How to Make a Router Jig

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Router jigs are an essential part of woodworking. They allow a craftsman to create a template or guide that can be used repeatedly to create accurate and precise cuts. These jigs can be used in a variety of woodworking projects to stabilize a wood piece as it is cut with the router. 

With these easy-to-follow, how to make a router jig instructions, you will be able to create a variety of router jigs you can use for all your woodworking pieces.

Types of Router Jigs

The first step in how to make a router jig is to consider the vast variety of jigs that are available for you to make. No two router jigs are alike. They each provide a unique guide to follow for the creation of your template.

Consider these router jigs for your woodworking project.

  • Router jig: This is the type of jig we will be concentrating on. It uses a straight wood piece that is run along a lathe to create an accurate cut pattern for your woodworking piece.
  • Circle-cutter jig: You can create circle guides with this type of jig in plywood. This will provide you a proper template to follow to construct a circle pattern in virtually any type of material.
  • Straight-edge jig: This type of jig allows you to create a straight-edge with your wood project. It provides the ideal guide for any wood piece that needs symmetrical, straight-edge cuts.
  • Hinge jig: This jig is used in creating door hinges. It provides a template to follow, thus avoiding any damage to a door frame.

​Router Jig Materials Needed

To get started making your router jig, you need to first gather some supplies to start the process. Your main material source is wood.

You will need to decide what type of surface you want to construct your router jig out of. Most craftsmen choose plywood as this provides a sturdy material to cut your guide out of for your template shape.

Xanita plywood
Photo credit: Xanita International on Flickr / CC BY-ND

You may also want to select particle board as an option for your router jig. It is inexpensive and allows you the ability to glue additional layers to its surface.

Consider the type of woodworking project you will be using your router jig on. Then, choose a material that is durable and affordable for your template design.

Fasteners and Clamps

Parts of your router jig may need to get fastened together to create a more complex shape. You will need a series of brads or pinheads to connect the pieces in a secure fashion. If you are looking for a more temporary way to add and remove structures to your router jig, you can use drywall screws that can easily be removed as needed.

Your supply list also needs to include a range of clamps that will hold your router jig to your workbench as you cut. These clamps come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Choose the ones that will easily hold your router jig in place as you work.

Router Jig Guide Rails

Now, it is time to begin creating the guide rail of your router jig. You will use this to guide you as you make your router cuts.

Start with a 2×4 piece of wood and add a 1×3 of wood horizontally across it. You should have at least 6 inches of overlap. This will create your guide rail and will help you as you build the router jig.

To stabilize your guide rail and keep it off the ground as you work, you can add a scrap piece of wood. Place this under the 1×3 at the opposite end of the 2×4 piece. All the wood pieces of your guide rail should be screwed together where they connect to make a durable guide that you can move around and use as needed.

​Router Jig Operations

How to make a router jig
Photo credit: Andrew Fresh on Flickr / CC BY

With your guide rail as your guide, use your router to put a groove into the 1×3 piece of wood. This will help you start your template and line up your guide rail to your plywood piece to create your jig. Align the groove you made in your 1×3 piece of wood with the plywood where you want to start your pattern.

Use your guide rail to support the router as you cut the groove shape you need into your plywood panel. As you move your router along, your guide rail will keep your router steady and help you complete your template cuts.

Once you have completely grooved out your jig and have no more cuts to make, your template is complete. It can be used to construct any wood piece you have in mind.

For a simpler solution, you can also use your drill to cut grooves in wood.


By using these how to make a router jig instructions, you will find that it is easier than ever to create a variety of templates and guides for all your woodworking projects.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.