Woodworking jigs, if you start looking for them, you will notice that there are so many of them.
But which woodworking jigs should you definitely have in your workshop? Which are important for you?
Which are essential?
With the 5 must-have and super simple to build woodworking jigs in this article, I want to inspire you in your search for the best woodworking jigs for your workshop.
I use them all the time and that is why I want to share this with you.
These 5 woodworking jigs are very simple wood jigs to make, thanks to the free woodworking jig plans that you can download on this page.
Use these free woodworking jig plans as a guide to make these wood jigs yourself.
The 5 woodworking jigs that you are about to discover on this page, are perfect woodworking beginner projects. But I’m pretty sure the more experienced woodworker will be inspired here too.
- What is a woodworking jig?
- What wood to use to make a woodworking jig?
- Can I use MDF to make woodworking jigs?
- Make jigs with your jigs
- What do you need to make these woodworking jigs?
- Watch the video & learn how to make these woodworking jigs
- Jig #1 | Table Saw Depth Gauge
- Jig #2 | Right Angle Clamping Jig
- Jig #3 | Frame Clamps
- Jig #4 | Sanding Board
- Jig #5 | Vertical Drilling Jig
What is a woodworking jig?
You could define a woodworking jig as a template that helps you perform repetitive tasks in the workshop.
Woodworking jigs can help you make repetitive measurements, cuts, drilling and so much more.
You can buy woodworking jigs for the most common repetitive tasks.
However, If you want a custom jig, for that specific task you’re working on, you can make your own woodworking jigs in wood, metal, or any other material.
I have made many wood jigs for my workshop in the past.
You can discover them all here on my website and on my YouTube channel.
Most of the woodworking jigs have free woodworking plans, so you can make them, too.
Be sure to keep following me, so you’ll be the first one to know when I release new woodworking jigs or woodworking jig plans.
What wood to use to make a woodworking jig?
To make woodworking jigs, it is best to use hardwood plywood. The hardness of hardwood plywood is most ideal. It is soft enough to shape the template yet strong enough not to warp over time.
Personally, I prefer to use Baltic Birch plywood to make all my woodworking jigs.
Can I use MDF to make woodworking jigs?
I don’t recommend using MDF to make woodworking jigs. MDF is less stable than plywood and will warp faster due to moisture in the air.
MDF also wears out faster than plywood. As a result, the accuracy of the MDF woodworking jigs can no longer be guaranteed over time.
However, there is an exception.
Sometimes I do use MDF to make woodworking jigs. If I need a temporary template, I use a cheaper MDF to make this.
Another example is that in some cases, I first make a test template in MDF.
Once the jig has the perfect shape, I make a copy in hardwood plywood and use that as the final jig.
Make jigs with your jigs
Once you have made your first woodworking jigs, you can use them to make more and better wood jigs.
That’s what I did, too, to grow my workshop step by step.
If you are a woodworking beginner, you can start with simple woodworking jigs, like the 5 best woodworking jigs you will discover in this blog.
They are easy and cheap to make. You can make them with simple tools, and you can use pieces of scrap wood for it.
By making these woodworking jigs, you will be able to work more accurately on your next projects. You can use these jigs to make new or better woodworking jigs.
This way you can build up your workshop too, just like I did.
Building jigs to build new and better wood jigs was my vision when I started woodworking, and I still think the same way.
What do you need to make these woodworking jigs?
To prepare you for building these jigs, I have made a few handy lists.
In addition to a few personal protective equipments that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build these jigs.
* Safety is always your own responsibility!
Safety first! Protect yourself!
Materials I used for these woodworking jigs
(power)Tools I used for these woodworking jigs
Watch the video & learn how to make these woodworking jigs
Before you go on reading this article, you can watch this video. In this video, you can see how I build these 5 woodworking jigs.
After watching the video, you can continue reading this article. In here, you will discover all details you need to make these 5 best woodworking jigs yourself.
Jig #1 | Table Saw Depth Gauge
The first one of these 5 woodworking jigs is the table saw depth gauge.
It is so simple but ingenious.
This jig is nothing but a wooden block with recesses on different depths.
These recesses represent the most used depth settings on my table saw for my woodworking projects.
For this block, I made recesses with depths of 18 mm (the thickest size of plywood I use), 12 mm, 6 mm, and 3 mm.
Each side of the block has another depth.
