Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: jigs

The Tale of the Tail Jig

Jig1My handsaw skills might be lacking, but I do enjoy cutting most of my joinery by hand. However, when I have a bunch of identical joints to cut, I turn to jigs.

I recently discovered this little jig for cutting tails on the bandsaw. It’s little more than a wedge with a stop at one end. To make it, you simply cut a wedge to your desired angle, cut off the tip, flip it around and glue it back on. To use it, you register your board on the stop and slide the opposite edge along the fence of your bandsaw.


The beauty of this jig is that you can make several cuts without adjusting your fence. Start by marking out your tails on  one end of your board.  Using the jig, adjust the fence of your bandsaw to line up with your first cut. Assuming your tails are symmetrical, you should be able to take two cuts from each end of your board. You end up only needing to adjust the fence once for each tail you’re cutting.  Dead square tails are just icing on the cake.

What jigs do you use to supplement your handtool work?

Bench Hook Progress

Yesterday, I started work on my bench hook. I am borrowing from a design used by Bad Axe Tools. The fence and hook are made from 1 1/2″ square stock and mate to the work using a bullet-proof dado joint. The entire thing will be 6″ wide by 10 1/2″ long. I am using hickory because it’s dense, and I had stock on hand. I found squaring up the fence and hook to be a real challenge due to the short length. I ended up doing a lot of the work with my block plane, because I found it too difficult to balance my bench planes on the stock. I thicknessed and planed to width using an old Dunlap no. 4. This plane worked remarkably well. Does anyone have any tips for squaring up short stock?


All squared up.


Here’s a friendly reminder to take care when using your marking tools.