Kel McNaughton Jig

Monday 9 July 2018

Woodturning has evolved whereby more work is being carved and textured. This has made woodturning tool manufacturers add work detailing/carving stands to their range of tools. Good news for carvers! The latest of these is the Kel McNaughton carving jig, made by Kelton Industries of New Zealand. Rather than produce a unit similar to its competitors, Kelton has solved the problem of work holding from an entirely different angle. The result is a robustly made jig that should find favour with carvers and turners alike.


The jig is based on the proven design of the carver's ball and socket clamp, however, it also rotates around its own axis and the top clamp is a 'C' shape (see photo 1). These two ideas impressively combine well to allow the piece to rotate in virtually any direction and allow the work to travel from upright to upside down in a single action.

The 60mm dia ball is designed to simply accept various faceplates, screws and lathe spindle replicators. The ball is securely locked by a large, easy to use, 'safety' handle, and the ball assembly is mounted on a hex bar so it can be securely held in a vice at the desired angle (see photo 2). I found the assembly very quick and easy to use, although to gain maximum travel, the cage that surrounds the ball occasionally needed to be rotated by hand – a minor concession given the jig's overall capability and ability to work in a comfortable position.


The jig was tested with the optional multifunction base plate that accepts the hex bar and allows for mounting on a bench/lathe or vice (see main photo). It provides height adjustment of the jig and allows it to be located in an endless amount of positions. The jig comes supplied with a 100mm (4in) faceplate and screw (see photo 1) – the smaller faceplates, multifunction base plate and lathe spindle replicators can be purchased as required (see photo 3).


To cater for a wide range of users, Kel McNaughton has incorporated feedback from experienced users and it has been well received by the likes of US based carver and turner Rosanna Coyne who kindly supplied these photos of her work.

It can be a tall task to invent a tool with 'universal' appeal without compromising design. Kel McNaughton has succeeded with his carving jig. Those that like good design will appreciate the simple ingeniousness of it, while others will just enjoy its potential.