Sometimes, before you can make something, you have to make something else…
Despite what some visitors to the shop may think, I don’t own every tool that one can own. (Maybe in a dream. A dream that also includes a 10,000 sq. ft. work space and nearly unlimited financial resources…) However, the fact is, that even if I did own one (or two!) of everything, I still wouldn’t have everything needed to create every piece of furniture. If necessity is the mother of invention, then jigs are definitely the kooky cousins next door.
So what is a “jig,” exactly? Put simply, a jig is usually a relatively specific creation, often shop built, that exists to either simplify or enable a specific woodworking task that isn’t easily accomplished by tools in their “normal” state. For example, a table saw excels at cutting a parallel edge in wood. If you have one straight side, simply set the saw’s fence to the desired width and you will soon have another straight side at the exact dimension required.
But how do you harness a table saw’s fantastic ability to cut an exceptionally straight line and use that to make something like these tapered legs?