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Whether you're carpenter or just a weekend warrior, sooner or later you'll need to cut sheet goods. I thought I'd share this jig you can make from scrap 1/2" plywood and hang on your garage wall until you need it next. You can make one in about twenty minutes.

It can't come out of calibration, sets up faster than you can snap a chalk line, no measuring to the blade, and it's every bit as accurate as any panel saw you can buy. I build cabinets with it. I've also made these with 1/4" ply for making dado cuts with my routers.

I'd like to know how many of you have ever seen or used one? Honestly.

Seems like every time I ever showed up with on a job with it, everybody was as puzzled by it as I was the first time I saw one in action.

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When you make this, remember to put the factory edge where the side of the table of the saw contacts the guide. Make the bottom wider than you need. The first cut you make through it will size it to your saw, and is all the calibration you need. From there, you just measure and mark the sheet in two places like you would if you were going to try to chase a chalk line, clamp it to the marks, and go!

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Hi,

I used to have one but tossed it a few years ago. About two months ago, as I was getting ready to cut some sheet goods I simply measured the distance from the edge of the saw blade to the edge of the base plate, added that to the length I needed, clamped a straight edge on that length-plus mark with a couple of C-clamps and used the edge of the straight edge with the base plate against it to make my cuts. Worked like a charm.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

P.S. If you use this method you have to keep in mind that sometimes you're going to have to subtract that distance and cut the other side of the line, depending on which side works best at the time. Make sure you use flat cabinet type clamps. I know I said C-clamps above but I meant to say cabinet clamps. Those are low enough to stay under the saw's motor as it passes by; C-clamps are too high.

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Hi,

I used to have one but tossed it a few years ago. About two months ago, as I was getting ready to cut some sheet goods I simply measured the distance from the edge of the saw blade to the edge of the base plate, added that to the length I needed, clamped a straight edge on that length-plus mark with a couple of C-clamps and used the edge of the straight edge with the base plate against it to make my cuts. Worked like a charm.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

You could have made a new one and the cuts in the time it took to do all of that. That's the point of it.

Try it if you want. Just sharing something that makes sense and saves time.

RE. the ps.

No you don't. Put it on the correct side of the cut. You get what you marked.

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Thanks, Gary. I like the way you describe the thing, made to fit by the first saw cut.

I had to rip some floor boards last week, could have used a jig. I did clamp the boards to the edge of my table, but then I just eyeball the pencil line and dive the saw over the clamps.

Sometimes, I will go left-handed so my body is on the blade side where I can see the cut better. But that's not for right-handed folks. [:)]

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You could have made a new one and the cuts in the time it took to do all of that. That's the point of it.

With respect, Gary,

As I said, I had one. Once you've done it once, It takes exactly the same amount of time to measure, clamp and cut a straightedge to the piece as it does to measure and clamp your jig to the piece. Heck, even with my lousy math skills I can add 3-3/4 inches to a cut to get my clamp tics in the same time as I'd measure out for the jig.

I agree with you, it's a neat jig. I made mine based on an article in Woodworker's Journal sometime back in the 90's, but it just kept taking up space in the corner of the garage so it had to go. I have a nice thick aluminum drywall straightedge and it works just as well.

You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I forgot to mention. Since the weight of the saw presses the bottom of the guide tight to the material, there's no chipping on the good side of the cut. That goes for counter tops, sheet laminate, doors, and anything else you would normally need to waste time taping.

I mark mine with the saw and brand of blade that made it. Found out my saws and even different blades have different measurements between the edge of the shoe to the blade.

Exactly. My router jigs are labeled.

I've been building cabinets with these since I first saw one about fifteen or twenty years ago. I can't afford to take a chance on making a slightly inaccurate measurement.

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  • 1 month later...

. . . I'd like to know how many of you have ever seen or used one? Honestly. . .

We used them for years & years. My old shop in Berkeley had a half dozen. Some for saws (90 degrees & 45 degrees) and some for routers. Honestly, I figured that everyone used them.

When used with a straight bit on a router, you've got a poor mans jointer that works beautifully. I'd always use a clamp to put a slight "spring" in the jig so that the jointed board had a slight concave curve to it. This made for a very tight layup that would never split or check at the ends.

We used lots of jigs, though, not just those. We had jigs for cutting circles and elipses, making large turnings, cutting flutes, sliding dovetails, registering drilled holes, etc, etc. Those were fun times. I miss them.

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