Jigs - Main image


Jigs are the unsung heroes of the workshop. Their appearance matters little. The main role is to function well. Yet, removed from their primary role, they are beautiful and fascinating objects in their own right. Here we showcase some of the jigs from our workshop and the projects they’ve helped to create.

I love that when making a jig, the focus is on how it performs. How well it functions determines its usefulness. At best, it will simplify monotonous tasks and eliminate mistakes. When batch producing or processing, it’s key to improve productivity. It helps to control and keep the same quality across several objects. But, if you embed an error in a jig, it replicates throughout production.

Our workshop is full of jigs, both large and small. Some get used every week, and others are only used once. We’re surrounded by these sophisticated objects, but as we make them, how they look isn’t considered. I find this fascinating because so much of our process as designers is considering what things look like. In isolation from their tasks, these jigs are strange-looking objects.

Workshops are adopting new technology. Computers are simplifying complex processes. As a result, in the not-too-distant future, jigs will become relics.

Joining thousands of pencils

This jig makes thousands of tiny holes in pencil sides. The holes are part of a dowel joint, binding each pencil together within a large hanging structure suspended across an office space. The pencil dust has coated the jig after repeated use thousands of times. Someone has added the felt to prevent the jig from scratching each pencil.

Shaping sandpaper

We used this jig to form the rounded petals of our 2023 Christmas card, made from sandpaper. Each year we’ve handmade a limited edition Christmas card for clients, friends, and family. This usually involves thousands of repetitive actions.

Aligning our boxes

We use this jig to align the bases on our plywood storage boxes. This ensures that each box fits into the next.  

Design Out Waste
Labelling each jig is essential

This jig is a mystery. It doesn’t have a label to define what it’s for, which breaks one of the workshop rules. The person who made the jig should label it, explaining what it does. This acts as a lovely reminder of the people who’ve worked on projects in the workshop – their handwritten labels.


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