Shop built vs. purchased jigs - Router Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Default Shop built vs. purchased jigs

the factors:
Cost
Shipping time
Specificity
Build quality
Shop time
Engineering
Looks

Etc...

I end up making most of mine.

You?
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 09:54 AM
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I enjoy building shop made jigs but in a lot of cases it take me a long time to complete so I buy most of mine. I think build quality in most cases is better. Not near the plastic. I think just about always you can build a better jig at a cheaper than store bought. But I don't build mine out of scrap because i have no scrap. The so called scrap in my shop is just as important as other wood. If it's truly scrap it goes in the trash.
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Measure once cut twice and it's still to short.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 10:17 AM
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I think that it would depend on the jig - one time use, multiple uses and, more important, whether it needs to be adjustable. I have both, and the onetime use jigs are made for function and not appearance.

I bought the Kreg jig for drilling cabinets for knobs and pulls, strictly because it could be adjusted for different centers, adjusted for different edge distances, etc. - made sense rather than taking the time to drill holes in pieces of plywood every time you needed to install hardware.

I have an old version of the Rockler Hinge Crafter which I've mainly used for smaller hinges, a Milescraft jig for larger (door-type) hinges but that always struck me as a little hokey in the way they said to line it up for location - I needed to hang some replacement doors, one of them directly on the studs as the original owner had done, and made the jig shown so I could screw it to the studs and rout the recess "in place". I probably overbuilt it, but it will work for me anytime I need to install 3-1/2" hinges.

The jig for routing slots was cobbled together when I was making my adjustable height workbench, but I've used it since then on a couple other projects, the length of slot is "adjustable" by putting a block in the opening to limit router travel. As you can see. it's pretty minimal, I would have made it look prettier if I'd realized now useful is was going to be.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 10:49 AM
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Both. I do buy some jigs but often cobble something together quickly to to help with a task when I'm in the middle of a project.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 12:10 PM
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I'm with Don. More fun building my own, and most times a ready built is the inspiration with the needed tweaks to make it better. As Mike said long ago, it doesn't have to look pretty, it just has to work right.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 01:20 PM
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I would rather build my own too. Most are cobbled together with spare pieces of material (I won't use the word scraps) and that way I don't mind taking them apart and burning what is no longer usable and putting the usable pieces back with their friends. Most of the jigs I make are job specific anyway so they would sit around taking up space with the possibility that they would never be used again anyway.

The one exception is that I did buy the Incra Ibox jig last year. I had a home made finger joint jig but it required that I have exactly the same thickness stack on my dado set which was a PITA to set up and the Ibox adjusts to what size you have on so it was worth buying for that reason.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 02:22 PM
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There is no such thing as scrap wood. Only usable, and non-usable wood.

I'm not sure if I even knew you could buy jigs. Unless maybe what I have always thought of jigs are different from the rest of you - highly possible - after all, what they called a jig saw when I was growing up is now known as a scrollsaw, and a sabresaw is now called a jig saw. But a moot point anyway, because I make my own stuff; that way I get what I want, and not what someone else thinks I want. I'm not building high end furniture anyway, and if I were, I'd still make my own. Do piggy banks count as high end furniture?

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 03:06 PM
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When I was working more, I purchased many items, but with more time, I make many items. And then there's the accuracy question. Some of my home made jigs just would NOT come out exactly right, so I purchased instead.
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The more I do, the less I accomplish.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 08:53 PM
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I don't buy anything I can make. Sometimes I have bought because I found I couldn't make something or another and I have bought a few things. I do woodwork for fun and relaxation. Being retired I'm a bit careful ( read frugal or tight ) with my money. I do what I do cause I want to not because some else wants me to except for when Angel says she want me to want to then I say "yes, Honey, I'll get on it tomorrow.

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits". Albert Einstein
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Making accurate jigs often requires accurate jigs. There is often a bit of a bootstrap thing happening to get the basic stuff up and running. Once you have say an accurate cutting crosscut sled, making accurate parts for other jigs gets a lot easier.
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