Turning Back to Old Friends

A new version of an old friend. This jig is modeled after one that Rob used as a young man in his dad's shop.

A new version of an old friend. This jig is modeled after one that Rob used as a young man in his dad's shop.

Regardless of the situation, when the going gets tough there is nothing like a tried-and-true friend to get you where you want to go.  Recently, I was building a pretty basic piece of woodworking for the print magazine. Building a project for a magazine is a little different than building for yourself in a couple of ways.  First, rather than simply coming up with the simplest and fastest way to get the job done, I try to include techniques and tools that our readers will find interesting and useful.  Secondly, when you are done with the project, about a quarter million people will have a chance to check out your work (and often share their opinion of said work).  So, when it came to deciding just how to plow the dadoes for the Modular Bookcases in the December 2009 issue, I went back to basics and built a copy of a jig that hung on the wall of my dad’s cabinet shop “back in the day.”

There is nothing fancy about it, a couple of straightedges secured to a plywood deck with narrow sides. To use it, you slide the wood you are going to dado into the jig. Locate the dado by means of a stop that you can clamp or screw in place, clamp your stock to the jig and start to plow the dado.  You get dead-on dadoes with a minimum of fuss and frustration.

The Modular Bookcases from our December 2009 print edition.

The Modular Bookcases from our December 2009 print edition.

And I have to say that building the jig was a trip down memory lane. The beat-up jig that I started using to plow dadoes in cabinet sides as a young man was hanging on the wall of dad’s shop as long as I could remember. Building my own version (and this was not my first replica) reminded me that sometimes the tried-and-true methods are exactly what you need to be practicing.  Indeed, old friends are the ones that you can count on.

Rob Johstone
Editor in Chief

PS – For more information on our December 2009 issue, click here.

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About Rob Johnstone

Rob Johnstone has been part of Woodworker's Journal's since 1997, becoming editor of the print magazine in 1998 and editor in chief in 2007. He began woodworking at age 13 in his family-owned cabinet shop and, as an adult, trained to become an accomplished luthier. He eventually opened his own cabinetry and custom fine woodworking business. Rob has brought many of the most well-known authors in woodworking to the Journal's pages and introduced Woodworker's Journal Online Survey. When, in his free time, Rob isn't woodworking, he enjoys hunting for sharp-tailed grouse with his bird dog, playing music and/or listening to his son's rock band and cooking on his high-tech stove.

2 thoughts on “Turning Back to Old Friends

  1. Thank you for the article. Recently while remodeling my daughters pantry, in IL, and installing drawers, having 8 drawers I stopped to make a simple jig. I showed my son inlaw, new to woodworking, how to make it and the reason why. Uniformity on all drawers. I made him draw up the next jig and build it and use it. He now knows the process before using a router.
    I share your magazine with my youngest daughter who also enjoys wood working. Presently in the process of setting up her work shop.
    Ray H

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