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Those of you at the Lie-Nielsen show in Chicago may have seen me and Christopher Schwarz pestering Jeff Miller to demonstrate his slick tenon jig and mortise jig – the ones about which he’s written for the June 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. If you were one of those who asked me when the videos would be on our site…it took me a few days longer than I said (sorry!).

And for those of you who weren’t at the show, well, you can hear it in the background.

Jeff Miller’s precision tenon jig:


Jeff Miller’s precision mortise-paring jig:

— Megan Fitzpatrick

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Showing 11 comments
  • eldredma

    Forsaking jigs is not only foolish, it is also un-craftsmanly. While I can rip a board with a chisel and hammer, I’d rather do it with a jig made of chisels (it’s called a saw). Anything that produces a better product and decreases waste should be welcomed. Work smart, not hard.

  • R.Hoppe

    I’m sure specialty jigs were used in the 18th century, even by very skilled hand tool workers.

  • Cosmo

    As a beginner I can use all the help I can get.
    I have built two bench hooks and a shooting board and am now working on building two saw benches all leading up to the building of my first workbench. I decided that I would use the saw benches as a opportunity to try my hand at mortise and tenon joints and drawboring. I cut my first tenon and it looked pretty good. Then I moved on to the mortise. Damn, the mortise looks like I’d been sipping way too much bourbon.
    Now I find myself having a debate as to whether I should build more and more jigs or just keep practicing. I think I’ll just keep practicing as it sure looks like these jigs are beyond my skills at this point. It also looks to me that one really needs to have a number of power tools (and the skills to use them)to build these jigs and I have neither room nor money for that.
    One question about the tenon jig, would one build a separate jig for each size tenon you intend to cut?

  • rickb

    A little torn on this. On the one hand, I’m sure both jigs increase speed and accuracy. On the other, freedom from “jiggery” is one of the touted benefits of hand tool use. I would not want to see Mr. Schwarz have to add a chapter to “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” so close to the first publishing.

  • McDara

    I used to do computer programming and this fits in with programs written that are slick, trick totally cool, and a complete waste of time.

  • abt

    I saw the demo in Chicago. The jig works so well, it has to be magic. I’ll probably go to one of Jeff’s jig building classes to make mine.

  • mvflaim

    I’ve seen Jeff demonstrate this jig last year in Cincy at the Lie-Nielsen tool show. The jigs are slick and make sense for production work.

  • Steve D

    Handtool work has room for jigs. I wouldn’t like to work without my bench hook, shooting board, drill guides.

  • billsias

    I pray that this was posted on April 1.

  • J. Pierce

    I was just thinking that’s what handtool woodworking was missing – a shelf full of jigs!

    I guess it seems like one of those things where it’s better suited to just learn to cut them right. If it’s still a little sloppy, toss a couple drawbore pegs in there!

  • Niels

    Well, that certainly takes the fun out of things…
    and by “fun” I mean botching and swearing. haha.
    Very clever jigs.

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