A router jig is commonly confused with a machine called a “fixture”, which holds a workpiece securely in place while it undergoes a work process. Router jigs do the same thing, but they are also designed to guide the tool that performs the work: a manual router.
Router jigs are useful for applications that require a workpiece to be secured in place, as a router travels the channels of the jig, shaping the workpiece. The work a router jig can produce depends on the size of the jig and the capabilities of the router. If you have a commercial grade or industrial grade router jig, you can likely use it in the following practical ways, among others.
1. Cutting Joints
When we hear the word “router”, we often think of woodwork. Routers are used for many types of woodworking procedures, one of the most practical of which is creating joints (a.k.a. joinery). Examples of wood joints router jigs produce include: dovetail, tongue and groove, finger, and mortise and tenon.
If you’re interested in creating woodwork that requires joinery, you can use a router jig to cut the type of joints that provide the best appearance and strength for the type of product you create.
2. Boring Firearms
Mounting and boring gun components is another practical use for router jigs. For example, there’s a router jig out there for building your own assault rifle (AR) that lets you mount and finish boring the gun’s 80% lower receiver, which houses the gun trigger and the bullet clip.
In addition to being exciting for gun enthusiasts, performing a do-it-yourself gun boring operation costs much less than having a gunsmith do the work. With the right router jig, you can bore lower receivers with the same accuracy and speed as a professional gunshop.
3. Creating Engravings
Regardless of why you need an engraving, the right router jig can help you apply clear characters and symbols to a variety of materials, including: stone, wood, plastic, and metal.
The materials a router can engrave depends on the power of the equipment and the type of router bit used. Serializing self-built firearms is a good example of how a router jig can perform engraving for a highly practical application. If you build your own firearms, you can use a router jig to apply the serial number.
4. Finishing Cabinets
Realtors often say bathrooms and kitchens are the two types of rooms in a house that make it appealing to prospective homebuyers. The rooms are quite different, but they often share a similarity: They both have wood cabinets.
In addition to creating precise joints for connecting panels of cabinetry, a router jig can create holes for placing knobs, plant holders, and other types of hardware commonly applied to cabinetry as finishing measures. With the right router bit in place, you can also use a router to apply beveling to cabinetry.
5. Producing Millwork
Before the invention of routers and milling machines, millwork was done by hand ― a tedious, painstaking process that could take months or even years to complete, depending on the size of size of the job and the intricacy of the design.
Today, routers make millwork much more efficient, without sacrificing quality. Depending on the capabilities of your router, you can produce highly detailed millwork that looks as if a master woodworker carved it by hand.
6. Performing Sanding
Some router bits are designed to sand narrow areas, such as the side section of a table top and sides of narrow furniture legs. The length of the router bit contains a coarse surface finish that ― depending on its material and consistency ― could be used to sand anything from wood, to stone, to glass.
When using a router jig in this way, it’s highly important to run the router bit at the correct speed (i.e. RPM). Sanding machines commonly have only one speed, but many routers contain variable-frequency drives (VFDs) that let them operate at various speeds. If a router’s RPM is too fast for a sanding bit, the bit could fly apart, the router and the workpiece could be damaged, and the user could be injured.
Router jigs are often thought of as woodworking machines, and they are. But there’s a lot you can do with a router jig besides woodwork. In addition to using the machine for cutting joints in wood, finishing cabinetry, and producing wooden millwork, you can also use it to bore firearms, create engravings in various materials, and performing sanding.
For more information on practical ways in which you can use a router jig, contact a professional supplier of router equipment today. Depending on its capabilities, there could be several more constructive applications for your router jig, in addition to the ones from our list.
Author Bio: Kurt Darrell
Kurt Darrell is a contributor for several websites dealing on different kinds of topics. When he is not working, he can be found gardening, windsurfing, hiking, or working on his upcoming blog that he will be publishing soon.