Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index

Indexing Jig for Ripping Thin Strips

Ripping several thin edging strips to the exact same thickness -- such as those you would use to edgeband a cabinet -- can be tricky. The answer is to use a simple indexing jig to set up each cut.

Make a Jig — The jig is just a 1/4" plywood block mounted to a wood runner. To make the jig, start by sizing the runner to fit in the miter gauge slot. Then place the block on top of the runner and move it close to the blade.

Once the distance between the block and the outermost tooth on the blade equals the thickness of edging you want to cut, fasten the block to the cleat permanently.

Set Up for First Cut — To use the jig to set up the first cut, simply slide it back away from the blade and butt an extra-wide workpiece against the block. Then slide the fence against the workpiece (Top Photo).

Once that's done, remove the jig and rip the first strip (Bottom Photo). Notice that the fence is positioned so the blade cuts the strip off on the outside (left side) of the blade. That way the edging strip falls off on the "waste" side, reducing the chance of kickback.

Rip Consistent Strips — To rip additional strips to the same thickness, place the jig back in the miter gauge slot and butt the same workpiece against the block again. After repositioning the fence, make a second cut similar to the first one.

Now repeat the setup and ripping operation until you’ve cut as many strips as needed. You’ll find that each strip you ripped is exactly the same thickness.

Safety Note: Once the workpiece has been ripped down to about 3/4" wide, stop using it and get another one..

  Figure 1
1. An indexing jig makes it easy to rip thin strips to a uniform thickness from an extra-wide blank. With the jig's runner set in the miter gauge slot, butt the blank against the jig to position the fence.

Figure 1
2. After locking the fence in place, remove the jig and feed the blank through the blade using a push block.

Woodworking Tips Index ©August Home Publishing Company