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Router Jigs

Routing a circle into surface of board with a template.
We tested dozens of accessories that make handheld routing more accurate. Then, we graded each one to make your buying decisions easier.

Circle jigs

These jigs rout circles in much the same way you’d lay one out with a compass: Drill a pivot-pin hole at the center of the intended circle on the back face of your workpiece. Fit the jig’s pivot pin into the hole, and the jig over the pivot pin, and then rout the circle with progressively deeper passes. All of the jigs have scales for quickly setting the circle radius, whether you want to rout an inside diameter, such as a speaker hole in a cabinet, or an outside diameter, such as a tabletop. 


To maximize cutting depth, most of the tested jigs replace your router’s subbase (see the exception, below), and many come predrilled—and with mounting screws—for popular routers. If a jig doesn’t fit your router out of the box, you can drill it to match, but you may need longer mounting screws to account for the jig’s thickness.

Showing the base of a router stand.
For quick mounting, the Woodhaven jig clamps to almost any router. Although it’s not necessary, we removed the subbase to maximize plunge depth.

Placing a round clear plastic router jig on top of another one.
Replace your subbase with Milescraft’s TwistLock plate, which locks into the circle jig for easy mounting. This plate also fits other Milescraft router bases and jigs, so you can leave it on your router.

Jasper M200 (medium), $50 

Medium size yellow router jig with Tool Tool logo

Overall grade: A 
Diameter range: 214 –18316 " in 116 " increments 
Jasper Tools
713 681-9912, jaspertools.com

This intuitive and accurate jig is almost goof-proof. The diameter settings read from the bottom, so it’s best to set the pivot pin in the jig first, with the router upside down. As marked (for a 14 " bit), it creates perfect inside cutouts; for outside diameters, add twice the bit diameter to set the pivot pin. It comes with five sets of router-mounting screws, two pivot pins, and a can’t-miss guide for centering your router on the jig. 

Milescraft Small Circle Compass, no. 1210, $33

Clear plastic router base

Overall grade: B+
Diameter range: 112 –12"
Milescraft
​224-236-2532, milescraft.com

Radial slots in the TwistLock plate (shown above) accommodate mounting almost any router. We found the scales easy to read and accurate. Although we didn’t have any problems, the plastic feels brittle. This jig comes with a centering pin, guide bushing, two sets of mounting screws, and a 14 " straight bit.

MLCS Router Compass, no. 9495, $55

Long skinny jig. Has slot through center for jig to hold router. Ruler marks above and below slot.

Overall grade: B+
Diameter range: 8–48"
MLCS Woodworking
800-533-9298
mlcswoodworking.com

With no predrilled mounting holes, you’ll have to drill them to match your router. MLCS provides a thin rubber disc to center the bit in the jig when drilling mounting holes, but it deflected, and our jig ended up 116 " off center. (We redrilled the holes oversize to recalibrate it.) After securing the pivot pin where you want on the jig, it extends only 316 " into the workpiece pivot hole. It never popped out, but we wish it was longer.

Jasper M300 Pro (large), $66

Long yellow plastic jig, with top tool logo.

Overall grade: A
Diameter range: 7–5234 " in 14 " increments
Jasper Tools
713 681-9912, jaspertools.com
A larger version of the M200, the M300 better suits larger projects, but also works as well on circles at its smallest setting. The markings, read from the top of the jig, require a 12 " bit for precise inside cutouts; for outside diameters, add 1" to the pivot point. It would be nice to have smaller increments, but you can compensate some by using a 38 " bit, which provides 18 " offset from each pivot point.

Milescraft Circle Guide Kit, no. 1219/1269, $45 

3 pieces of jig. Two with round pieces and one smaller flat piece.

Overall grade: B+ 
Diameter range: 112 –52" 
Milescraft 
224-236-2532 
milescraft.com

This kit includes the Small Circle Compass shown above, plus a longer pivot arm and offset base. When routing with the long arm extended beyond 24", it lifted up slightly from the pivot pin, but never came off during testing. For all you get with this kit, it makes sense to buy it rather than the smaller one. 

