By themselves, one or two of these powerful, switch-operated devices may not do much for you and may seem quite mysterious. But when incorporated into a variety of scrapwood jigs, they can do wonders in their role as firm hold-downs, replacing cumbersome clamps and saving gobs of setup time while increasing safety.
THE SETUP: To employ the MagJigs (we recommend having a minimum of two), first choose the jig to use items with. In order for MagJigs to work, the selected jig needs to be something you intend to attach to a steel surface, such as a drill press or table saw table. The jig could serve as a guide, or a hold-down. It could contain other hardware parts to increase its functionality. Also keep in mind that whatever jig material you use for the MagJigs—Baltic birch plywood, MDF, or hardwood—it needs to be 11/16" to 3/4" thick so that the bottom of the MagJig is flush with the attaching scrapwood surface when in place.
Now, drill sized holes in the scrapwood to install the MagJigs. For the 20mm MagJig, bore a 30mm or 11/4" hole; for the 30mm MagJig, a 40mm or a 19/16" hole. Leave enough wood along the edges and ends of the scrapwood (from 3/4" to 1") to avoid breakage or weakness. Drop in the MagJigs (a friction-fit lets you quickly pull them out for use in another shop jig), or screw the devices to the jig for continued use.
Finally, adhere the scrapwood jig to the tool’s steel surface by turning the MagJig knobs clockwise to activate the magnetic force in an instant.
THE TEST: Using the four jigs featured here in actual shop applications, I was able to rip stock safely through our shop table saw, cut crown molding on a table saw, drill accurate holes in the slats for our cross-brace chair (see page 10), and resaw a 7"-wide piece of wenge on the bandsaw. I was amazed at how little time I needed to make the above setups. And the setup for cutting the crown on the table saw provided the needed safety for this somewhat intimidating cut. By simply locating jigs and locking them in place with a turn of the wrists, I was ready to go. Trying to clamp such jigs to the underside of a steel tool table can be trying at best, while forever seeking the perfect spot.
Not knowing what to do with the MagJigs is likely the biggest challenge manufacturer Magswitch has in selling the items. Consequently, the company spent this past year developing jigs that are well suited for the MagJigs. We borrowed them to give you four practical shop applications. Complete with dimensions, they’re yours for the taking.
JIG 1: THE THIN-STOCK
This clever jig is made from one piece of solid wood and consists of four graduated steps for holding down
1/8" -, 1/4"-, 3/8"-, and 1/2"-thick stock.
JIG 2: COVE MOLDING AND DADO GUIDE SYSTEM
Employing a pair of stock-containing scrapwood guides, this jig includes two MagJigs in each opposing guide strip, as well as a T-track, and a Magswitch vertical featherboard (#147528, $11.99).
JIG 3: BANDSAW RESAW JIG
Consisting of just two pieces of scrapwood, this screwed together jig locks in place at the desired distance from the blade, allowing for an even cut from top to bottom.
JIG 4: UNIVERSAL FENCE
Shown here in a drilling operation, this right-angle jig, held together with pocket screws, makes quick work of any number of fence-dependent tasks.