Rigs & Jigs

WOOD WORKING BY DESIGN

Introduction

Where would woodworker's be without rigs? I can't even imagine a woodworking world without our rigs, ... I mean what we would not be able to do without rigs? My shop walls would be very bare without all those strange devices hanging down that always prompts people to ask, "What are all those things hanging on your walls?". Another thing I know for certain is that I would have had to buy a more accurate (expensive!) table saw were it not for my precision table saw sled or sleds, I should say.

Woodworking rigs can be fairly strange looking 'gizmo's as gizmo's go, but if they solve a particular problem for us, who cares what they look like? We certainly don't.

I have several woodworking rigs I want to share with you. These are as follows:

Tip!

You can click on any of the titles above to go to that particular rig or just scroll down the page. Also, at the bottom of each content section you will find a blue arrow which will bring you back to the top of this page.

Napkin Ring Rig

napkin rings
IMAGE 1
Results of using the napkin-ring rig. The napkin rings shown above are made of mahogany (with carvings), bubinga, walnut (beneath the mahogany napkin ring) and apple wood on the right.

I am going to describe the rig I use to fabricate my six-sided napkin rings. It is quite simple to make as you will soon see.

napkin ring rig
Photo 1. Napkin ring being cut to shape on band-saw.
napkin rings
Photo 1. Results of using the napkin-ring rig. The napkin rings shown above are made of mahogany (with carvings), bubinga, walnut (beneath the mahogany napkin ring) and apple wood on the right.

napkin ring rig
Photo 2. Napkin ring rig base view showing miter-slot runner.

I believe this is my very first rig and was made back in 2001. The rig is basically just a band-saw sled that holds a piece of stock with a 1 1/2-inch hole bored in it at a certain fixed angle. Tha angle, in this case, is 60 degrees to the band-saw blade.

napkin ring rig
Photo 3. Napkin ring rig with support removed.

Rig Components
Looking at the photo above we will be needing the following components:

Improvements
While this rig has performed quite well over the years, I am going to recommend a few improvements which I believe will make it more versatile and easier to keep 'tuned'. I will point these changes out as we progress through its construction.

Cut Your Dowel
Yourou must cut one end of your dowel absolutely perpendicular to its sides or you will be asking for problems. I fastened my dowel to the MDF with screws so that I could adjust it as necessary before locking it down. This will be made clear in just a bit. If the side of the dowel that you will fasten to your MDF is not true, your stock will not be true to the band-saw blade and off you go to a very bad start. Just place the dowel against your table saw fence, cut it and you'll be good to go.

Size Your MDF Board
Size your MDF to suit your needs or just use my dimensions. The MDF should be long enough so that your runner screws will not be too close together. Doing so could affect the stability and accuracy of your rig as you push it through your band saw blade.

Band-Saw vs Table-Saw
This rig could be adapted to work on your table saw as well. I chose to base mine on my band-saw because I felt it to be safer than using the table saw. Safety is always on my mind. In truth, safety always depends on the woodworker. Table saw blades have an inherent tendency to lift board stock and, in particular, small light pieces. I would add a hold down of some sort to keep your piece on the wooden dowel as it is being cut. This will keep your finger's out of harms way as well. Keep in mind also that all of the rigs construction dimensions described herein with have to be changed to match those required by your table saw.

chisels
Photo 1. Dovetail rig looking at its working side.

Dovetail Rig
I developed this rig so that I could more easily saw and chop the waste from my dovetail joints. This is the second version of this rig.

Photo 1 shows the rig clamped to the workbench. The upper hold down - with the vertical 5/15-inch threadalls - is used to firmly hold the sawed board ready to have its waste chiseled away. This is shown more clearly in a photo below. This hold-down board is milled very accurately so that its facing surface is perpendicular to the clamped board. When the chisel is held against its surface it is s simple matter to remove the waste at the correct angle.

The dark horizontal board is the vertical hold down. This is used to hold the board while sawing. The lower horizontal board is my 'insurance policy' board. It catches your board in case it accidently slips down while clamping. Dovetail boards generally all have had a great deal of work done to them before you get to this point. So preventing them from being damaged from hitting your floor is not a bad idea.

chisels
Photo 2. Dovetail rig side view.