Woodhaven, no. 3260, $139

Square part of router jig attached to a long ruler.

Overall grade: B
Diameter range: 34 –6214 "
Woodhaven
800-344-6657, woodhaven.com

This jig cuts the smallest and largest circles of the test group, but requires more setup than the others. The ends of its aluminum arms had sharp edges that needed filing. Woodhaven sells the same model with a longer arm (model 3270, $153) for circles up to 110" diameter.

Ellipse/circle jigs

Using a jig to make an ellipse circle.


An ellipse, above, is defined by two pivoting focus points, rather than the single fixed pivot of a circle. That requires a more complex jig that slides those points along the ellipse’s major (long) and minor (short) axes. 


Like the circle jigs, these jigs replace your router’s subbase. Only the Trend Mini provides scales for setting the bit path. With the others, you set up as shown in the photos below. Once you lock the first slide in place for the major axis, the minor axis slide can only be set up to a certain length less than the major axis to prevent it from sliding out of the pivot plate.

Labeling the parts of the ellipse jig and showing how they go together.
To rout an ellipse, first secure the pivot plate to the workpiece at the center. Mark the desired length on the major axis, slide the jig to align the bit outside that mark, and then tighten the slider knob at the pivot plate’s centerpoint.

Showing how to line-up jig.
Next, rotate the jig 90° and align on the minor axis, sliding the tightened slider within the pivot plate until you reach the desired ellipse width. Tighten the remaining slider knob, which should be at the center of the pivot plate.

Rockler, no. 27712, $100

Top Tool logo with blue router jig. Has long slot through jig for holding router.

Overall grade: A
Circle diameter range: 9–52"
Major axis range: 1712 –52"
Minor axis range: 912 –44"
Maximum difference between ellipse axes: 8"
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
800-279-4441, rockler.com

Made of durable phenolic, this heavy-duty jig works smoothly and flawlessly. This jig’s thick base requires 34 "-long mounting screws, which are provided for a router with a triangular three-hole pattern. For other routers, you’ll need to drill to fit. (An optional large pivot plate, no. 38410, $40, stretches the maximum difference between axes to 14".)

Trend Mini, no. UME/JIG, $189

Router jig with round base long arm extension.

Overall grade: A–
Circle diameter range: 614 –2334 "
Major axis range: 858 –2212 "
Minor axis range: 614 –17"
Maximum difference between ellipse axes: 5"
Trend Tool Technology
877-918-7363, trend-usa.com

Designed primarily for European compact routers with mounting screws that align with the slots on either side of the bit opening, we had to drill holes in this jig to mount common U.S. models. But once done, it works superbly.

Rockler Compact, no. 55819, $70

Top Tool log with short blue router jig.

Overall grade: A
Circle diameter range: 6–24"
Major axis range: 11–24"
Minor axis range: 6–19"
Maximum difference between ellipse axes: 5"
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
​800-279-4441, rockler.com

Identical to the Rockler 27712 but smaller in scale, this model comes predrilled to fit the plunge bases of most 114 -hp compact routers.  

Infinity Cutting Tools, no. 100-149, $90

Two piece jig. On plastic, the other a base that attaches with a rod.

Overall grade: B+
Circle diameter range: 2412 –9012 "
Major axis range: 3312 –9012 "
Minor axis range: 2412 –8112 "
Maximum difference between ellipse axes: 9"
Infinity Cutting Tools
877-872-2487, infinitytools.com

With this jig, you use one or both steel rods—they screw together for longer reach—as the trammel arm that attaches to the router base. The rods then slide through the sliders. It sets up easily and works well in all tasks. Screw the pivot plate to the workpiece, or use a vacuum pump (not included) to hold it in place without drilling any holes.

Fulton no. 1262, $60

Two piece jig, no numbers on it. Square piece with X in it.

