If you have a table saw, you know that it works perfectly to rip up long pieces. But did you also know that the table saw can crosscut a big piece of wood with the same accuracy and ease?
All it needs is a table saw jig. A table saw jig could ride in the miter gauge slot, and it also has a fence that is mounted precisely 45 or 90 degrees to the blade. This will enable accurate 45 degree or square cuts.
For professional-level woodworking, you don’t always need a multi-thousand-dollar table saw. This type of thinking is really outdated. Think smart. There are a lot of ways you can get accurate and clean results.
One of them is by making jigs. There are a lot of table-saw jigs out there, and most of them are custom made by woodworkers. Here, we will show you just one of them that I think every woodworker should start with.
It’s simple, efficient, and doesn’t take a lot of time to build. By using this one, you can get better results on a table saw. It doesn’t matter if it is your own table saw or a table saw on the job site.
Making A Table Saw Jig
In this article, we are going to show you how you can make a quick table saw jig to get working right away. These jigs will come in handy a lot of the time, so make sure you pay attention to what we are about to show you.
In this step, you need to gather the necessary materials; you can take a high-quality birch or a flat piece of plywood. The tricky part of making this is cutting the runners, which can slide smoothly into the tracks, and shaping the fence exactly square to your blade.
Begin by cutting some plywood strips for the stiffener, blade cover, and front fence. Cut them to ¼ inches wider and ½ inches longer than your finished size to allow room for trimming.
Now spread some wood glue on the mating faces and hold them together. Clamp the faces onto a smooth flat surface like the top part of the table saw. Keep the layers lined up while clamping them.
After 20 minutes or so, remove the hardened glue and then run these pieces through your table saw, removing around ¼ inches. Mark your shapes on the parts and saw these out with a jigsaw. Also, use a belt sander to smooth the curves.
The second step is to slice the runners from the hardwood strips. If you have a regular ¾ inches wide miter gauge slots, then plane or sand a 1x 3 hardwood piece of the board until it glides smoothly in the slots.
Then rip these strips from the hardwood board, which are about 1/6 inches slimmer than the depth of your slot. To attach the strips to your jig base, rest your runners on few pennies to elevate its top edge a little above the surface of your saw.
Now apply a thin layer of glue on the center of the top of your runners. Use the wood glue on the base of them and use your table saw fence to hold it. Make sure that the edge is farthest from your fence and overhangs your table saw by 2 inches.
After the glue has set for about 20 minutes, remove the assembly from your table saw and scrape the excess glue off the bottom of the base and the edges of your runners.
You also need to remove any glue that has seeped inside the slots of your table saw. Slide your jig backward and forwards in the slots. If it is not sliding smoothly, check the runners for areas that have been hardened by the metal rubbing on the wood.
For this, you can use a spray adhesive to tie a piece of 80 grit sandpaper on a square-edged piece of wood and then sand the blackened areas to remove the little wood. Keep repeating this process until the sled is able to slide freely.
Use the glue and then nail the stiffener to the base’s front edge. Be careful to keep the screws away from the way of your table saw blade. Now set your table saw blade to ¾ inches high and move the base inside the blade.
You have to stop cutting when you get 3 inches inside the back of your base. Switch off your saw and let it come to rest before you remove the jig. Position your fence on your base’s back edge and then drive a nail into its right end.
Next, square your fence with your blade. Lift the blade and push a framing square on it, then turn the fence with a single screw on one end. Lastly, clamp the opposite end when your fence is square to your blade.
Now that the clamp is securely in place, set 12 inches or larger plywood scrap piece on the jig and slice it into two parts. Test the precision of your jig by turning one side of the scrap cut over and moving the newly cut edge on the other half.
If these two pieces are perfectly fit, then the jig is cutting squarely so you can nail three more screws in your fence to hold it securely in place. Or else you can tap the fence’s clamped end by using a hammer to nudge your fence a little.
Perform another test cut and repeat this procedure until you have the perfect cut. And then you can add the screws.
The last step of making a table saw jig is an easy one. All you have to do is add the stop blocks. With your blade half covered by the blade cover and half by your fence, drive a block to the bottom part of your sled.
Use some carriage bolts to tie another stop block to your table saw bed. Installing the stop blocks will prevent the blade from slicing through your blade cover.
A Finishing Touch
If you make furniture on the job site, you will know by now that the table saws most job sites provide aren’t typically known for their precision—time for a change. The jig shown here will allow you to get fine furniture results out of a job site table saw.
Before you try out your new jig, make sure the table saw is dialed in properly. What I mean by that is that you will need to properly set up the table saw first. It’s a topic for another day, but you can find tons of instructions online about it. If you ask me, I will say it is pretty straightforward.
Table saws are great on their own for making a wide variety of cuts, but if you want to up your woodworking game, then you must learn how to make a table saw jig.
This procedure will help you make a sturdy jig for your table saw. Table saw jigs can help you get professional results out of a job site table saw. And that concludes our article on how to make a table saw jig.