Photo 2 above is a view of the right side and shows the safety board clearly. The horizontal surface is supported very well to prevent any flexing while chopping the waste away.

chisels
Photo 3. Dovetail rig looking at its backside.

Photo 3 shows the rigidness of its construction. The first ver

chisels
Photo 4. Dovetail rig showing 'insurance' ledger board.

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chisels
Photo 5. Dovetail rig showing Lee Valley dovetail saw support.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Proin arcu mi, elementum at, rutrum suscipit, molestie sit amet, sapien. Nullam convallis. Suspendisse sit amet odio. Aliquam vitae ligula non magna sagittis malesuada. Vivamus congue bibendum lorem. Nullam nunc. Maecenas lectus. Donec id dui at purus dapibus rhoncus. Quisque in mi id massa interdum mattis. Suspendisse vel purus eget dui convallis posuere. Sed iaculis egestas neque. Sed turpis purus, congue ut, auctor non, convallis eget, ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Donec vitae tellus. Proin arcu. Morbi tempor. Vivamus congue suscipit arcu.

chisels
Photo 6. Dovetail rig showing upper hold-down while chiseling waste.

Long story short: I began making wooden hand planes based on a design originated by James Krenov, whom I have always considered to be my mentor. Again skipping over a lot of detail to keep us on track (the details are covered in the wooden planes section) the making and use of these wonderful tools taught me everything I know about putting ‘my mark’ on my projects. The learning process definitely took some effort on my part. No pain, no gain, as they say. It could be argued that I doubled the difficulty of becoming proficient with hand planes by wanting to learn how to make them first and then secondly, learning to use them. I won’t argue that. But I am very happy that I took the time to do all of that because the ultra-smooth surfaces of my work reflect the sweat and time I spent in developing my wooden hand plane skills. Again, it took practice, practice, practice!

chisels
Photo 4. Table saw cross-cut sled.

Table Saw Sled(s)
Let’s take my personal experience with the hand plane for instance. My first hand plane was a simple block plane that I bought years ago. I just could not get it to do what I wanted, so I put it aside and forgot about it. But, there was always that little voice in my head that kept telling me that I was missing out on something that would really make a difference in my work.

Long story short: I began making wooden hand planes based on a design originated by James Krenov, whom I have always considered to be my mentor. Again skipping over a lot of detail to keep us on track (the details are covered in the wooden planes section) the making and use of these wonderful tools taught me everything I know about putting ‘my mark’ on my projects. The learning process definitely took some effort on my part. No pain, no gain, as they say. It could be argued that I doubled the difficulty of becoming proficient with hand planes by wanting to learn how to make them first and then secondly, learning to use them. I won’t argue that. But I am very happy that I took the time to do all of that because the ultra-smooth surfaces of my work reflect the sweat and time I spent in developing my wooden hand plane skills. Again, it took practice, practice, practice!

Let’s take my personal experience with the hand plane for instance. My first hand plane was a simple block plane that I bought years ago. I just could not get it to do what I wanted, so I put it aside and forgot about it. But, there was always that little voice in my head that kept telling me that I was missing out on something that would really make a difference in my work.

Long story short: I began making wooden hand planes based on a design originated by James Krenov, whom I have always considered to be my mentor. Again skipping over a lot of detail to keep us on track (the details are covered in the wooden planes section) the making and use of these wonderful tools taught me everything I know about putting ‘my mark’ on my projects. The learning process definitely took some effort on my part. No pain, no gain, as they say. It could be argued that I doubled the difficulty of becoming proficient with hand planes by wanting to learn how to make them first and then secondly, learning to use them. I won’t argue that. But I am very happy that I took the time to do all of that because the ultra-smooth surfaces of my work reflect the sweat and time I spent in developing my wooden hand plane skills. Again, it took practice, practice, practice!

chisels
Photo 3. Napkin ring board section with cleanly bored hole.

Planer Bench
Let’s take my personal experience with the hand plane for instance. My first hand plane was a simple block plane that I bought years ago. I just could not get it to do what I wanted, so I put it aside and forgot about it. But, there was always that little voice in my head that kept telling me that I was missing out on something that would really make a difference in my work.

