Friday, January 16, 2009

Preparing to Make Jigs

I decided that the first thing I needed to make was a set of jigs to help me get things straight and right. Jigs like a crosscut sled so my corners would be exactly 90° and another that would let me cut keys in the corners of boxes by holding them at 45° to the table saw blade. I also saw a plan for a drill press table that I decided to build. So the first thing I did, then, was to lay in supplies for jig making.

I wanted to make them all out of 1/2" Baltic plywood, which because it is 9-ply is very stable and smooth. I decided I would be using a lot of this over the coming months and planned to get two 60"X60" sheets (which is the way it comes). I also needed some 1/4" hardboard for the top and bottom facings for the drill press table so planned to get a 4'X8' sheet of that. And just for good measure, I ordered a 4'X8' sheet of 1/8" plywood that I could cut into patterns for later use in cutting various shapes.

Fortunately, Heritage Hardwoods is located only about 5 miles from me and they either stock or were able to order in all these items for me. Unfortunately, after waiting through nearly a week of rainy weather for a dry day to pick up my wood, it turned out to be bitterly cold and very windy the day I drove to Heritage Hardwoods. I got my wood alright, but my hands were frozen stiff by the time I had tied the sheets on the top of my car. And in the high, gusty winds, I think I was lucky to get home with my wood intact despite limiting my speed to 25 mph.

The other thing I needed was material for runners that would run in the miter slots of the table saw. I've viewed a DVD with instructions on how to make runners out of straight-grained hardwood, but decided to use UHMW, a slick kind of plastic that comes in the right width for the miter slots (3/4") and can be ripped to the correct depth. I ordered that from Woodcraft.

Finally, I needed some miter slots, T-bolts and screw handles for my drill press table. I also got these from Woodcraft.

So now I'm ready to dive in and make those jigs! I'll report on how that goes once I get into it.


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