Make ‘Em or Buy ‘Em?

I love to build jigs and fixtures to help my woodworking be more accurate and efficient. There is something very satisfying in coming up with a jig that solves a tough woodworking challenge. At the same time, my shop is replete with “store-bought” jigs.
So, why do I sometimes decide to buy a crosscut sled rather than make one? What is the trigger?

On one hand, sometimes it is a function of time. I want to get a project done ASAP, so buying a nicely manufactured jig cuts down my time in the shop. Other times, I confess it is the allure of the shiny new object. And sometimes, the store-bought item is just better than something I can come up with. The systems from both Micro Jig and Microfence come to mind.

So how about you? Where do you come down on when to buy and when to build? The question bears examining.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

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