Shop Made Or Store Bought Fences And Jigs? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 23 Old 12-28-2010, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Shop Made Or Store Bought Fences And Jigs?

I'm always amazed at what the marketers come up with to do woodworking. Not too many years ago, there was zilch available as for fence selection, and basically jigs in general.

Shops that work daily for most of the days of the week, and sometimes on Sunday, made fences and all jigs. Some that are now available are real pretty to look at and make a shop very impressive looking. Some of the capabilities of these fancy toolings are likely not ever experienced. But, there they sit...ready to use.

I will say that I'm all for a "T" square type table saw fence. It can make a tablesaw a fast and accurate cutting machine. When the Biesemeyer first came out, it was expensive, and I had my doubts as to whether it would be worthwhile for the price. It took about 5 minutes to decide it was a good buy...(almost a necessity).

So, the question comes up (lets say by the hobbyist), should money be spent on other type fences, like the band saw and the router table? Can an efficient fence or jig be shop made to do what a hobbyist needs to do?










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post #2 of 23 Old 12-28-2010, 05:38 PM
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I guess it has to do with who's making the Jig and what it is for, plus the type of work and how much work is going to be done using any particular jig and if your going to be using it as a professional woodworker or as a person doing woodworking as a hobby. Last but not least is how well does store bought fences and jigs fit into you budget ?
Many Jigs are easy to make with simple material like a board clamped across your band saw as a fence. But not many of us to make a table saw fence comparable to a Biesemeyer. To get back to your question Cabinetman ." should money be spent on other type fences, like the band saw and the router table? Can an efficient fence or jig be shop made to do what a hobbyist needs to do? " I say yes and no depending on your jig and fixture making skills , budget and experience.
sorry to be so long winded .
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post #3 of 23 Old 12-31-2010, 10:21 AM
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Efficient fences and jigs can be built for the shop. People have built Biesemeyer style fences, that are as good as store bought.
A lot depends, on your ability, and tools available to build them with. Time is also a factor.
I think a band saw fence is best bought. A resaw fence, can easily be built.
On my old Delta 14" band saw, I bought a new Jet fence, someone was selling. Great fence! Such a pleasure to use. For resawing up to 4" I use it as is, and add a tall fence to it for thicker resawing. Unclamping, and reclamping a wood fence, for each cut change, gets old, real fast. Been there, done that.
All my jigs are shop built. A lot of them are copies of store sold jigs.
If I was going to do dovetails, I would buy that jig.
Featherboards are easy to make, but when on sale, store bought ones are a good deal.
Make what you can. Buy the rest if you need them.
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post #4 of 23 Old 12-31-2010, 11:49 AM
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I have bought several different ready made jigs over the years but have made many more than I have bought. Sometimes there is just not time to run out and buy one and sometimes a special jig will only be used once, or so little, it isn't worth hanging on to. Most jigs can be made by the hobby wood workers but then there are some even a vet wood worker won't want to make.

One jig that stands out in my mind right now is a jig thought up by several fellows on a wood working website, I was a member of some years ago. I don't remember the name of the site but I left there because so many of the fellows were the "upper crust of wood workers", in their minds, and if you didn't own the high dollar tools or have 100 years experience you were dirt under their feet.

Anyway, some of the "lower wood workers" came up with a jig but no one made one. I made the jig and it worked and worked really good. At that time I had bought one of the jigs from Rockler that you drill the holes in the side of a bookcase for adjustable shelves. The jigs didn't last very long and I wore several of them out until I made one out of 3/16 inch aluminum. It was then I saw the jig on the site I was a member of.

The jig is made of wood and you use your plunge router with a 1/4 bit to drill the holes. It is way faster than the Rockler template and it won't wear out as fast. Sorry about the ranting and long post.

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post #5 of 23 Old 12-31-2010, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiju1943 View Post

Anyway, some of the "lower wood workers" came up with a jig but no one made one. I made the jig and it worked and worked really good. At that time I had bought one of the jigs from Rockler that you drill the holes in the side of a bookcase for adjustable shelves. The jigs didn't last very long and I wore several of them out until I made one out of 3/16 inch aluminum. It was then I saw the jig on the site I was a member of.

The jig is made of wood and you use your plunge router with a 1/4 bit to drill the holes. It is way faster than the Rockler template and it won't wear out as fast. Sorry about the ranting and long post.
I guess I'm lower than lower woodworkers, because I still find that using pegboard is fast and accurate. I register it off the bottom of the cabinet (front or back) held with spring clamps, and the holes circled for the groupings. It gets used from the left side to the right side.

I tried the plunge router method, and it's tiring holding a router (for me). I'd rather drill holes after assembly, I seem to make less mistakes that way.










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post #6 of 23 Old 12-31-2010, 04:54 PM
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Pegbd here as well.

Router tables and shapers are what I call single point machines.......IOWs the fence dosen't have to be square with anything because only the cntr of cutter is making full contact.

