. There's a jig for just about every part of the door, including hinges.


Create your own signs with lettering jigs. If you want to use your router to create innovative signs for sale or gifts, the lettering template is just right for you. The cost is minimal and already to use. All you have to do is follow the pattern and your router makes you the sign making expert.

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