Straight-Line Jig

For those of us without a jointer, getting one good edge on rough lumber can be accomplished fairly easily on your table saw.  The only drawback to the jig I built is only being able to work with lumber 8′ long or shorter.  On the occasion I come home with 10′ or 12′ boards, these need to be cut down before I can put a strait edge on them. 

While some rough lumber comes with 1 or 2 straight sides, I usually end up with 4 rough sides.  It’s usually cheaper and comes in more options from where I buy the bulk of my wood.

Just in case you were wondering, this is a jointer:  Basically there is a spinning blade that sits between a split bed.  The bed is lower in the back than it is in front, as you run the board through, the cutting head takes off the difference between the front and back beds.

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Jointer by Jet

I don’t have one for various reasons including:

  1. They take up a lot of room and my shop is full.
  2. Even after using one at the community college, I still think they’re a bit scary.
  3. I can do their main function on the table saw good enough for most applications.
  4. Did I mention that I don’t have room?

If I were running a high production shop, and had enough room, I would buy one.  Right now I just don’t need it.

The Jig

The basic concept of this jig is simple enough, I have two clamps I set up on a board with a runner.  They hold the board in place while I cut the edge with the Table Saw.  It takes a little strip off of the edge and voila!  I have a board I can work with!!

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Straight Line Jig set up with rollers in front and rear of the table saw.  

I started with a sheet of 3/4″ plywood, ripped off 12″ and marked and drilled a series of holes in  4 places along the board.  This would allow me to accommodate different widths as well as lengths.

I like these self-adjusting clamps by Bessey. I already had 2 hand have used them in various jigs in the past.  The nice thing about the self adjusting clamp is they work mounted at different heights, you just adjust the toggle for what you most commonly use.

I drilled corresponding holes on the block my clamps are mounted on, then realized my bolts would be in the way on the bottom.  I think I was in a hurry when I did this next step because as I took the picture I though to myself, it looks like I free-handed that!

I must have just set the depth on my router with a 3/4″ bit and cut out the dados on the bottom of the jig over the holes.  You could set up a guide to do this ;0). Apparently I didn’t think it worth the time.  Either way it works, the bolt heads and washers now sit recessed enough to be out of the way.  Besides,  I had a whole pile of flooring to get done and summer was coming to an end ;0).

You will need enough hardwood runners planed down to fit your miter slot to run the length of the jig.  Don’t try to get it in the exact right place to start with.  Once it’s on and running smoothly, just turn on the saw and trim the edge of your jig.  The edge is going to get a little chewed up as you use the jig, don’t worry too much about this since the runner in the miter slot is what keeps it going straight, not the edge right next to the blade.

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Handle at the end of the jig

Finally you will want t a handle at the end to help you push it through.  I used my Kreg pocket-hole jig to put this one, it would have been just as effective to screw it in from the bottom and use counter-sink screws, live and learn right?

There you have it!  You’re very own straight-line jig, no large machine taking up way too much precious space in your garage.  Coincidently if you have a jointer, this jig could be useful in getting tricky boards started, such as convex boards, or really rough edges taken off etc.

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4 thoughts on “Straight-Line Jig

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