As I mentioned in my ladder toy post, I needed to rip a bunch of thin strips to the same width, so I made a quick thin-rip jig. The problem with the jig in that post was that to hold the dimension I used an expanding miter slot bar. It held the width measurement, but I couldn’t move the jig out of the way when I was making the cut. This didn’t immediately strike me as a problem, until I actually tried to rip a piece with the jig locked in place. The jig caused so much friction that I had to really push the wood through the saw. I figured that this was a really good way to cause an accident. I needed to redesign the jig. What follows is my process for making the first jig and the modifications I made to make it work better.
I made the jig to fit my table saw, so I measured how long I’d need to make the adjustment slot by placing a piece of 1/2″ scrap plywood against the blade and marking the middle of the miter slot. Then I flipped the piece over and marked the middle of the miter slot again.
Using a 3/8″ straight bit I routed out a slot between the two lines on my router table. If I’m not using the dust collection on the fence, I like to close the gap completely and center it over the bit, then I can use the vertical line as a guide.
I had some 3/4″ oak thick strips I cut from a 3/4″ board lying around, these are usually the perfect size for the miter slot. I cut off a section that was as long as the top guide so I’d be able to fold the jig up and store it easily.
Here’s a picture of the jig folded up ready to be stored until I need it again. While I could have used a normal 5/16″ T-handle, I made some of my own out of some scrap oak, 3/4″ dowel, 5/16″ nuts, and epoxy, I had lying around. I think it gives the jig a very home-built feel. While it wasn’t very cost effective to make the first prototype, I plan on making a bunch in bulk so I never have to spend $3-4 per T-Handle again. Maybe I’ll show that process sometime.