Overall grade: D
Circle diameter range: 1112 –52"
Major axis range: 1712 –52"
Minor axis range: 912 –44"
Maximum difference between ellipse axes: 8"
Peachtree Woodworking Supply
​888-512-9069, ptreeusa.com

This high-density fiberboard (HDF) jig appears identical to the Rockler 27712. It works great for circles, but when routing ellipses, the aluminum sliders routinely caught in the fibery slots, resulting in uneven and marred cuts.

Offset bases

Close up of router being used with jig.

These accessories provide a larger footprint for your router, preventing tipping, especially when routing along an edge. And some of these bases supply other useful features, too. Each base has a knob or handle for gripping; we found no advantage to any size or shape.

Showing the bottom of router using a jig.
Four tested bases include an edge guide. With this, you can rout along an edge with bits that lack a bearing guide, such as the straight bit routing this rabbet.

Rockler no. 31186, $50

Top Tool logo with a small router jig with a handle.

Overall grade: A
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
800-279-4441, rockler.com

Made from 38 "-thick acrylic, this sturdy base provides the largest bit opening (3316 "), with a reducer ring that accepts two-piece guide bushings. The edge guide works well on flat and curved edges. Built-in threaded inserts make it easy to add an optional dust-collection hood (no. 22877, $15).

Woodhaven midsize, no. 8395, $34
Woodhaven compact, five models, $28

Two small router jigs, different size with holes in different spots.

Overall grade: A–
Woodhaven
800-344-6657, woodhaven.com

These no-frills bases work perfectly for adding bearing surface to almost any midsize or smaller router. Made of 516 " phenolic, the 8395 comes predrilled for many midsize routers. For the compact-router bases, order the model specific to your router. 

MLCS On-Point no. 9098, $60

Small clear router jig with handle.

Overall grade: B
MLCS Woodworking
​800-533-9298, mlcswoodworking.com

LED task lights illuminate the cutting area well until they get covered in dust. Crosshair lasers show precisely the center of the bit for spot tasks, such as round-bottom holes for a marble game. But the slippery 916 "-thick base (which reduces cutting depth) made it easy for the jig to stray from the intended bit placement. (We applied self-adhesive sandpaper to prevent this.) The included edge guide works well on flat and round edges. 

Infinity Cutting Tools no. 115-036, $50

Short router jig made of clear acrylic.

Overall grade: A–
Infinity Cutting Tools
​877-872-2487, infinitytools.com

Made of clear acrylic with a guide-bushing-ready bit opening, this base provides the most predrilled router-mounting holes. We like its reversible edge guide with a concave-lobed edge that maintains two points of contact with the workpiece for following curved edges better.

Fulton no. 3011, $20

Top Value logo with router with a clear acrylic base.

Overall grade: B
Peachtree Woodworking Supply
​888-512-9069, ptreeusa.com

This basic clear-acrylic base comes drilled to fit most common routers. Its 1 316 " stepped-bit opening accepts common two-piece guide bushings, but also limits the bit diameter.

Milescraft no. 1224/1274, $33

Small router jig on mounting plate.

Overall grade: B–
Milescraft
​224-236-2532, milescraft.com

Most routers fit this jig easily, and the TwistLock mounting plate locks into the offset base. Its edge guide works well on flat and curved workpiece edges, but the base flexes more than the others, so it can make small gouges in your cut. Two roller guides install on the plate to make it a self-centering mortising guide.

Dado jigs

Router on jig on board. Hose hooked up to jig for dust removal.


To keep your dadoes, grooves, and rabbets on the straight and narrow, each jig fits over a clamp-on straightedge (sold separately so you can choose the length), such as the one shown above.  

If you use a bit that makes a perfect-width channel in one pass, you need only align the jig precisely on your layout marks. But more often than not, you’ll need two or more passes to create the perfect channel. With the best jigs, you set the width using the workpiece itself (or a scrap of the same thickness) for a can’t-miss setup, below. The other jigs require trial-and-error passes to achieve the perfect fit.

Router attached to jig. Using scrape wood to lock in thickness during routing.

(Above) Rockler’s jig uses the workpiece to set the spacing for two-pass dadoes prior to routing, locking in the spacing with two stops (not seen). Rout the first pass with the jig (blue body) against the fixed (black) fence. For the second pass, slide the router base away from the black fence until it reaches the stops you set.

