View Full Version : What jig or tool do you wish you had made sooner?

Paul Henneberry
12-25-2015, 01:04 AM
What jig or tool do you wish you had made sooner? I know it is often hard to interrupt the uke making process to make another jig but the result at least for me is usually an improvement to speed or accuracy and the wish that I had done it sooner.
I am making a batch of fretboards and got to the tapering the sides and profiling the overhang stage. I do a lot of template routing in my making. After having a nasty experience of tearing a lump of fretboard off because I was routing against the grain I resorted to swapping from a top bearing to a bottom bearing bit half way through and turning the template over. Never had a problem again because the bit is always going with the grain but now I had 14 fretboards on the bench and it seemed like a lot of bit swapping. So I stepped back and made a new bench top router table. This meant that I could have a top bearing bit in my big old router table and a bottom bearing bit in my new bench top router table. Finish trimming one side and the opposite end and then step to the other table and finish the job. Works a treat and I wish I had done it sooner. There are more photos and details about the process at my blog


But what jigs or tools have you made recently that has been worth the effort and that you wish you had done sooner.

12-25-2015, 02:02 AM
Paul, you should show some of the Ukes you have made.

Pete Howlett
12-25-2015, 02:43 AM
The secret is to remove as much waste as possible before routing - it preserves the life of the cutter, reduces strain on the machine and despite grain direction, nearly always avoids blow-out. Looking at your jig, I can see why you have a problem... When I used that style of fingerboard ending I routed then ends as halves flipping them over in a length adjustable jig. I think you need to rethink your tool design a bit :)

Paul Henneberry
12-25-2015, 11:08 AM
Thanks Hollis
I did post some pictures of my latest batch on Dec 12 & 13. You must have missed them but this post is about new workshop made jigs and tools (in my case a bench top router table) that you wish you had made sooner.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-25-2015, 12:17 PM
i use to route the fingerboard like this (plastic template double sided taped the the wood) , but now i use a tablesaw sled- I find the sled is safer and quicker.

Michael Smith
12-25-2015, 09:22 PM
If you are having tear out problems you can use a spiral router bit. Like Pete says always remove most of the material with the bandsaw first.

12-26-2015, 07:43 PM
I wish I had made a really good mold earlier. I started a couple of sopranos in a half-assed way last year, and without a good mold to hold them in shape, they turned all lumpy and could not be forced back into the correct shape without fracturing the sides. I'm now in the process of making a VERY accurate set of molds, starting with a pattern template for routing the first layer.