Oftentimes, I've found myself needing a wheel for various woodworking projects. From time to time the needed wheel diameter exceeded the hole saw bits I had available; it is also frustrating when the wheel gets stuck in the hole saw. To accommodate this need, I decided to build a wheel-cutting jig for the band saw that was adjustable, and the width of the band saw blade does not matter.
As an extra for this project, I decided to build the jig from reclaimed pallet wood.
Step 1: Required Tools
To complete this build, you will need the following tools:
- Band Saw
- Table Saw
- Radial Arm Saw/Miter Saw
- Screw Gun
- Drill Press
- Planer (if using uneven wood)
- A few drywall screws
- 1/8" Drill Bit
Step 2: Select Your Boards/Clean Them Up
As I stated in the introduction, I chose to use pallet wood for this jig. I chose to use a thicker, roughly 1" wide board and a thin, roughly 3/8" wide board.
I used the planer to straighten one long edge on each of the selected boards to allow any future cuts to be square. Some preliminary sanding can also take place here.
Step 3: Cut the Miter Guide
To ensure the jig remains a constant distance from the band saw blade, it is necessary to utilize the miter track on the band saw tabletop. On the band saw I use, the miter track is a hair under 3/4" wide.
Using the planer, ensure one edge of my intended miter guide piece is straight, then set the table saw to rip this piece to the desired 3/4" width. Using the radial arm saw, cut the miter guide to the desired length dimension, which is roughly 8".
Now, try to dry fit this piece in the miter guide. Expect a tight fit. If it is too tight to permit easy sliding, use sandpaper on the edges to make the fit less tight.
With the miter guide now able to slide smoothly in the track, it may be necessary to decrease the thickness of the miter guide such that it is not thicker than the depth of the miter track. If necessary, use the planer to knock some of this excess thickness off.
The miter guide should now slide smoothly and not protrude from the table of the band saw. It is not a problem if the guide is thinner than the depth of the miter track.
Step 4: Cut the Jig's Body
The width and length of the jig's body is not a huge concern, just ensure the thickness of the board is at least 3/4" and the board's length to be at least the distance between your band saw's blade and edge of the table. A wider board will accommodate a larger variety of wheel dimensions.
I chose to cut the jig's length to match the distance between the band saw blade and the edge of the table. I left the other dimensions to those of the original pallet board.
Step 5: Mark and Drill Holes
I used a tri-square to mark straight lines stretching the length of the jig's body. On these lines, I marked evenly spaced points where I would drill holes. I spaced the points 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" apart for the respective lines, and I used a center punch to mark the holes for drilling. Make sure you mark the side of the board from which you make your measurements - this will be the side that sits flush with the band saw blade.
After center punching my second line, I realized I made the mistake of improperly planning my holes, as there were repeats between the first and second line, as well as the third line. I would recommend the spacing as follows: one line of 1/8" spacing, skipping multiples of 1/4", and one line of 1/4" spacing. You could extend an even finer scale than this, spacing holes every 1/16" and skipping multiples of 1/8". Remember, these measurements are the radius of the wheels that will be drilled.
Now that the holes are properly marked with a center punch, use the 1/8" drill bit in the drill press to drill every marked hole. Drill about 75% to 85% though the board.
It is worth noting that it is better to drill a 'small' 1/8" hole because you can drill a larger hole in the wheel after it has been cut out, if desired. I chose 1/8" because I had 1/8" nails that would fit the holes precisely.
After finding the 1/8" nail you plan to use, I would recommend using a grinder to grind the point off the nail, although this is not necessary.
Step 6: Affix Miter Guide, Mark Holes
I positioned two screws on the body of the jig such that they would sit between the existing lines of drilled holes on the other side of the board. The lateral position of the miter guide is set such that the cutting side of the jig (marked in the previous step) would be flush with the band saw blade. I used a recess bit to ensure the screw heads are seated lower than the wood's surface to make sure I don't scratch the band saw table when I use the jig.
After mounting the guide, I flipped the jig over and marked the wheel diameters to which each hole correlates.
I revisited this project after originally finishing to add in missing hole dimensions from the first set of holes drilled (result in the fourth picture above).
Step 7: Enjoy Your New Jig!
Grab a piece of wood to cut a wheel from, drill its center, and place your nail through the wheel-piece and into the jig. Run the jig back and forth until the large material is removed, then spin your wheel to trim the ridges.
I am happy with the results you see pictured above, and I am hopeful you will be happy as well!
Edit: As the usage of the jig may be a bit unclear, I have included a video, below, that serves as a demonstration of this jig in action. Have Fun!