Monday, August 22, 2016

Jigsaw Table Jig

A while back a friend of mine gave me this old jigsaw.

It works well, but I admit I haven't used it much since to operates at only one speed, and I also have a much newer jigsaw with speed control.

One tool I would really like to have is a band saw or scroll saw.  Unfortunately I don't have the money for one of these.

But I have seen many people make some nifty jigsaw tables - which I think I'd like to do with my spare jigsaw.

Not too long ago I made a new router table cart where I can easily remove the router and face plate.  I think I'll make a face plate for the jigsaw so I can use the existing table/cart for this as well.

Luckily I have a good amount of leftover MDF board for this build.

I started by removing the router and face plate  from the cart.

I used the face plate to trace the shape onto the MDF.

Then I used the jigsaw to cut out the new face plate.

Then I sanded the edges to be smooth.

The face plate fits nicely.

I drew a center line on the face plate and used a 1/16" drill bit to make a hole just big enough... fit the blade through.  This zero clearance will keep small pieces of wood to get stuck between the blade and the face plate. 

Next I glued and screwed scrap pieces of MDF flush around the saw's boot and strapped the saw in place with some brackets.

then I went to put the whole jig into the cart.

Unfortunately the extra pieces of MDF went all the way to the edge of the face plate, which meant that it would not sit properly in the table top.

So, I have to start over again.  But before I take the first jig apart I decided to test it out in between my work tables.

With the exception of a lot of vibrations, the jig worked wonderfully and cut some nice curves into scrap MDF,

So I took the old jig apart and started over.  First I cut out a new face plate and put in in the table.

This time I traced the shape of the opening on the bottom of the table... I don't glue material too far on the face plate.

Next I attached more MDF to both sides of the boot.  It was a little more difficult attaching the brackets without a front or back support...

...and the blade was moving back and forward a little too much.

So I added a screw in between the front of the boot to help keep it in place.

Then I put the jig back into the table...

...and plugged it into the power strip on the side of the cart.  Having the power switch on the side like this will keep me from having to open and close the door to the cart each time I want to turn the saw on and off.

Then I tested it out again and it worked well.

I decided to try it out on a tight curve...

...and for the most part it worked, but the blade began swinging back and forward again.

So I took out the jig and added a brace to the front to make sure it doesn't move.

And the next few tests proved that it worked.

I then tested it out on some plywood and pine wood - 2 materials I frequently use - and it worked excellently.

Lastly, I drew some arrows and wrote "Caution" to remind myself of the exposed blade.

The router fits underneath nicely when not in use.

And the existing fence will work well with the blade.

This simple jig works nicely, although it probably won't last a very long time.  The screws and MDF will eventually loosen up.   So a few weeks later I decided to make a better jig, this time using plywood.  I started by removing the saw from the jig.

Using a pencil, I traced the shape of the inside handle of the jigsaw and cut it out.

The piece fits perfectly inside but is too thin.

So I traced and cut out 2 more pieces.

Then I glued and clamped them together.

While that dried I found 2 other pieces of plywood that will fit on both sides of the jigsaw.  The middle piece will also attach to these side pieces, holding the jigsaw in place while in the jig.

I then traced the shape of the jigsaw on one piece of plywood.

Then I clamped the 2 pieces of plywood together and cut out the traced piece.

I also cut 2 smaller pieces that will attach to the top of the plywood, and thus adding more support and stability for the jigsaw.

When the middle dried I placed it in the jigsaw and lined up one of the sides...

...and traced the area where the middle piece connects.

I then drilled pilot holes and connected one side to the middle.

Then I put the saw in place and connected the other side...

...followed by the 2 top pieces.

Unfortunately the middle piece is still too thin.

So I traced the middle one more time, cut it out and glued it to the other middle pieces.

But once it dried and was reconnected, everything fit perfectly!

Next I marked the location where the 2 sides connect with the face plate of the jig.

Then I drilled holes with countersinks...

...and attached everything together.

And I'm done!  I put the jig back in the table to test it out.

This jig holds the jigsaw very securely.  Much better than my first attempt.

Then I tested it out on more plywood and it did a wonderful job.  The cuts are good and the jigsaw didn't move at all while in the jig during cutting.

Funny thing - this jig took about half the time it did to make the original jig.  I'm much happier with the new one.  It will last a lot longer!

Thanks for reading!

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