The bandsaw is a touch different because of blade drift......I tend to treat them like a two point in that the fence is squared.This means spending quality time and making all efforts to keep blade in line and happy.

TS is two point,but with a very slight trail.IOWs under no circumstance can the rear of fence be closer to cutter(blade) than fr.So having the ability to adj. trail on back of fence slightly wider than fr has potential.One thing that I've noticed over and over is how many WWs abuse the living snot out of their orig.TS fences then plunk down $$ for a replacement.They'll treat the replacement like gold(and well they should).Where if they'd been that careful and just as important,tuned the original fence it would provide VG service.

The decision to make vs buy is personal.Reckon it depends on;

how much you value your time,

how the money fits in WRT overall budget,

are there tax benny's,

features that may not be availible from store bought,

I enjoy making fixtures in general so unless the thing is going cheaper than parts,will usually make whats needed.And jiju's observation about the "holy'er than thou" 'tude expressed by some WWs follows what I see as well.But its not limited to WW'ers,I see it in alot of the crafts.BW
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post #7 of 23 Old 12-31-2010, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
I guess I'm lower than lower woodworkers, because I still find that using pegboard is fast and accurate. I register it off the bottom of the cabinet (front or back) held with spring clamps, and the holes circled for the groupings. It gets used from the left side to the right side.

I tried the plunge router method, and it's tiring holding a router (for me). I'd rather drill holes after assembly, I seem to make less mistakes that way.











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CM, I am one of the lower than low also, why didn't I think of pegboard. Making that jig was a lot of work for nothing. It does work good and I agree the router will wear your hand out after while.

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post #8 of 23 Old 12-31-2010, 08:39 PM
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I do woodworking for pleasure. Time isn't important other than the fact that there is never enough time in the shop. I seldom buy jigs. If it can be made in the shop, I will try. It becomes part of the enjoyment of woodworking.

Roger from the Great Horicon Swamp
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-04-2011, 12:01 PM
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this isn't much of a jig.but, it worked for me.I was going to buy a tool chest to store my tools, but, they cost a arm and leg.So, I waited,about 3 days later I saw a old 1950's dresser being throw out, I asked for it and they helped me ,put it in my truck,I got this baby home and got kidded from the family." trash man-what else will you bring home next.well, long story short,I put wheels on the bottom of this dresser,and have worked on it for about 11 years,when the top gets many holes or broken,I just put another piece of plywood on it.it rolls around the shop as nice as you please, and I spennd my money on other tools and things.
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-07-2011, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by intheworks View Post
this isn't much of a jig.but, it worked for me.I was going to buy a tool chest to store my tools, but, they cost a arm and leg.So, I waited,about 3 days later I saw a old 1950's dresser being throw out, I asked for it and they helped me ,put it in my truck,I got this baby home and got kidded from the family." trash man-what else will you bring home next.well, long story short,I put wheels on the bottom of this dresser,and have worked on it for about 11 years,when the top gets many holes or broken,I just put another piece of plywood on it.it rolls around the shop as nice as you please, and I spennd my money on other tools and things.
I like the way you think !!!
It's amazing what folks will throw away (donate) to us woodworker folks. I have used doors in the past for bench/desk tops.
Old dressers do make nice storage for hand held power tools like drills and sanders.

Tools are like guns, You can never have enough.
Where did I put that tape measure???
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post #11 of 23 Old 01-07-2011, 03:26 PM
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Well... I have a mixture of shop made, and store bought jigs and fixtures in my shop. For example, my taper jig, dovetail jig, etc... are store bought, but much of my jigs / sleds are shop built... These include.

#1. Band saw fence is a combination of store bought and shop built. The store bought Craftsman Professional fence didn't quite fit my Central Machinery band saw, I had to make adapters for it.
#2. Drill press table and fence. 2 layers of plywood, 1 layer of tempered hardboard, and edged with walnut scraps.
#3. Router dado jig, Shop built out of plywood. Same as my circular saw cutting guide.
#4. Band saw resawing sled. Shop made, and about to get a complete redo...

I am often on the prowl for ideas for jigs, fixtures, and storage to make life in my shop easier, not to mention neater...

Interested in my woodworking, workshop and whatnot? See http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com, want to see my other interests such as hunting, fishing, off roading, and camping? See http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-18-2011, 02:41 PM
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I am new to woodworking, but with 25 years plus experience in aircraft sheet meat fabrication and modification, so other than the two being different materials they are essentially the same.

I started to build a router table fence, but the lazies took over and I bought a woodpecker top and the super fence. I am in the process of building my own cabinet for the router table top though. I really don't have the room to have a large shop so a small work bench and a router table is the extent of my major shop equipment.