Long story short: I began making wooden hand planes based on a design originated by James Krenov, whom I have always considered to be my mentor. Again skipping over a lot of detail to keep us on track (the details are covered in the wooden planes section) the making and use of these wonderful tools taught me everything I know about putting ‘my mark’ on my projects. The learning process definitely took some effort on my part. No pain, no gain, as they say. It could be argued that I doubled the difficulty of becoming proficient with hand planes by wanting to learn how to make them first and then secondly, learning to use them. I won’t argue that. But I am very happy that I took the time to do all of that because the ultra-smooth surfaces of my work reflect the sweat and time I spent in developing my wooden hand plane skills. Again, it took practice, practice, practice!

Let’s take my personal experience with the hand plane for instance. My first hand plane was a simple block plane that I bought years ago. I just could not get it to do what I wanted, so I put it aside and forgot about it. But, there was always that little voice in my head that kept telling me that I was missing out on something that would really make a difference in my work.

Long story short: I began making wooden hand planes based on a design originated by James Krenov, whom I have always considered to be my mentor. Again skipping over a lot of detail to keep us on track (the details are covered in the wooden planes section) the making and use of these wonderful tools taught me everything I know about putting ‘my mark’ on my projects. The learning process definitely took some effort on my part. No pain, no gain, as they say. It could be argued that I doubled the difficulty of becoming proficient with hand planes by wanting to learn how to make them first and then secondly, learning to use them. I won’t argue that. But I am very happy that I took the time to do all of that because the ultra-smooth surfaces of my work reflect the sweat and time I spent in developing my wooden hand plane skills. Again, it took practice, practice, practice!

chisels
Photo 3. Napkin ring board section with cleanly bored hole.

Mortising Rig
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Proin arcu mi, elementum at, rutrum suscipit, molestie sit amet, sapien. Nullam convallis. Suspendisse sit amet odio. Aliquam vitae ligula non magna sagittis malesuada. Vivamus congue bibendum lorem. Nullam nunc. Maecenas lectus. Donec id dui at purus dapibus rhoncus. Quisque in mi id massa interdum mattis. Suspendisse vel purus eget dui convallis posuere. Sed iaculis egestas neque. Sed turpis purus, congue ut, auctor non, convallis eget, ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Donec vitae tellus. Proin arcu. Morbi tempor. Vivamus congue suscipit arcu.

Long story short: I began making wooden hand planes based on a design originated by James Krenov, whom I have always considered to be my mentor. Again skipping over a lot of detail to keep us on track (the details are covered in the wooden planes section) the making and use of these wonderful tools taught me everything I know about putting ‘my mark’ on my projects. The learning process definitely took some effort on my part. No pain, no gain, as they say. It could be argued that I doubled the difficulty of becoming proficient with hand planes by wanting to learn how to make them first and then secondly, learning to use them. I won’t argue that. But I am very happy that I took the time to do all of that because the ultra-smooth surfaces of my work reflect the sweat and time I spent in developing my wooden hand plane skills. Again, it took practice, practice, practice!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Proin arcu mi, elementum at, rutrum suscipit, molestie sit amet, sapien. Nullam convallis. Suspendisse sit amet odio. Aliquam vitae ligula non magna sagittis malesuada. Vivamus congue bibendum lorem. Nullam nunc. Maecenas lectus. Donec id dui at purus dapibus rhoncus. Quisque in mi id massa interdum mattis. Suspendisse vel purus eget dui convallis posuere. Sed iaculis egestas neque. Sed turpis purus, congue ut, auctor non, convallis eget, ligula. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Donec vitae tellus. Proin arcu. Morbi tempor. Vivamus congue suscipit arcu.

Long story short: I began making wooden hand planes based on a design originated by James Krenov, whom I have always considered to be my mentor. Again skipping over a lot of detail to keep us on track (the details are covered in the wooden planes section) the making and use of these wonderful tools taught me everything I know about putting ‘my mark’ on my projects. The learning process definitely took some effort on my part. No pain, no gain, as they say. It could be argued that I doubled the difficulty of becoming proficient with hand planes by wanting to learn how to make them first and then secondly, learning to use them. I won’t argue that. But I am very happy that I took the time to do all of that because the ultra-smooth surfaces of my work reflect the sweat and time I spent in developing my wooden hand plane skills. Again, it took practice, practice, practice!