Clay, Application to Refinement

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Wire Tool Drilling Jig

The main objective of a jig is to save time in repetitive functions. Therefore you should ask yourself before making any jig:                    

                                                                     1. Will it save time in the long run.

                                                                     2. Do I have to repeat the procedure.

                                                                     3. Is it a  safer practice.



With that in mind, the following jig is an asset when it comes to making a set of wire tools. It is an easy solution for clamping the handles while drilling the holes for accepting the wire forms. It can also be used for holding the handles for rakes, finishers and hoggers while drilling.

It reduces the risk of injury from drilling because the handles are clamped securely in the jig.


Material list for making a drilling jig :-



Plywood   7"x 4"x 1/2" (Back board)

                   5"x 4"x 1/2" (Base board)

                   3 7/8"x 2 3/4"x 3/4" (Blocks)


Socket head cap screws   

                   4 off  5/16-18 x 2 1/2"


Washers  4 off  5/16"


Tee-nuts  4 off  5/16-18 x 5/8"


Wood screws 2 off 1 1/4" No.8 or drywall screws.


Wood glue.

Exploded view of wire tool handle jig.

With the list of materials set out, mark a center line down the length of the 7"x 4"x 1/2" piece of plywood. From the bottom edge of the plywood scribe a line at 3/8" and 4". This will be the positions for gluing on the holding blocks. Take the 5"x 4"x 1/2" piece of plywood and scribe a line 3/16" from the edge of one end. Mark in from the edge on each side 1" and drill 1/8" holes. Countersink the holes for the wood screws. These holes will be used for fixing the base to the back board.


With the 3 7/8"x 2 3/4"x 3/4" block, scribe lines along the length as shown in the illustration right. You should have 1" scribes at each end of the block followed by 1/8" gaps. Next 3/4" scribes followed by a 1/8" gap. 


Mark a center line along the length. On the center line at the 1 1/8" mark, drill holes of 1/2" and 3/4". This is easiest done with a Forstner bit.


On each end of the block mark-out the holes for taking the tee-nuts. From the center line mark 3/4" either side, then scribe a line 3/8" giving you the centers for drilling. 


Set up on a drill press. With a 25/64" drill bit, set the stops to drill a hole 5/8" deep. After drilling for the tee-nuts remove the drill and replace with a 21/64" drill bit. Using the same centers drill through all four holes, this is a clearance hole for the cap head screws.


Now that all the drilling is done the blocks can be separated by bandsawing through the 1/8" gaps and then sanding flat.


Take the blocks with the 1/2"diameter hole drilled through and glue the 3/4" half to the back board, lining up the center line marks and position the bottom edge on the 3/8" line.


Drawing of the blocks that will support the wire tool handle in the jig.

Next take the blocks with the 3/4" hole drilled through and glue the 3/4" half to the back board, lining up the center line marks and position the bottom edge above the 4" mark. Once the glue is set, the holes in the blocks can be used as guides to drill through the back board.


With the remaining halves of the blocks, set in the tee-nuts by tapping in with a hammer. You may find that the spurs on the tee-nut will start to split the plywood. If this is the case, remove the tee-nut and pre-drill with a 1/8" drill bit where the spurs have marked and then hammer in.


Photograph of the wire tool handle jig.

With the blocks glued in position we can now glue the back board on top of the base board. Make sure that everything is square. Next take the wood screws and screw the base on. This will give it an additional bit of strength.


With everything assembled we can line the 1/2" and 3/4" holes with leather. This will prevent the handles from being dented and also provide additional grip.


Insert the 2 1/2" socket head cap screws and washers through the back board and screw into the other halves of the blocks. This will now complete  the assembly.




Copyright © 2003 - 20 Steven Austin