One of my favorite movies of all time is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And, one of my favorite scenes from the movie was when the brave knights on their quest came across the mighty Enchanter.
Who was he?
Well, there were those who called him … Tim. Funny stuff.
It got me thinking of those more serious movies made in the same genre. You know what I’m talking about, the ones where it takes a few moments for the main character’s name to be announced. Like in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy … Aragorn, son of Arathorn known as Estel, the Strider, became king Ellesar, also known as Telcontar.
What a mouthful.
Why bring this up? Well, when it comes to making table saw jigs, you can create them from one of two prestigious lineages. You can get Grove Gliders or Fence Riders.
Groove gliders are the types which use the miter gauge groove to guide their movement. Some are simply screwed to the miter gauge itself, and can be as simple as a board attached to serve as a crosscut guide. Others, well, they can be elaborate constructions which allow you to cut different kinds of joinery, miters, coves … the works.
These jigs really rely on snug, slop free fits in the miter slots to ensure that there is absolutely no play in the jig setup. This can be accomplished using wood or UHMW plastic, or a runner system like MicroJig’s ZeroPlay miter bar guides.
Fence Riders use the rip fence to control the jig. These babies either have some component that straddles the fence, or they have an edge which rides against the fence.
These fence straddlers should be constructed with carefully to allow a snug fit over the fence, yet not bind. It’s a delicate balance, which can usually be helped with some paste wax on the fence and the inside of the jig. It’s also important to allow for some type of clamping, a handle and some way to ensure the face of the jig stays perpendicular to the table saw’s surface.
Another very familiar Fence Rider are tapering jigs like MicroJig’s Microdial jig. Again, great care needs to be exercised to ensure that there is a safe way to hold and push the jig and material by the blade. The last thing you want to do is get hurt using one of these.
Given their usefulness in the shop, I have a feeling like you might want to invite both jigs to a spot at your round table.