Finger Joint Jig from Issue 10
Good ideas take on a life of their own, and it’s interesting to see how articles from Woodworking Magazine pop up on internet forums every now and then. A recent thread on Woodnet, debating the pros and cons of table saw vs. router jig finger joints took a turn when someone brought up a jig I devised for routing finger joints. This was published in issue 10, a couple years ago.
Unlike most jigs in magazine articles, this is relatively simple and it works. The key to the whole thing is that the fingers and spacers on the jig all come from material ripped to the same width, then assembled. Both work pieces are clamped in the jig, then the joint is cut with a straight router bit with a top mounted bearing. That got us very close to a perfect fit, but we needed to tighten the joint. Aluminum duct sealing tape on the inside edges of the fingers turned out to be the fix. You can find a SketchUp model of the original jig here.
Of course, you can’t mention anything on an internet forum without stirring up a debate, and the subject turned to whether or not the Bosch Colt router seen in the opening photo of the article might be the reason we needed the aluminum shims. I promised to check the original photos to see if that was the router we used. The picture above didn’t make it to print, and you can see that the router is a DeWalt 621. As I recall, I used the Bosch when making and testing the jig, and Chris Schwarz used the DeWalt when using the jig to build the feature project. When it came time to take the opening photo, the art director and photographer decided to use the smaller Bosch.
The lesson here is that perfection can be elusive. Sometimes using a different router or bit makes things better, but most of the time it doesn’t really matter. We like and use both of these routers, and got the same results with each one. Instead of launching a quest for the perfect router and the very best bit we took what we had and found a simple fix. That turned out to be a roll of tape from the neighborhood hardware store.
This was one of my favorite articles from Woodworking Magazine. I’ll write about some of the others in the coming weeks. Leave a comment and let us know what your favorites were. And if you feel like you missed something valuable, you can catch up by getting individual issues, or the entire run of Woodworking Magazine here.