Photo showing router jig set up.
Several jigs rely on a guide bushing to position the router in the jig. This makes aligning the jig less cumbersome without the router attached to the jig.

Rockler Perfect-Fit jig, no. 59385, $50

Hose attached to router using jig.

Overall grade: A
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
​800-279-4441, rockler.com

Your router mounts to a predrilled clear-acrylic plate, which then screws to the jig (above). Rockler does not sell a straightedge clamp specifically for this jig, but it adjusts to fit most models on the market. This jig uses the workpiece to set the precise two-pass setup, but it lacks an indicator to align the first cut (you use the bit to set it). Built-in dust collection works very well. And at $50 it’s also a great value.

Bora router guide, no. 542005, $50

Orange jig attached to a type of fence.

Overall grade: B
NGX straightedge clamps: 24" $50; 36" $58; 50" $59; 100" $104
Bora Portamate
​248-588-0395, boratool.com

Like Rockler’s Perfect-Fit jig, a workpiece scrap sets the jig spacing for precise two-pass dadoes, although the process is not as intuitive. The straightedge clamp jaws measure slightly thicker than 34 ", so for 34 " or thinner stock, you must hang both clamp jaws off the workbench or shim below the workpiece for it to rest flat on the bench.

Infinity Cutting Tools no. PDJ-100, $130

Small type of router jig attached to and fence that has a ruler.

Overall grade: B
Pro-Grip straightedge clamps: 24" $40; 36" $45; 50" $50
Infinity Cutting Tools
​877-872-2487, infinitytools.com

Nearly identical to the CMT model, the PDJ-100 uses a 34 " guide bushing (included) for the router interface. The straightedge clamps appear identical to the CMT clamps.

CMT no. PGD-1, $135

A red jig that connects to an aluminum track.

Overall grade: B
PGC straightedge clamps: 24" $53; 36" $65
CMT
​336-854-0201, cmtorangetools.com

CMT’s anodized-aluminum jig snugs up nicely on the track and glides along it on two bearings. The router connects to the jig via a 78 " guide bushing (included). Indexing marks on the jig’s edge help precisely align it to layout marks, based on the bit diameter. For the second pass (if needed), you microadjust the jig laterally. This requires sneaking up on a perfect fit, but once done, you won’t change the stop unless your stock thickness changes.

Woodpeckers Xact-Width, no. EWDJ, $370

A jig with two long aluminum slats held together.

Overall grade: B
Woodpeckers
​800-752-0725
woodpeck.com

Made of aluminum and phenolic, this sturdy jig aligns easily with a layout line, and its exact-fit feature—using the workpiece to set the joint spacing from 38 " to 138 "—works perfectly. But you can only use a 38 " bit for most jobs, so you cannot make dadoes narrower than that without bypassing the exact-width feature. The widest workpiece it fits is 2412 ".

Triton Router Track Adapter, no. TRT A001, $60

Jig attached to two aluminum track that are side by side.

Overall grade: C+
59" track $90; track clamps $50
Triton
​855-227-3478, tritontools.com

To mount any router other than a Triton model, you’ll need to drill holes in the steel plate. The plate rides on Triton’s aluminum tracksaw track, which requires two clamps (sold separately). The jig works on either side of the track, with one side allowing more lateral adjustment than the other. Its indexing mark unintuitively shows the center of the dado, but we found it easier to align with one edge, then sneak up on the second cut. 

A dado jig with a different twist

A blue plate on top of a rectangular base.

Overall grade: A–
Rockler Indexing jig, no. 59237, $70
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
​800-279-4441, rockler.com

Rather than riding on a straightedge clamp, this jig rides its built-in fence along a workpiece edge to make a dado up to 6916 " from that edge. You can then drop that fence into the dado, adjust it to fit the channel perfectly, and rout another dado spaced from 18 " to 6916 " from the first (depending on the bit diameter). The router mounts via predrilled holes in the jig plate.

Routing a circle into surface of board with a template.
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