Homemade tablesaw jigs

Written by michael straessle
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Homemade tablesaw jigs
Table saw jigs are for making special cuts. (man sawing a piece of wood image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com)

One of the best features of a table saw is quite inconspicuous. The grooves in the top of the table saw, known as mitre gauge slots, present an opportunity for the owner to create jigs for just about anything. Labelled as sleds, homemade table saw jigs slide over the blade using the mitre gauge slots as guides. Create a picture framer jig or one that will cut any angle you need precisely. Combine a homemade jig with a set of dado blades to make your own dental wood moulding.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Table saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Scrap wood
  • 1 piece 24-by-24-by-3/4-inch medium density fiberboard
  • Framing square
  • Wood glue
  • Variable speed drill
  • Phillips head screw tip
  • 1-inch wood screws, small box
  • Damp cloth
  • Combination square
  • 1-by-2-inch lumber
  • 1 1/4-inch wood screws, small box
  • 1-by-4-inch lumber
  • 1 1/2-inch wood screws, small box

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the distance between the grooves in the top of the table saw and the blade and write them down. Next, measure the width of the grooves as well as the depth and write them down.

  2. 2

    Cut two pieces of wood from scrap that match the width and depth of the grooves with the table saw. Lay the medium density fiberboard on a worktable. Make a mark at 12 inches from one side. Place the framing square on the mark and draw a line across the material.

  3. 3

    Set the medium density fiberboard against the fence of the table saw with the line parallel to it. Adjust the fence until the line centres on the blade and set the fence so it won't move. Turn the saw on and cut 8 inches of the line, turn the saw off and back the material out. This is the jig top.

  4. 4

    Put the end of a measuring tape in the cut and make a mark equal to the distance between the blade and the groove that you wrote down earlier. Repeat this for the other groove. Place the framing square on the marks and draw lines across the material. These lines represent the placement of the two pieces of wood that fit into the grooves on the table saw top.

  5. 5

    Apply glue to the strips and secure them to the jig top with 1-inch wood screws. Clean up the excess glue immediately with a damp cloth. Turn the jig over so the strips are on the bottom.

  6. 6

    Draw lines on a 45-degree angle from the centre cut with a combination square. Secure a 1-by-2 on the lines with 1 1/4-inch wood screws to make the jig cut 45-degree angles. Cut other angles by drawing a line representing the angle and moving 1-by-2s to the lines.

  7. 7

    Stand a 24-inch 1-by-4 on its narrow side and secure it to the side of the jig perpendicular to the blade with 1 1/2-inch wood screws. Repeat this on the opposite side. Put the jig in the grooves and make a pass through the blade. This jig cuts moulding that is too wide for an electric mitre saw.

Tips and warnings

  • Secure a piece of wood perpendicular to the blade to help push and pull on the jig.
  • Wax the table saw top with beeswax or candle wax to make the sled slide easier.
  • Never set the blade of a table saw any higher than needed to make the cut.
  • Always protect your eyes with safety goggles.

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