JJam Router Jig - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

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JJam Router Jig



The router is an indispensable power tool in the woodworking shop. Once you begin using a router, you quickly realize that mounting it underneath a worktable significantly increases it's functionality, providing many of the features of a commercial shaper. But hold on! What about mounting the router above your worktable?

Jjam Tools of Langley BC has recently introduced a new twist to routing: the RightSideUp Router Jig. The RightSideUp jig is essentially a router stand that holds your router over the work piece, pretty well the converse of the router table. As when routing by hand, you have complete 'bit visibility'. An advantage of using the RightSideUp jig is that you don't have to hold the router – you hold the work piece being routed. Used in conjunction with a guide pin (inserted into the tabletop directly under the router bit), you get some of the benefits of a pin router. Pin routing is excellent for doing intricate template routing, inlaying work, and in relief or incised routing.

Don't confuse the RightSideUp jig with a pin routing machine. A pin routing machine has a router motor mounted in its base (like a router table) and an overhead arm with a guide pin that extends over the work. The work piece is sandwiched between the tabletop and the template. The guide pin is in line over the cutter, and guides the template and work piece during routing. In other words, you see the template clearly, but the cutter bit is obscured.

That is not the case with the RightSideUp jig. It's template is sandwiched between the tabletop and the work piece. The guide pin is in line under the cutter. You see the cutter bit, but the template is obscured.
 

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To change bits, flip over
 
The RightSideUp jig goes together easily, but do take the time to read the assembly instructions. Allow yourself about 40 minutes to set things up. The main body of the jig and the mounting bracket are solidly constructed, and should provide years of shop use. The jig comes in two configurations: manual adjustment, and crank adjustment. The crank adjustment consists of a threaded rod and coupling attached to the main body of the jig. With the crank adjustment model you pretty well have to use a dedicated table, because the adjustment rod is bolted to the side of the table. It's impractical to remove the bolts each time you're finished using the jig. You'll need a dedicated router to use with this jig, as you do for a conventional router table. The router is not easily removed from the jig; it's screwed to the lexan plate, which in turn is screwed to the arms of the jig.

If you install the supplied guide pin to the top of your worktable you can do very precise template work. You'll want to attach your work piece to your template. I use double sided tape. Then place the template face down over the guide pin to guide the work piece for routing. I use carbide spiral bits available from Lee Valley Tools because they come in narrow diameters (down to 1/16") and cut very cleanly. By using the height adjustment rod to raise and lower your router, and the micro adjustment feature on your router, you get an extremely high degree of precision.

A really great feature of the RightSideUp jig is that changing bits is very easy; you simply swing the head of the jig up.

Initially, I found the RightSideUp jig less intuitive to use than an overhead arm pin router jig. That's probably because I'm uncomfortable with the bit hanging over the work piece (and by extension over my hands). However, being able to see the router bit do its business definitely has its advantages.

In summary, the RightSideUp jig does a good job. If you do a lot of intricate template, inlaying, relief or incised routing, and you prefer to have the cutter visible as you work, then you should have a closer look at this jig. The RightSideUp jig comes with mounting hardware, assembly instructions, and a lifetime warranty.

NOTE: This product is no longer available (February 2013).


CARL DUGUAY is the web editor for Canadian Woodworking
Carl Duguay 2

cduguay@canadianwodworking.com