If now I have to set the table saw, then I can simply set the right size with this block without having to mess with a ruler.
To make it even easier for me, I placed the measurements on the block. This makes it more visible and ensures faster work.
To do this, I have punched the letters and numbers in the wood with this alphabet and number punch set. After I had punched the letter, I painted them with black spray paint.
Once the paint was dry, I sanded the surface until I removed all the black paint.
All that left was the black paint in the punched letters and numbers.
Now, the size of the recess is now clearly visible.
Handy, isn’t it?
Jig #2 | Right Angle Clamping Jig
You may recognize this:
You need to connect two boards at right angles to each other.
With one hand you hold the square, with the other hand the upright board, … and then you have one hand short to screw or nail. Kinda clumsy situation, isn’t it?
Well, this is a thing of the past with these handy angle clamping jigs.
All you need to do is to clamp them with spring clamps or one hand clamps in the provided openings.
Your boards will be perfectly square, and you have both hands free to screw.
The advantage of these right-angle clamping jigs, is that you can use them both in the inside corner and the outside corner. That is thanks to the shape of this corner clamp.
To make these corner clamps, you can use a piece of scrap wood that has a perfect right angle.
Once you have cut out the inside corner, you can drill some holes where you will place the clamps. To make these holes, I have used a hole saw on my drill press.
Make these holes big enough so that you can easily put your clamps in them.
In these corner clamps, you need at least 3 holes. One in the corner and one at both ends of the corner clamp.
For my clamps, I made smaller holes in between for my spring clamps.
Jig #3 | Frame Clamps
For the frame clamps, I used the wood I had left over when making the right angle clamping jig.
This frame clamp is a combination of this small part and the right angle clamping jig.
This small part will be placed in the inner corner of the frame.
For the outer corner, you can use the right angle clamp.
The frame clamp has a recess at the top, in which you can place a clamp. By pulling the 2 parts together, the connection of the frame will be tightened.
Also, note the recesses in the inner and outer corners. Make sure you apply these. If you are going to glue and tighten frames, the glue will come out of the joint.
If this recess is not there, your jig will be glued on to the frame, and you don’t want that.
Jig #4 | Sanding Board
This jig is perhaps the simplest of the woodworking jigs on this list.
I use it so often in my workshop, that I definitely find it worth recommending.
To clamp the sanding board to my workbench, or to hold it when I want to sand something, I made a simple handle on this sanding board. You can see the benefit of this handle in the demonstration in my video.
When I use this sanding board when I want to sand pieces that are spinning on my drill press fast, I have a good grip on it thanks to this handle.
To make this handle, I drilled two holes next to each other and connect them by removing the wood between the holes.
Once I had made the handle, I attached sandpaper on this board.
To do this, I first stick some painter’s tape to the sanding board. This makes it possible to easily remove the sandpaper if it needs to be replaced.
After applying the painter’s tape, I used spray adhesive to attach the sandpaper to it.
The advantage of using painter’s tape is that the sandpaper does not come loose during use, but replacement can be done very quickly without leaving glue residue on the sanding board.
Using spray paint is very easy! Spray some glue on both parts you want to connect and let it dry for a few minutes. If you can touch the glue without it sticking to your finger, you can place the two pieces together.
If you want to know more about how to determine the right sandpaper for your project, be sure to check out my blog: The perfect sandpaper grit guide for woodworking.
Everything you need to know about sandpaper can be found in this article. It will no doubt give you a better understanding of the proper use of sandpaper.
There is also a FREE downloadable guide available to help you determine the right sandpaper grit.
Jig #5 | Vertical Drilling Jig
Have you ever had to drill into a workpiece that didn’t fit under your drill press?
Then this simple jig is the solution you need!
You turn the drill press table aside and place this jig on it.
Simply clamp your workpiece against these jig, position, and drill.
This jig is very easy to make. It is basically two board joined together.
Make sure that the connection you make is perpendicular. Otherwise, this will affect the correctness of the drilling.
I made the connections with wood glue and brad nails. If you do not have a nail gun, you can use ordinary nails or screws.
If you consider buying a nail gun, be sure to watch my blog How to choose the right nail gun for your projects. A complete nail gun guide.
I have used my nail gun for almost every project since I bought it, so I can highly recommend buying one.
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I hope this information on how to make these woodworking jigs was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
Let me know in a comment below.
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It will be much appreciated.
I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.
Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration
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