We metalworkers tend to be tool hounds. When I get a new catalog, I go through and mark the pages with tools that I just can’t live without, but inevitably can’t buy right now. Many times I just make do with what I have, but having the right tool for the job can make it so much easier and faster to get things done right.
What to do if you can’t afford a new tool? Try and make it of course! (For a great book about doing just that, check out Cheap Thrills in the Tool Shop by Charles Lewton-Brain.) Today I’m going to show you how to make a tubing jig/block. Actually, you’ll make two of them, so pair up with a friend to share the work.
- 12-15″ section of 2 x 6 wood (the lumbar yard will usually make at least one cut for you) You can use pine or spruce (such as a stud) or make it our of hardwood or delrin plastic for an even sturdier version
- assorted spade and hole saw drill bits
- ruler & pencil
- drill (easier with a drill press, but doable with a hand drill)
- saw (a band saw would be ideal, but you could use a hand saw or table saw)
Draw a line down the midpoint of the length of wood. Mark where to drill, making sure to leave space between the holes. Drill holes. I drill pilot holes the whole way through for the hole saw holes since you will need to flip the piece in order to drill the whole way through. This way it will line up properly.
–TIP– Drill most of the way through when using the spade bit and then flip it once you can see the pilot hole. Drill the rest of the way through. This will keep the wood from splintering. Just be careful if you are using a hand drill, it can kick back.
Saw the wood in half lengthwise once all the holes are drilled. File and sand them if you wish. Now you have two tubing blocks!