Using Jigs and Fixtures in Your Woodwork Using Jigs and Fixtures in Your Woodwork

By using jigs and fixtures, you can improve the ability of your woodworking equipement. Woodworking jigs and fixtures help you to accomplish things in your woodworking that the tools alone are not capable of doing.

Jigs

Woodworking jigs not only hold your piece of wood, but they also help to move the wood in relation to the tool that you are using. A common design of jig is a carriage that slides. Jigs are guides for wood cutting and shaping tools and are quite often used in repetitive tasks.

Whether you are cutting in a straight line or need a perfect circle cut out, a jig will help you achieve your cut. While you can buy some jigs, the more popular ones are do it yourself projects that you build at home and are fairy easy to make as long as you follow the instructions that are available in woodworking books or on woodworking websites. 

Specific Jigs and Their Uses

Here is a list of the more common jigs and their use.

  • Trammel arm jig – used for cutting wood in a circular pattern
  • Miter jig – used for cutting corners and frames to have perfect mating joints
  • Tenoning jig – used for cutting perfect tenons
  • Drill press jig – used for cutting vertical holes in wood

Fixtures

While jigs help you to move the wood around so you can use your woodworking tools, such as a table saw, more robustily, woodworking fixtures hold your piece of wood in one place letting you bring the saw to the piece of wood, instead of the other way around. A fixture will secure the wood, making for a cleaner, more precise cut.

Fixtures are not only used for precision cutting, but have the added benefit of being a safety feature, since they hold the wood in place for you, rather than you having to hold the wood in place.

Specific Fixtures and Their Uses

Here is a list of the more common fixtures and their use.

  • Miter gauge -  used for cross cutting wood
  • Crosscut sled – used for making repeat 90 degree angle cuts
  • Feather board – used to keep smaller pieces of wood against your router or table saw’s fence

There are as many jigs and fixtures as there are woodworking projects. Instructions and direction for any project involving wood should include a list of any jigs and fixtures that you will need to use.

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