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3 Great Router Jigs
3 Great Router Jigs
Make your router a workshop workhorse.
by Tim Johnson
If you only use your router to rout decorative edges, you’re missing the boat. Your router can be the most versatile tool in your shop. The secret to unlocking your router’s potential is to use it with specialized jigs. A dovetail jig is a perfect example: With this jig, your router can do the same job as an expensive dovetailing machine.
Fortunately, you can make many useful router jigs in your shop without spending an arm and a leg. I’ll show you three simple jigs that will expand your woodworking capabilities by leaps and bounds: one for dadoing, one for mortising and one for making shelf pin holes. Although these jigs have been around since the dawn of routers, they’re indispensable additions to any woodworking shop.
This jig (Fig. A, below) takes the guesswork out of routing dadoes, because setting the exact width is virtually foolproof. Being able to tailor the dadoes’ width to precisely match the thickness of shelves is a real blessing when you’re building cabinets with hardwood plywood, which is always undersize in thickness.
This jig accommodates wood up to 24 in. wide. Its double T-square design guarantees dadoes that are square to the edges on both left and right cabinet sides. Positioning the jig couldn’t be easier—just line up the fixed fence with the top of each dado. This jig must be used with a pattern bit (see photo, left, and Sources, page 43). This combination is perfect for use with nominal 3/4-in.-thick plywood. It allows routing dadoes from 5/8 to 1-1/8 in. wide and up to 1/2 in. deep.
Make the Jig
1. Glue and screw the fixed fence (A) to the rails (B). Make sure the joints are perfectly square.
2. Rout the slots in the adjustable fence (C) on a router table, using the router table’s fence and a 5/16-in. straight bit.
3. Use the adjustable fence’s slots to locate the rails’ carriage bolt holes. Lay the fence on the jig, snug against the fixed fence and flush with the rails. Using a pencil, transfer the slot locations to the rails.
4. Drill and counterbore the holes.
5. Install the carriage bolts.
A pattern bit is a flush-trim bit with the bearing mounted on the shaft.
Use The Jig
Photo 1: Position the fixed fence on a line indicating the top of each dado. Always orient the jig with the fixed fence at the top of the workpiece. Make sure the jig’s rail is firmly seated against the edge. Then clamp both pieces to your bench.
Both rails are square to the fixed fence, so it doesn’t matter which rail registers the jig. Out of habit, though, I always register the jig against the front edge of the workpiece.