I hate skill-saws! I don’t think there is a more dangerous tool in my shop. Therefore I try to make all my cuts with either my chop saw or table saw. However, when working with plywood, I still have to use the skill-saw.
Nonetheless, with a proper jig, a skill-saw can be the safest and easiest way to cut plywood down to size.
Now the original design for this jig comes from YouTube’s DIY Creator. However, I made mine larger to accommodate the lumber I would be using.
Coincidentally, I was listening to NPR this morning on the way to work and Shankar Vedantam, from The Hidden Brain podcast discussed how individuals become overconfident after watching YouTube.
On that, I have to say that I am so happy to be living in an era when knowledge is so accessible. 10 years ago, I couldn’t change my own oil and now I don’t think twice about changing out the hub assembly on my 4 wheel drive truck.
Same goes for my beekeeping. I never had a beekeeping mentor – which is something a really regret. However, by watching 100’s of hours of YouTube videos I was able to fill in a lot of gaps in my knowledge.
That being said, building this jig definitely looked easier in the YouTube video.
I have a table saw but it is a very light duty saw. Therefore there is no way to cut plywood with any sort of accuracy.
Since I needed a jig that could cut out hive lids at 22×18.125 I made my jig 48″ long and 30 wide.
I used a half of a sheet of 3/4″ plywood that I got on sale for $13.
I had a scrap 5′ long 1×4 with a thick piece of wane (tree bark) on it’s edge. To get my first straight line, I cut the wain off on my table saw. I then measured the plywood 26″ from the factory cut edge (leaving 4″ for plate on my saw) and clamped the 1×4 (that was now about 1×3) to that line.
Using the 1×4 as a guide, I cut the plywood down to 30×48. I then took the remaining 18×48 piece and made it into the rails and guide.
The final step was screwing it all together. I pre-drilled the holes with a 3/32″ bit and used a speed square to get everything lined up.
THIS IS WHERE THINGS DIDN’T GO AS EASY AS ON YOUTUBE.
I didn’t have a counter sink bit and so I used a 3/8″ bit which didn’t do a very good job. As I seated the screw in place, the board moved out of square. I tried to remove the screw and adjust it but the holes would guide the screw right back into the same place every time.
In the end, I set the rail in place and used a few 18-gauge brads to secure it. It may still be off by a hair but it was good enough for me.
It might not be perfect but it worked great! I made a quick couple of cuts and had my hive bottom ready to go. Wednesday, I plan to cut up all of the plywood I salvaged from those crates last month.
No doubt, this jig will get a ton of use.
If you have any suggestions on how I might have been able to get those rails perfectly square, leave a comment. While this one is good enough, I’d always prefer perfection.
2 Comments Add yours
Wow, I have seen really awesome and efficient jigs on Youtube like this one. And you’re right, they do make it look easy. I like that you’ve made one to suit beekeeping carpentry needs. Good job on the jig. I too am NOT a fan of circular saws, they make me nervous but when it comes to cutting plywood it looks like you have found an excellent solution. Thanks
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