Woodworking Jigs

Use the right woodworking jig in your workshop

Every woodworker uses jigs in his workshop to make daily life easier. Especially for precise or repetitive work a woodworking jig is indispensable.

In this section of inside woodworking , we cover all sorts of jigs used in a workshop. From simple wooden guides and homemade jigs, to advanced, sophisticated woodworking jigs and attachments.

To categorize jigs for woodworking, let’s have a look at where and how these jigs are used:

Different Woodworking Jigs Listed by Machine/Tool

Router Jigs

Dovetails with inlay cut on Leigh D4R woodworking jigDovetail Jig : One of the most common woodworking jigs is the dovetail jig. Cutting out perfect dovetails for drawers or cabinets is done with a template (usually steel or cast) . A guide bush leads the router along the template allowing the cutter do do the socket and pin cut out. Dovetail jigs range for simple fixed template (DIY-type) jigs to highly sophisticated jigs, like the Leigh Dovetail jig which allow among other things variable spacing of dovetail and socket, making the final joint look like fully hand made.

Box Joint Jig: Cutting box or finger joints with a woodworking jig, is one of the most basic applications. Hereby the router guided along a template cuts out the straight sockets, leaving the workpiece with a perfect laid out and spaced “square” joint layout. Commercial box joint woodworking jigs are available from a variety of suppliers like : Porter-Cable , Festo or Leigh.

Kitchentop Jig: Very heavy duty and usually high precision, a good kitchentop jig cuts laminated or corian(R) kitchentop at its corners where long – to – cross connections are needed. In case the corner part of a kitchentop can not be cut in the workshop using a CNC router, a kitchentop jig is a rather inexpensive alternative.

Stair or stair case jigs: In its simplest form a stair case jig is a template clamped to the side of a stair workpiece. The guide bush of the router runs along the template allowing the cutter to cut out exactly the inset for the later stair part. More sophisticated stair case woodworking jigs, like e.g. the Scheer stair case jig are made out of a solid steel frame where a heavy duty router is fully guided to do the high precision cut outs.

Mortise and Tenon Jig: It is certainly a more advanced jig in woodworking. The mortise and tenon jig is mainly used in “frame – type” woodworking applications to get perfect frame joints. Most of these jigs work with the workpiece clamped underneath a table, with the router (guided by a guide bush system) cutting from above the table the mortise and the tenon part. Most commonly known suppliers of mortise and tenon jigs are Trend and Leigh with the FMT jig.

Letterbox Woodworking Jig: A very simple but frequently found jig is the letterbox cutout jig. It allows the router to do the cutout of a letterbox. Usually adjustable in width and length of the cut, it adapts exactly to the letterbox hardware (usually a metal frame).


Table Saw Jigs

Box or Finger Joint in OakBox Joint Jig: As with a router, box joints can easily be cut with a table saw. Using the sliding table or mitre gauge, a finger joint jig (as a box joint jig is often referred to) allows for precision cuts using a flat teeth cutter blade instead of a circular saw blade.

Insert Cutting Jig: A “must have” jig and safety device for every woodworker who needs to cut inserts into a table saw. It usually consist of a adjustable stop block for precise insert cuts. It also prevents any kickback and guides workpiece perfectly along the rip fence.


Wood Shaper or Spindle Moulder Jig

Cross Cut Jig: Not precisely a jig by definition, but it allows cross cutting on a wood shaper, in case you do not have a sliding table (which most moulder’s do not have). A cross cut jig, allows the workpieces be pushed exactly 90° along the parallel fence of the moulder. It can be used for many woodworking cuts, from simple box or finger joint cuts (with multiple cutters at the same time), to mortise and tenon “head” cuts. This woodworking jig usually permits the workpiece to be clamped and fixed safely whilst cutting.


Band Saw Woodworking Jig

Circle or Ellipse Cutting Jig: One of the most common woodworking jigs is the cross cutting or bow cutting jig for a band saw or/and a wood shaper. Depending on how versatile you construct it, the jig can be used to cut out circles or bow shaped pieces. Usually the rough cut out is done using the jig on a band saw , with afterward doing the fine/shape cut on a wood shaper. Most frequently circle cutting jigs provide a fixed pin next to the blade, where the workpiece is rotating to guarantee a high precision round cut. Commercial circle cutting jigs, can often be modified to cut elliptical shapes as well.


In the following we will cover most of these woodworking jigs individually with featured articles:


Box Joint Jig

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A box joint jig is a vital part of equipment in any workshop. Woodworking box joints are box joints that are square interlocking fingers that join two pieces at a right angle. A jig does not only saves time and …

Discovering Dovetail Jigs

Dovetail jigs can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like. It all depends on serious you are about your dovetail jig and how often you are going to use it. Some dovetail jigs are designed to cut all …