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I am amazed at how many times I need to rip thin strips of wood ... for all sorts of things. Often they are shorter stips, less than 24 inches, but often I seem to make multiple versions of them, like when I am making banding and gluing together many small strips of wood. Then other times I am need a thin strip of wood to cover the edge of a board, like a shelf that I made from plywood and I want to cover the front of the plywood with a nice strip of natural wood. Many, many reasongs for cutting thin strips ...
I remember the first thin strip jig I ever made, it was quick and crude but it worked well until it got lost in the shuffle and probably ended up in another jig or some other project, which mean the next time I needed a thin strip I neede to re-make that jig all over again.
Later, after purchasing a pair of magnetic switches, I used them to make another version of the thin strip ripping jig. This version worked well, but it was a bit slower and you could rip almost any lenght of wood with it. That jig and article are featured here, and to see the part of the video, you need to move along to 6:50 in the video Thin Strip Jig
The new creation I am making in this episode is a different kind of ripping jig ...
To start off with you need flat, parallel block of wood such as 1.75" high, 3 - 4" wide and about 20" long (depending on your table saw, probably shorter if you table is one of the contractor types). You will also need to know what kind of material you want to use as backer material. I happened to have a buch of 3/8" thick material that I over cut for another project so using this for backer material means I can set the toggle clamps at one position and leave them there until I run out of backer material. You don't need to use toggle clamps, you could even use screws to attach your backer material or cut a slot into the very back of the board and just do a friction insertion of backer a backer strip. It depends how often you think you will use the jig and how much time you want to invest in the making of it.
One important thing you will need is a some sort of a hand hold. This could be a dowel inserted into your block of wood, or, like I made, a fabricated handle that is pocket holed into the block, but it is important to have something that you can get a good grip on that will keep you hands away from the blade because there is no way you can use the blade covering shields with sort of jig.
The assembly is pretty easy, I used 5 minute epoxy to glue my oak strip to the back of my main block, then backed up the epoxy with long screws into the wood. I wanted to make sure the oak would be solid on the back of the main block. Next I attached the 2 toggle clamps by pre-drilling and making sure they were lined up correctly and then adjusted correctly for the depth of wood i was using. The last thing to be attached was the main handle and I used pocket hole screws for this.
The only thing you need to check before using the jig is that it lays flat on the table saw and butts up evenly along the fence. If, by chance your end strip you glued extendes over on any of the sides, yout jig might wobble a bit as it rounds through the saw ... just something to check before you begin.
The only component you might find a bit harder to locate if you decide to use them are the mini toggle clamps. I am not sure where they might be locally available, I purchased mine from Bangood in China, the only source I could find.
I'm very happy with this jig, and even happier that I don't have to re-make it every few months which takes time and energy away from the flow of work on what ever I am working on. I am finding that making permanent jigs, when feasible, is far more productive, not to mention safer, then trying to make something up on the fly to fill the need at the time, and it's fun to do things like this and make them permanent fixtures that will give years of useful, consistent results.
Copyright Colin Knecht