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Thread: Keep it or chuck it?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    35

    Keep it or chuck it?

    I am a great believer in jig building, in fact I think I might just write a book about it one day... I know, there are lots of books on the subject already but they all show how to make jigs that look nice and you can show all your friends.

    I started out making 'cabinet' grade jigs, and still do for the odd thing, but most of the jigs I make these days are one offs. I started out keeping them all but soon discovered that I never had a jig that was just right. As all my woodwork is bespoke a jig will only be used for one piece. The only exception is if I am making a set of chairs and even then I am unlikely to do it again.

    So I was wondering do you save all your jigs in case they might 'come in handy' one day or do most of them hit the scrap pile?


    The guard was removed to make the shot.


    This is typical of a throw-away jig - the toggle clamps get recycled of course.

    Ralph
    Last edited by Ralph Laughton; 08-23-2007 at 11:27 PM.
    Did I mention it rains over here?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    11,697
    Write the book. I make very few jigs, just don't have the visual skill or knack for it. I also don't do a lot of the work that other guys show here.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    8,983
    I make a bunch of them. Ones that will get used again after proving themselves are usually made again with a little more style but, I'm not part of the cocobola TS sled crowd (no offense to anyone, they're beautiful).

    Some of the ones that have been rebuilt to last are the coping jig for the router table, various sleds, push blocks, saw / router guides, planer sled, stop block fence for the CMS, etc. I've done a mass post elsewhere and most folks here have seen them. Maybe I should post them here anyway just for other folks reference.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Inside the Beltway
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    2,666
    Ralph,

    I'd be interested in a book like that. What happens with mine? Well, since I'm still fairly new to having an actual shop, it's a pretty good bet that the jig I make for some purpose today will be *much* better than the one I made six months ago, and will likely be awful compared to the one I make six months from now. So, mostly they get recycled into other jigs, or put up on a shelf as a reminder of how foolish I am sometimes...

    I've got a saw sled I made two years ago. I leave it out in plain sight, just so I can laugh at myself every time I go in the shop...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
    Because I do production runs I keep most of my jigs for a couple of years before I supercede them with the improvements that I have come up with in the last year or so.

    The jigs that get thrown away are the ones that I use in the process of making jigs.
    Last edited by Ian Barley; 08-24-2007 at 11:39 AM. Reason: spilling mistook

  6. #6
    Interesting subject, but by all means write the book. You will learn ten times as much trying to write it as you did before. What I mean is, to write a book means clarifying stuff so others understand. To do that you must be absolutely clear and thus you will focus and learn as you write. Just be forewarned, writing a book is tough work. No kidding there...

    As for the jigs and fixtures. Well I do custom work so I never made them. At least I didn't. Now I am starting to go the other way. At work we build high end custom yachts, yachts that will only be made once and take years to build. They do a lot of jigs and templates for this boats despite that one of a kind thing. The majority of my work as a machinist is building the tools and tooling we need to make these boats. Our motto is simple. If we don't have it, we make it.

    As a career, that puts me in the toolmaking category as a Tool and Die Maker. I never intended to get into this aspect of machining, but here I am. And I love it. The truth is, a lot of what I make is for the carpenters, so now I am seeing the benefits of jigs and fixtures for one time uses. That is slowly creeping into my woodworking projects too. Overall I think my woodworking has gone up a step because of this realization.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ozarks
    Posts
    4,992
    ralph, that particular jig........pitch it.....less than 10 min to make another, my rule of thumb is if i spend more than 1/2 hr on a jig i`ll kick it around for a while to see if i use it again....if i notice that i use one lots then it`s upgraded from mdf to either baltic or aluminum depending on it`s use, if i don`t use it and have to move it frequently it`s pitched...tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    35

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Johnson View Post
    Just be forewarned, writing a book is tough work. No kidding there...
    I know have a look HERE

    There are plenty of Jig making books out there but they all seem to be about the jigs, not what they are for. All I need to do is persuade one of the publishers that it is a good idea....

    Ralph
    Did I mention it rains over here?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Constantine, MI
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    6,975
    Ralph,

    Am I the only one who can't see any of the pictures you post? What am I doing wrong? Something in my company computer perhaps?
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    London, England
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    35
    Rennie,

    You may have the view image box unchecked in your preferences....

    Ralph
    Did I mention it rains over here?

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