Shelf pins...

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Forum topic by jonlan posted 11-23-2016 02:47 PM 2057 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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72 posts in 2179 days

11-23-2016 02:47 PM

Hi all. I’ve been working on a new set of built-ins for our upstairs loft and so far I’ve been really pleased with how they’ve turned out! This is my first cabinet project so I was a little hesitant to jump into something this big but so far things have been going great. Until today…

The built-ins consist of two base cabinets on either side of a window that are connected by a window bench underneath. Then on top of the book cases I added bookshelves all the way to the ceiling. I just got done with the last book shelf last night and I’ve run into a problem. My wife wanted adjustable shelves so I went and bought wood peckers shelf pin jig. I spent a lot of time practicing on scrap pieces of wood to make sure I understood how it worked and what to look out for. I decided to use the router method to make sure the holes were straight up and down (im not great with drilling perfectly straight by hand). Then I did the first bookshelf which turned out great. However, I just got the face frame on the second bookshelf and tested some of the shelves to find out that one of the sets of pin holes is off! I can’t believe it. 3 of the columns of pin holes are dead on but the 4th is off by about an eighth of an inch on every hole.

So at this point, Im not quite sure what to do. I would guess that somehow the first hole I drilled got off and when I used that as an index hole for the others they all turned out off. In either case, the bookshelf looks great and I cant imagine scraping it to rebuild it. Part of me was hoping that they might make something like an adjustable shelf pin but that doesnt seem to be a thing. I guess I could find a way to make that pin slightly larger but that might stand out (its the back set of pins, if it was behind the face frame I wouldnt care). Redrilling the holes seems like an option but filling in that many holes with putty and having it not show up through the paint seems like something that wouldnt work out the way I had hoped. Anyone run into this before and had a creative solution that I hadnt thought of yet? :)

15 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


916 posts in 4244 days

#1 posted 11-23-2016 02:55 PM

You have a router, so this is doable for you: rout out a groove, 1/2” wide is enough and as deep as your shelf pin holes are. Then you can fill in the groove using a properly sized piece of the same wood. Once glue is set, do your shelf pin jig again. Much easier then trying to drill a hole 1/8” next to the old one.

-- Mike

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 2191 days

#2 posted 11-23-2016 04:36 PM

If your face frame overlays enough, slap in a new side piece with the new holes already drilled in it.
(and cut the shelves down)

If the off row of holes is higher than the rest, you could rout a small space (just big enough to accommodate the pin)
and let the shelf sit down over the pin a little.

View jonlan's profile


72 posts in 2179 days

#3 posted 11-23-2016 04:47 PM

@jbay. Boy is that a good idea. I think when I build book shelfs in the future I’ll do the holes in a quarter inch strip of wood just incase this happens again. That way I could remove it if needed or shift it slightly. Then I would just need to notch out the shelves for the strips. I think for now I’m going to try to move to ‘L’ type brackets and just put a spacer on top of the bracket. Not ideal, but if I use a clear spacer and the cabinet and shelf is all white I wonder if you wont notice it.

Thanks for the tips, these are all good ones.

View jerryminer's profile


962 posts in 2733 days

#4 posted 11-24-2016 08:36 AM

A small bumper stuck to the bottom of the shelf at the pin location would do it

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Redoak49's profile


5423 posts in 3280 days

#5 posted 11-24-2016 12:26 PM

It is a good idea to measure and mark where the holes go at least in a couple locations so you do not make such a mistake.

I did a zillion holes like that when a built my shop cabinets. I built my jig so that it was very difficult to make a mistake.

View bilyo's profile


1423 posts in 2394 days

#6 posted 12-01-2016 02:47 AM

jonian, I think that your idea of using the spacer is probably the easiest and quickest. However, you could also try something like this:

View Cooler's profile


299 posts in 2135 days

#7 posted 12-02-2016 07:25 PM

I cut a piece of peg board to the exact size of the verticals. I use masking tape to tape off the holes I don’t want to drill.

I put the piece against the side and clamp. I use 5mm Vix bits to drill.

I then switch sides by sliding the peg board across to the other side (don’t flip the board).

These have to be “eyeball vertical” not perfectly vertical in order to function correctly.

I find that this method makes it quite impossible to get mis-aligned holes. The vix bits drill cleanly. I use 3/16” peg board.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View Loren's profile


11325 posts in 4940 days

#8 posted 12-02-2016 07:39 PM

Consider plugging the holes with filler or dowels.

Make a 1/4” thick veneered ply cover piece
with pin holes in the correct pattern, then
nail that in and use the holes as drill guides
to deepen the shelf pin holes.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4523 days

#9 posted 12-02-2016 07:53 PM

I vote to shim the pin that is off and let it go at that.

Or, fill the holes and sand them smooth, redrill.

I like the idea of a shim. No one will ever know except you, your sweetie, and several hundred of us! LOL

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4523 days

#10 posted 12-02-2016 08:01 PM

Just a note…

There are many ways to drill shelf pin holes. I have used a template and a router before with good success.

But for me, and the work area I have, the Kreg shelf pin jig works well. I have two attached together with the included attachment.

Spacers are your friend. Do it right and everything will turn out right. And don’t forget the mirror image on the opposing side. I have made that mistake before.

I just finished building 14 cabinets for two small kitchens. Every one turned out great with no wobble on any of them.

Good luck. Post some pics.

Here are a couple of pics of my way of doing it.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View firefighterontheside's profile


21527 posts in 3148 days

#11 posted 12-02-2016 08:04 PM

There are numerous styles of shelf pins available. You may be able to find a style that is different by the right amount that you could use those on ones side and level up the shelves.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Holbs's profile


2383 posts in 3321 days

#12 posted 12-03-2016 01:47 AM

If shelf pins are in your future for things… lots of jigs out there that work 2 dimensional. I snagged something spectacular. The Veritas Cabinet Making System. You can’t mess up any alignment on this thing as you can rotate boards left & right and top & bottom as they are mirror images with this jig. comes with a price tag.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View Steve's profile


192 posts in 3292 days

#13 posted 12-03-2016 02:33 AM

My General 13 Spindle boring machine, makes drilling cabinets a breeze.

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 2191 days

#14 posted 12-03-2016 03:18 PM

My General 13 Spindle boring machine, makes drilling cabinets a breeze.

- Steve

My Ritter 42 Hole, Double Row. Now that makes drilling cabinets a breeze. lol

View bondogaposis's profile


6070 posts in 3643 days

#15 posted 12-03-2016 04:04 PM

Use shelf pins like this and add a wood shim on the one pin that needs it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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