The jig is up

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What do you constantly make in the shop that piles up over the years, but you won’t get rid of it? Did you say scrap? Nope.

It’s jigs. If you’re like me, you never met a jig (or its close cousin, fixture), you didn’t like. If there’s a way to create a gadget to make a task easier, faster, more efficient or repeatable, and more accurate it’s love at first sight.

After typing that last paragraph I took a brief stroll through my shop and counted jigs – just the ones I could see, mind you – and easily spotted nine without stooping, climbing or opening anything to make them more visible. Without over-taxing my brain (which is surprisingly easy to do) I can think of at least 10 more put away somewhere right off the top of my head. And if I actually started digging them all out, the total is surely in the dozens.

When people find out you’re a woodworker and ask what you make, you probably tell them about your furniture, your cabinets, your turnings or whatever. But if your answer is anything but “I make jigs,” then you’re probably not being honest with them. Or yourself.

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