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Table saw dado jig (Microjig Matchfit clone)

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  • Table saw dado jig (Microjig Matchfit clone)

    Recently I ran across this Microjig dado stop, and thought it was a pretty clever idea. Although I have a Freud dado stack, when you just have one or two you want to make, it can take a lot more time switching over the blade, dialing in the proper width, etc. This jig promised "no blade changes" and even "no measuring!"

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    The biggest drawback was the price. By itself it costs $25 which is on the higher edge of what I'd pay for something like this anyway, but then I learned it was only useful with their $40 MatchFit clamps. I already have a set of Rockler fence clamps so the thought of buying a redundant clamp just for this, especially at that price, was not appealing. Moreover in reading the reviews, it was apparent that Microjig had gone out of their way to make sure you used their proprietary clamp, even rounding the back of the jig to prevent using other clamps without serious modification. I don't like to reward that sort of thing.


    So... I decided to make my own. In the end, it cost me a small scrap of oak, plus about $5 in hardware (most of that was the knobs):

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    Now I didn't have access to the prototype nor its dimensions, so as I built it I found out I should have done things a little differently. But I made it work (that notch where the knob goes is part of this jerryrigging). So if I were to build a new one, I'd do it a little differently, but this one works great.

    So how does it work? Well the middle "finger" is fixed and does not move, but the other two with the knobs slide in a slot on the base and can be adjusted. The first thing you need to do is calibrate the longer finger to the width of your blade. You do this, as shown in the picture, by butting up the fixed middle finger to the right side of your blade's carbide, then using a straightedge against the left-side carbide of the blade, and setting the lower finger to that width.

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    Now the jig is calibrated to your blade, and you never need to touch that adjustment again so long as you keep using that same blade.

    So how do you make a dado? Let's use these two scraps, dadoing in a groove in the 2x4 for the plywood scrap to fit into:

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    First we dial in the width of the groove, using the actual board that will fit into it. We do this using the square against the bottom finger, then setting the width of the small finger as shown here:


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    Next we use the plywood to set the blade height - again no measuring required!


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    Now we can start cutting! Use the middle finger (not the lower one, it's just setting things up above) to cut the right side of the dado. Then use the upper finger to cut the left side of the dado. Then use repeated cuts to hog out the middle.

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    Voila - a perfectly fitting dado, with no measuring and no blade changes! And a perfectly functioning jig that cost me about $5 and built in about an hour.

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  • #2
    Nice jig and very useful too! Thanks for the pictures also!
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

    Comment


    • #3
      All this talk about the middle finger has got me in a tizzy.

      But it looks like a cool idea. I'll have to build one.
      You explained it well.
      I may have to build a large and small one. Sometimes I do half laps with two by fours and that would be good but would it be too large and unwieldy for smaller dadoes of 1/2 to 3/4 inch?

      Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-11-2018, 04:32 AM.
      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

      Comment


      • #4
        Actually, if the $25 wasn't an obstacle, then you could easily adapt the purchased jig to use a Rockler Fence clamp.(which needs a vertical 3/8" hole instead of that dovetailed slot).
        Fasten a board 3/4" thick by about fence height tall and a bit wider than the jig to its back. You can glue it (I don't think there are any strong forces pulling it apart in use) or simply drill some countersunk holes from the front just above and behind the two green knobs.
        Then drill a 3/8" hole vertically into the center of the top of the 3/4 back board for the fence clamp.
        Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-11-2018, 04:31 AM.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
          Actually, if the $25 wasn't an obstacle, then you could easily adapt the purchased jig to use a Rockler Fence clamp.(which needs a vertical 3/8" hole instead of that dovetailed slot).
          Fasten a board 3/4" thick by about fence height tall and a bit wider than the jig to its back. You can glue it (I don't think there are any strong forces pulling it apart in use) or simply drill some countersunk holes from the front just above and behind the two green knobs.
          Then drill a 3/8" hole vertically into the center of the top of the 3/4 back board for the fence clamp.
          I was pondering doing something like that. But then I thought it would be fun to just try to build the whole thing myself

          Comment


          • #6
            Been mulling this over for a day.
            It's limitations are more evident in my mind.
            For one thing it won't make long rip-styple dadoes using the rip fence.. Only cross dadoes you feed with the sliding miter table
            The other thing is that it won't do very wide dadoes for like lap joints. The commercial one looks like its limited to about 13/16 or 3/4" wide.

            If you make it to do wide lap joints then the jig gets really wide pushing the rip fence way to the right,
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
            BT3 FAQ - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
              Been mulling this over for a day.
              It's limitations are more evident in my mind.
              For one thing it won't make long rip-styple dadoes using the rip fence.. Only cross dadoes you feed with the sliding miter table
              The other thing is that it won't do very wide dadoes for like lap joints. The commercial one looks like its limited to about 13/16 or 3/4" wide.

              If you make it to do wide lap joints then the jig gets really wide pushing the rip fence way to the right,

              Simply another tool in the bag. It can make certain tasks much faster than swapping to a dado stack or setting up a router table. As you note, it isn't for every type of dado, and as I noted, if you're doing a bunch of dados it makes a lot more sense to set up the dado stack or table.

              In any case it was a fun build and dirt cheap.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah, I might still make one..
                Its the kind of thing I like to do.
                Loring in Katy, TX USA
                If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                BT3 FAQ - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

                Comment

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