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If you don’t have the budget for a jointer or simply don’t have enough space to store it, you’ll benefit from learning how to make a jointer jig for a table saw. This way, you will be able to use your table saw as a jointer without having to blow your budget.
How to Make a Jointer Jig for a Table Saw
If you need to make flat and uniform boards without a jointer, there is a simple way you can turn your table saw into a makeshift jointer. You do this by creating a jig that will enable your table saw to work as if it were a standard jointer.
What You Need
- Table Saw
- Screwdriver and screws
- Plywood or MDF
- Glue or Two-sides tape
- Toggle clamps
- Tape measure
Step One: Create a Runner and Sled
A sled is usually bigger than the runner and is used to adjust and secure lumber while you are working on it using the planner. You will need to measure and cut the MDF or plywood based on how big you want your jointer jig to be. We will be using a 10-inch wide and 40-inch long sled.
However, we recommend that you cut the sled to the same length as the boards you will be working on to make it easier to handle. The runner should also be the same length as the sled, which is 40 inches. However, the width should be smaller, about 3 inches wide.
Step 2: Attach Runner to the Sled
Along one edge of the runner, drill clearance holes that are 6 inches apart. You also have the option of using a T-track on top of the runner. In that case, the holes should be the same length apart as those on the T-track.
Next, place a two-sided tape or glue on one face of the runner. Lower the blade on your table saw and adjust the fence to the far end. Position the sled against the fence then take the runner and firmly press the side with glue or double-sided tape onto the sled.
Put some screws on the holes you drilled on the runner then tighten using a screwdriver. (Skip the screwing for now if you will be using a T-track). This will help make the runner firmer against the sled since the glue or double-sided tape alone cannot be that reliable. While the glue should be able to hold the two together, you would have to wait the whole day.
Step 3: Attach T-track to the Runner
While you can get away without a T-rack, it helps to make the jig stronger. Whether or not to use a T-track depends on the types of clamps you have. We recommend using the T-track if you are using simple hold-down clamps with a single bolt.
However, if you are using quick-release toggle clamps with a wider base, you can do without a T-track.
Mount the T-track on top of the holes you drilled earlier then screw it down. Make sure to leave the two holes on both ends empty for the clamps you will be attaching later.
Step 4: Straighten the Edges
The straightness of the jointer jig will determine how straight your stocks come out. That is why it is important that you ensure the edges of the jig are as straight as possible. We recommend that you cut zero clearance insert on the edge of the sled.
The edge with the runner should also be very straight since this is where you press against the table saw fence. Therefore, the boards you work on will only be as straight as the edges of the jointer jig.
Step 5: Attach the Clamps
You use clamps to hold down the stocks that you need to straighten with the table saw. These go on top of the runner or T-track if you used one. If you are using the quick-release toggle clamps with wider bases, position them on the far ends of the runner then screw them down with four 3/4-inch wood screws.
If you use a T-track, you will need to use simple hold-down clamps. These come with a single T-bolt that you fastened into the T-track. It also has a 5-star knob for fastening and rubber tips that hold the stock down. Simply fastened these clamps into the holes on the T-track that you left earlier.
In case the stock you are working on is thicker than the runner, you might want to add another runner on top of the first one so that you don’t strain the clamps.
Step 6: Test Your Jointer Jig
There you have it! Your jointer jig is now ready to test. To do this, simply take a piece of lumber with ragged edges and clamp it down on the jointer jig. Make sure the ragged end slightly extends beyond the length of the jointer jig.
This is to ensure that you don’t cut the jig’s sled along with the lumber. Turn on your table saw and steadily pass the edge of the lumber you want to trim off through the saw. While doing so, ensure that the edge with the runner is firmly pressed against the table saw fence.
This helps to prevent wiggles that might lead to an irregular edge on the lumber. If the lumber edge is still not straight enough after cutting, it means your jointer jig is not straight enough. You should also practice using the jointer jig for some time before going into the actual cutting.
While a jointer jig may not produce the same quality of work as a standard jointer, it is still a great option if you can’t afford the jointer. It will make using your table saw much more efficient and put a touch of professionalism to your projects. All without breaking the bank or eating too much space in your workshop.