What's your favorite shelf pin drilling method?

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Forum topic by Loren posted 07-11-2011 06:09 PM 8131 views 0 times favorited 58 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Loren's profile


10941 posts in 4624 days

07-11-2011 06:09 PM

I’ve used a few different jigs over the years. I’ve never been blown
away at the speed of any of them.

I guess without having a CNC or a line boring machine, most of us would
be using a drill or a plunge router to make the holes.

What are people using here?

58 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3843 days

#1 posted 07-11-2011 06:27 PM

Loren, we use to build 32mm cabinets for a good number of years and we had automatic and semiautomatic line drilling machines. However, one of my jobs was to make the samples for new cases. To a certain extent I could use the machines for fitting holes but sometimes I just used a drill press or hand drill. I always used hand drills to drill the shelf support holes unless a machine was already set up. My jig was just a simple aluminum drill guide that keyed off of the edge (I made it on a milling machine) and I used a drill stop on the drill for a depth gage. I could make a sample pretty fast with simple tools. It was always a pain in the ass to make samples because we were always needing them and I was always needed elsewhere so I was always rushed.

We would have been better off having a small sample dept with one or two small line drills dedicated to that department and not for production. However, Our business was always growing and it always seemed we had to throw the money at making the production more efficient.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Viktor's profile


471 posts in 4395 days

#2 posted 07-11-2011 06:29 PM

Template: a block of wood with several carefully measured and drilled holes in a row at desired spacing. Usually offset from the edge the same distance as in the shelf for easier lineup. It’s slow, but I’m not doing it for living.

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4718 days

#3 posted 07-11-2011 06:31 PM

Drill Press – with a piece of peg board double stick taped to it.

The drill press keeps me from messing up the depth and always gets the pins perpindicular to the surface.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 3663 days

#4 posted 07-11-2011 06:44 PM

hardboard template with a 3/8” spaced holes, and a plunge router with 1/4” downward spiral bit and 3/8” guide bushing.

My last shelf pin jig I dadoed a 3/8” grove aligned on top of the holes just shallow enough to keep the guide busing in the track so all I need to do is slide the router an it will drop in the holes, then plunge with the 1/4” downward spiral bit and perfect 90degree holes that are exactly the same depth, and zero chip out even on Melamine.

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3669 days

#5 posted 07-11-2011 06:53 PM

I always just used 1/2” ply with an edge register and bit stop. As a hobbiest, I could never justify the commercial jigs. I imagined making one out of clear acrylic but it never materialized. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4737 days

#6 posted 07-11-2011 08:55 PM

I drill the holes in the sides before assembly of the case. First, I use a tape measure to mark the spacing 1” apart down the length of the side, then taking a combo square I mark the hole centers 2” in from front and rear.

Using the Shopsmith in drill press mode, I set the fence for the 2” spacing and “eyeball” each drilled hole, setting the stop so that I don’t drill all the way through. For long boards I use roller bearing stands to support the board on each end.

I find this method to be surprisingly accurate and quick.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Richard's profile


1944 posts in 3667 days

#7 posted 07-11-2011 09:20 PM

There are a lot of commercial jigs available for people that do a lot of shelf units, but for the few times I have needed to do them a peice of pegboard nailed to a 1” x 3/4” scrap whatever length I need and use a hand drill with a depth stop on the bit seems to work.

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 3973 days

#8 posted 07-11-2011 09:42 PM

I use a template made from 1/4” puck board and a hand drill with a depth stop on the bit. This works for the few holes I make each year.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View stnich's profile


130 posts in 3901 days

#9 posted 07-13-2011 02:49 AM

Peg board with a Vix Bit. Easy to use just make sure that you keep left and right in mind as well as top and bottom.

View TrBlu's profile


386 posts in 3602 days

#10 posted 07-13-2011 04:46 AM

I use a piece of peg board for a guide and a handheld power drill.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View waho6o9's profile


8977 posts in 3553 days

#11 posted 07-13-2011 04:56 AM

Festool lr32 (?) works great.

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 3657 days

#12 posted 07-13-2011 07:04 AM

16 dremels ganged together on a long narrow plunge type base .

Produces 64 holes in under 7 seconds . Simple and faster than a CNC when

you need to drill a few hundred shelf pin holes.

Not practical for one-offs .

Did I win ? Where is vonhagen ?

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2080 posts in 3616 days

#13 posted 07-13-2011 07:22 AM

Browning Challenger .22 pistol with CCI Stinger .22 LR (not hollow point) at 10 feet with laser sight.

Make sure that SWSOGM (don’t EVEN ask) does not sneak up on you.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3899 days

#14 posted 07-18-2011 06:54 PM

Rockler jig. Works good.

-- Life is good.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3661 days

#15 posted 07-19-2011 08:24 PM

I stick with Norm’s simply plywood jig…plunge router with guide bushing. with time and usage the guide bushing holes loosen up a tad and a row of holes goes quickly

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