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Dowel jig with fixed (non self-centering) options?

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Forum topic by Travis posted 06-18-2019 04:39 AM 607 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Travis

264 posts in 188 days


06-18-2019 04:39 AM

Can anyone recommend a good dowel jig that has some non self-centering options? Obviously the Dowelmax would be awesome, but I’m not ready to spend $250 for this yet.

I had plans to make a jig myself but I kept running into problems with the jig I had in mind and figured it was time to just buy one. I am going to be doing some long planks and would really love the alignment assistance of dowels. I know I could use cauls, but I like the idea of dowels. Here’s the thing, most of the jigs I see are self-centering. I don’t have a thickness planer so my stock is not machined to all be the exact same thickness. So if I use a self-centering jig, my seams are going to be all over the place. I want to be able to set the dowels at a fixed distance from a reference face, then during glue-up one side will be perfectly aligned and I can just deal with the other face.

Any good recommendations at a lower price point than the Dowelmax?

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.


20 replies so far

View Bobthewoodbutcher's profile

Bobthewoodbutcher

31 posts in 1530 days


#1 posted 06-18-2019 06:55 AM

JessEm.

View oldguy2's profile

oldguy2

218 posts in 1849 days


#2 posted 06-18-2019 12:31 PM

For a quick use, check out “Make something” David Piccuto on utube he has a dowel jig that bores one hole at a time that you make yourself and a plastic top centering guide. so you could make 3 or 4 of these of any size and repeat or use them up for practically no cost. Best is your stock just lays on the work surface and you clamp or hold this jig. you make the reference to whatever depth could be for this project. when you are ready for better go spend the money but at least you did a dowel project. I found Q tips slather glue into dowel holes rather easy and not so much glue squeeze out , talk about cheap.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4048 posts in 2410 days


#3 posted 06-18-2019 12:53 PM

You can use one of the self centering jigs but use a shim on one side of the jig. Changing the thickness of the jig will let you align the holes where you want them.

View Travis's profile

Travis

264 posts in 188 days


#4 posted 06-18-2019 12:57 PM



JessEm.

- Bobthewoodbutcher


Those do look nice, thanks for the recommendation!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Travis's profile

Travis

264 posts in 188 days


#5 posted 06-18-2019 01:02 PM



For a quick use, check out “Make something” David Piccuto on utube he has a dowel jig that bores one hole at a time that you make yourself and a plastic top centering guide. so you could make 3 or 4 of these of any size and repeat or use them up for practically no cost. Best is your stock just lays on the work surface and you clamp or hold this jig. you make the reference to whatever depth could be for this project. when you are ready for better go spend the money but at least you did a dowel project. I found Q tips slather glue into dowel holes rather easy and not so much glue squeeze out , talk about cheap.

- oldguy2

The biggest problem I keep running into is drilling good guide holes for the jig without a drill press. I made a square “L” block to help support my bit, but I still don’t get the results I want. I assume the guide needs to be perfectly straight because any angle will make it difficult to connect the two mating surfaces.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Travis's profile

Travis

264 posts in 188 days


#6 posted 06-18-2019 01:03 PM



You can use one of the self centering jigs but use a shim on one side of the jig. Changing the thickness of the jig will let you align the holes where you want them.

- Redoak49


That’s a great idea, thanks!

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1581 posts in 2151 days


#7 posted 06-18-2019 03:00 PM

The Dowlit jig I have has an adjustment for doing offset holes.

The adjustment screw has spanner wrench holes to do the adjustment, but I don’t recall ever using one.
I offset mine years ago as I was not getting the same thickness board even though they all stated they were the same thickness when sent from the mill to the local supplier I was using.
When the jig is offset like that, one side of my doweled project will be reasonably flush, and the other side will have steps. The cure for that is to take it to a cabinet shop I use for sanding all my frames, panel inserts, and anything else that needs to be flat. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Travis's profile

Travis

264 posts in 188 days


#8 posted 06-18-2019 03:13 PM



The Dowlit jig I have has an adjustment for doing offset holes.

The adjustment screw has spanner wrench holes to do the adjustment, but I don t recall ever using one.
I offset mine years ago as I was not getting the same thickness board even though they all stated they were the same thickness when sent from the mill to the local supplier I was using.
When the jig is offset like that, one side of my doweled project will be reasonably flush, and the other side will have steps. The cure for that is to take it to a cabinet shop I use for sanding all my frames, panel inserts, and anything else that needs to be flat. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs


If I’m understanding that correctly, it’s exactly what I’d be looking for. The offset screws block the center from moving closer to one end, so when tightening only the other end moves? You get fixed distance on one end and the other end tightens against the board?

It looks like Dowl-it has updated their products and all I can find is a single picture with no documentation. Not sure if their current line-up operates the same way as yours.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View Markmh1's profile

Markmh1

105 posts in 865 days


#9 posted 06-18-2019 03:30 PM

I have the Dowl-it jig, and I find the holes are not exactly on center. This causes mismatch whenever I do
a glue up.
I get around this by laying out my glue up so I know where the outside of my project is. When I use the
Dowl-it the tightening handle is always on the outside.