Once I finish the router table I am going to concentrate on building a few jigs and smaller items to help in my meager woodworking endeavors. Signs, boxes, clocks and scroll work with a picture frame thrown in on occasion.
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post #13 of 23 Old 03-18-2011, 03:09 PM
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As an advanced beginner, I'm for building jigs. You end up searching the 'net for design ideas and stumble across an ocean of useful info you didn't know you wanted to look up. Then when you build the jig, you're often playing with less pricey material than your fancy project calls for, so by the time you've got the jig dialed in, you probably already know how you're going to use it. Learning curve is less $, I think when you build them and take time to read and practice technique. When you buy 'em there's a lot of temptation to go try to execute the project with your pricey stock right off the bat. At least for me anyway.
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post #14 of 23 Old 03-18-2011, 05:04 PM
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I am not knocking commercial miter gauges, fences, or jigs they certainly belong in the shop and will save you both time and money. Whether elaborate or simple homemade jigs have a place in any shop too.


Fence and miter gauge that came with my band saw work just fine. Made my own circle-cutting jig. I use a simple pen blank jig for cutting pen blanks to size. Made another jig so can cut pen blanks diagonally from boards. Have a band saw sled for cutting logs.

Bought a universal pen blank squaring jig to use on my belt/disk sander to replace homemade one. The homemade one lot better.

Still use lot of different homemade chucks for woodturning. I own couple of scroll chucks.

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post #15 of 23 Old 03-18-2011, 07:54 PM
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I am no pro, never will be. Still, I love making saw dust. As far as making or buying jigs. I feel it is much more enjoyable to look at something I made with my own skills, not matter how limited that may be. And making the jig is part of thew procsess. Sometime I might make a jig for that one job only, other times I might make one that will be used again, and again.
Still having said that I do own a few machine jigs. A PC dovetail, a Kreg miter fence/gage, and hmm? I think that is it. Everything else has been made by me. Maybe it is due to having a background in printing. Making jigs is part of the job in the printing industry. Sometimes taking more time than the printing of the job at hand. But a very important part of it.
Now I repair computors, and set up networks, no need for jig building there. Luckily I have a hobby that allows me to play with power tools while dust flyes over head... And if lucky, something kinda neat come from all that hard work, or err fun.
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-19-2011, 12:57 PM
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I started to build a router table fence, but the lazies took over and I bought a woodpecker top and the super fence.
I am not so sure I won't finish the fence because I have all the hardware and wood cut to size for it. It is to be modeled after a Pat Warner design with a few modifications of my own. I am making it out of Walnut, Maple and Mahogany. I have the Walnut face slotted and the T-Track installed already, but I do need to cut the wood in half because it is to be a split fence with the ability to fine adjust either side with dial indicators that have a 4 inch range.

That's about it in a nut shell.
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post #17 of 23 Old 03-22-2011, 07:30 PM
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I am no pro, never will be. Still, I love making saw dust. As far as making or buying jigs. I feel it is much more enjoyable to look at something I made with my own skills, not matter how limited that may be. And making the jig is part of thew procsess. Sometime I might make a jig for that one job only, other times I might make one that will be used again, and again.
Still having said that I do own a few machine jigs. A PC dovetail, a Kreg miter fence/gage, and hmm? I think that is it. Everything else has been made by me. Maybe it is due to having a background in printing. Making jigs is part of the job in the printing industry. Sometimes taking more time than the printing of the job at hand. But a very important part of it.
Now I repair computors, and set up networks, no need for jig building there. Luckily I have a hobby that allows me to play with power tools while dust flyes over head... And if lucky, something kinda neat come from all that hard work, or err fun.
I am new to this great site allready had a few questions answered by the members here. i am also in the printing industry i run a 6 color planeta press. I was just wondering what you did in the printing industry??? i have only met one other fellow that did what i did for a living.
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post #18 of 23 Old 03-23-2011, 01:16 AM
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Really I ran a 6 color M&R and a 12 color for my last 4 or 5 years. Small world! We did textiles, signs and banners, and well there is the political season... lol
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post #19 of 23 Old 03-23-2011, 07:17 AM
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While, I have dabbled in wood for a long time, I am recently getting serious. In my opinion, a really good fence and miter gage for the table saw are a great purchase. Much of the rest of it shop made is best. Last weekend, I made my first shop made zero clearance insert for the table saw. It was fun, it didn't take that long and it increased my experience in cutting and fitting as well as ingenuity. I will be making a drill press table, a router table and I have already made a guide for resawing on the bandsaw. I am envious of Cabinetman's rabbeting jig and hope to make one.
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post #20 of 23 Old 03-23-2011, 09:23 AM
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Can you buy a router dado jig that accommodates all thicknesses of lumber or ply wood? My shop made one does.
Like others suggested, peg board makes excellent shelf pin jigs.
A couple of sticks and a spring clamp makes a great "story stick" for inside measurements.
My coping sled for the router table is as good or better than most boughten ones.
The saw guide built with t slot and bar rivals the Festool for accuracy and a clean cut.
My band saw allows me to use a miter gauge with an attached high fence for a resaw fence. Just finished resawing about a 100 bf of Mesquite. It works fine.
Not really a jig, but a home made "V" sander with thicknessing capabilities allowed me to gladly rid my self of a POS Performax. I guess the jigs made for edge sanding and thicknessing qualify, though.
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