Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jigs and more jigs

When it comes to woodworking "projects", I think I've made more jigs and fixtures for my table saw than anything else. My biggest project so far was definitely my router table, but it always seems that after I'm done making something, I use the scraps to build some jigs for next time.

After my router table was finished, I had some plywood left over, so I make a tenoning jig that rides on my rip fence and also a tapering jig so I can make tapered legs and stuff. Both of those were fairly straightforward and didn't require too much in terms of construction. I'm still waiting to use these two jigs, but since my next project (a nightstand) will require tapered legs and use mortise and tenon joinery, those are going to be put to the test soon.

Since I finished up my cabinet for my cat, I again had some plywood left over. This time I made up two box joint jigs. One cuts 3/8" fingers and the other cuts 1/4" fingers. I figured for my projects, that's pretty much all I'd need. I guess if I make a big project that needs it, I could put together a 1/2" finger version, but I don't think I need it yet, and I'm running out of scrap plywood.

Making this jig was fairly simple, so it didn't take me more than an hour and a half total to make both of them. The hardest part was setting up my dado set for the right sized cut. The Oshlun dado set I have cuts great, but it does have the slight annoyance of being designed slightly undersized. I realized this when I bought it and I didn't think too much of it because I figured I'd be cutting more plywood than anything else. Luckily for me, the set does come with a fair amount of shims, and so getting the right size groove dialed in wasn't too difficult.

I made some test cuts, and it looks like everything will work out fine. I'm trying to think of some kind of project I could use this on, and I'm thinking some small projects for my fiancee's desk at school may be the place to give these a test run.

I also sent my Diablo blade off to Dynamic Saw for sharpening, so I had to pick up another blade in the meantime. I got an Irwin Marples 50T combination blade. I think I'll do some comparisons when my Diablo comes back. So far, I love the way the Marples cuts. It's just as good, if not better than the Diablo. It cut through the maple I used for the jig keys much easier than my Diablo blade did and didn't burn nearly as much. Of course, my Diablo blade is a year and a half old and it's only been cleaned, not sharpened. I'm sure it's not as sharp as it used to be considering how much plywood and MDF I cut with it. For the price, I probably should have bought a new blade, but since I like the way my Diablo blade performs, it will be nice to have two good blades, and if I like the sharpening, I'll probably send my chop saw blade off too since that blade is even older than my table saw blade and I've cut a lot of stuff with it.

I'm looking into getting a new miter gauge since I'd like to have a better one. Since the locking knob on my stock gauge broke about a week or so after I got the saw and I had to make a custom knob, I've been looking into getting something better. That Osborne EB-3 is looking good to me and my birthday is coming up...

Jigs ready to go.

3/8" test in scrap MDF
1/4" test in scrap 1/2" plywood.

Ready for action! Probably should clean up the work area too...