This will only work for you if your stock is the same thickness. For different thicknesses I’d recommend
biting the bullet and buying a different style jig. I understand how the Dowl-it can be used with shims, but
it seems I usually outsmart myself doing something like this.

Mark

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1581 posts in 2151 days


#10 posted 06-18-2019 03:32 PM


The Dowlit jig I have has an adjustment for doing offset holes.

The adjustment screw has spanner wrench holes to do the adjustment, but I don t recall ever using one.
I offset mine years ago as I was not getting the same thickness board even though they all stated they were the same thickness when sent from the mill to the local supplier I was using.
When the jig is offset like that, one side of my doweled project will be reasonably flush, and the other side will have steps. The cure for that is to take it to a cabinet shop I use for sanding all my frames, panel inserts, and anything else that needs to be flat. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs

If I m understanding that correctly, it s exactly what I d be looking for. The offset screws block the center from moving closer to one end, so when tightening only the other end moves? You get fixed distance on one end and the other end tightens against the board?

It looks like Dowl-it has updated their products and all I can find is a single picture with no documentation. Not sure if their current line-up operates the same way as yours.

- Travis

Travis, both jaws move. One is closer to center than the other. There is a right and left hand thread, with a set screw in the center of the adjusting screw keeping it from moving, other than spinning it. The jaws work just like as centered, but since one is set differently, it will keep it’s offset position, while the one you didn’t mess with will stay in the original postition.

One side of my jig is 1/4” from the bit insert, and the other is 5/16”. It doen’t take much, but it makes a world of difference it you are sanding using a belt sander or even using a plane. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Toller's profile

Toller

26 posts in 2021 days


#11 posted 06-18-2019 03:55 PM

this is what I use.
https://www.ebay.com/p/Vintage-Stanley-Doweling-Jig-No-59/1809860769

I think it was $2 at a garage sale.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1581 posts in 2151 days


#12 posted 06-18-2019 03:59 PM


If I m understanding that correctly, it s exactly what I d be looking for. The offset screws block the center from moving closer to one end, so when tightening only the other end moves? You get fixed distance on one end and the other end tightens against the board?

It looks like Dowl-it has updated their products and all I can find is a single picture with no documentation. Not sure if their current line-up operates the same way as yours.

- Travis


Travis, look at the picture again that you posted. Notice the unusual bolt looking thing on the back of the jig. It looks like there is a set screw in it also. That might be a cheaper way to have an adjustment today. I also looked at the one Rockler sells, but their video doen’t have a good picture of the back. I did notice something that looked like a large nut on the backside.
My Dowlit was purchased by me in 1978, when I started my cabinet shop. I ended up getting a pneumatic Pacco horizontal drilling machine in ‘86. It made life easier. I set the table for drilling all my dowel holes at 5/16” from the back of anything I need to join. The Dowlit is a backup tool for something when I’m too lazy to look for an extension cord and hose for air. Otherwise, it sit’s in a box neglected.

When you do get one, make sure you make up some drill stops. The Rockler video showed them drilling a hole to whatever depth looked good. Nothing like having a dowel too long, or a hole too deep…...


I have the Dowl-it jig, and I find the holes are not exactly on center. This causes mismatch whenever I do
a glue up.
I get around this by laying out my glue up so I know where the outside of my project is. When I use the
Dowl-it the tightening handle is always on the outside.

This will only work for you if your stock is the same thickness. For different thicknesses I d recommend
biting the bullet and buying a different style jig. I understand how the Dowl-it can be used with shims, but
it seems I usually outsmart myself doing something like this.

Mark

- Markmh1

Mark, the holes don’t have to be centered. As long as you mark your work, and drill from the same side(it’s the only way anyhow if you use the marks inscribed on the Dowlit), your holes will always be VERY close to center. It’s a piece of wood, and this tool is designed to get you close. If you are looking for purrfection, you have the wrong hobby and will be continuously disappointed because wood is not a purrfect material to be working with.

................. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1581 posts in 2151 days


#13 posted 06-18-2019 04:54 PM



this is what I use.
https://www.ebay.com/p/Vintage-Stanley-Doweling-Jig-No-59/1809860769

I think it was $2 at a garage sale.

- Toller

For 2 dollars, I think you stole it. Too bad it’s for hand powered work only…...... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View BlasterStumps's profile (online now)

BlasterStumps

1328 posts in 861 days


#14 posted 06-18-2019 05:10 PM

Here is a Craftsman 9-4186 jig. I would say it is “non self-centering”.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Markmh1's profile

Markmh1

105 posts in 865 days


#15 posted 06-19-2019 11:49 AM

Jerry, If you read my original post again, you’ll find how I minimize the mismatch.

There is nothing perfect this side of the grave, but I do try to locate holes for a glue up as closely
as I can.

Mark

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