Buying Guide

What Is a Woodworking Jig

Woodworking Jigs
A man using a jigsaw on a plank of wood.

Woodworking jigs are very useful in wood shops, essentially serving as a template when completing repetitive tasks in measuring, cutting, drilling or other woodworking activities. 


Many common woodworking jigs can be purchased from home improvement stores and specialty woodworking shops. 


Woodworkers also create individual jigs with wood or metal pieces from their shop supplies depending on the kind of jig that is needed, either designing from scratch or consulting a set of published plans. Woodworking jig plans are widely available in books or on the internet.


Dowel Jigs
A dowel jig in use on a piece of light wood.

Dowel jigs are used to create holes in boards that are the correct size and depth to receive dowel pins. In woodworking, dowel pins are used as shelf supports and to strengthen joins between boards, usually with the assistance of wood glue for additional stability. 


A dowel jig makes it easier to align and drill dowel holes, particularly in the edges or ends of a board.

Drill Jigs
A drill jig being used on a piece of wood.

Drill jigs are used to center and guide a hand drill, punch tool or other boring tool so that it will drill a straight, centered hole into wood or other building material. Most drill jigs allow the woodworker to control not only the depth of the hole but also the angle of insertion.

Miter Jigs
A miter jig in use on a piece of molding.

Miter jigs are an essential tool that allows the woodworker to make angled cuts to the wood. Many types of woodworking projects, such as crown molding and framing, require creating wood joins that fit perfectly together with straight, even seams. The best woodworking jig for this job is a miter jig. 


A miter jig allows the woodworker to quickly and accurately create cuts at 45-degree angles in either direction. This ensures that when the two cuts are joined, they will create a perfect 90-degree corner.