Anyone who has done any woodworking during their lifetime will know that a lot of woodworking is all about the jigs that can be made. I have seen jigs made for one purpose and one use only and other jigs for multi uses that have been used over and over again for years and years.
The jig we are making today fits in the latter category. A jig with more than one use that will provide years and years of excellent, time saving and accurate usage.
The purpose of the jig is to (1) make tapered legs, as is often seen in a variety of tables and (2) to trim boards that have curved or rough edges so they can be easily jointed or sawn on the table saw ... and who knows what other uses may crop up over time.
Then jig is a simple one and you can make it any sizes you want. I made mine 4' long and 16" wide. The reason for the 16" is that I seldom get boards wider than about 10" and these would easily be accommodated on the jig and it would still allow for a nice balance on my table saw. The material I selected for base was ...
plain old MDF (medium density fiberboard). This man-made wood is stable, flat and fairly inexpensive, and often available in 1/4 sheets, so you could pick up a 2' x 4' piece that would work fine.
I also needed some hardware, specifically some 3/4 "T" track material. This is usually aluminum and is made so that with use of a T-Bold or similar, the bolt will be held fast in the track ... ideal for clamping and holding which is what we want to do.
Once you have the MDF base parallel and square, time to cut the dados for the 3/4" T-Track. The track wants to fit snugly in the dados and level or slightly under level the surface of the base. The positioning of these is important if you want to use the jig for tapered legs. Normally for something like this we would work out a math formula that would evenly space the T-track across the base, but in this case that's not really important, what is important is that at least 2 of the tracks are spaced around the 30" apart range. The reason for this is that most tables have a standard height of between 28 and 32 or so inches (depending on use of the table). Based on that knowledge, you can space your tracks where you think you will get the most use from them.
The track I purchased was ribbed and also had countersunk holes for screws. I used ordinary yellow glue to glue the tracks in because if I want to use the tracks later on for something else, or re-do the jig for some reason it is much easier to remove yellow glue that 5-minute epoxy ... and the yellow glue is holding the T-track just fine.
When putting the track in place you need to make sure that the track does NOT extend beyond either side of the base. I also used the countersunk holes to fasten my track firmly to the MDF.
After the track has been glued and is hard, basically the jig is done. The only other things you need to add are what ever you want to use for attachments for it. I purchased a couple of Incra hold-down clamps, which could also easily be made from a hardwood. I also make a couple of stop-blocks from some large doweling I had on hand. I like the round stops better than the square because they never go askew so I always know where the stop is.
My Incra hold-down clamps came with some nice plastic knobs, but wing-nuts from the hardware store would work just as good.
I will be sorry to see my collection of taper legs being dis-assembled and used for other things. I discovered I actually have 4 of them, and collectively they take up about the same space as this new jig that will give me years and years of use for a variety of projects I have in mind ...
Copyright Colin Knecht