Shelf Pin Jig for 1100+ holes

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Forum topic by MrStyle posted 11-20-2013 03:59 AM 5595 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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88 posts in 2703 days

11-20-2013 03:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig

I am just about to begin creating a series of built in bookshelves and cabinets. My design ends up calling for 1,100+ shelf pin holes.

So I am interested in getting a jig to help do this quickly and accurately
I have read reviews of the following;
Veritas® Shelf-Drilling Jig



One question is do you think/know if one jig is better suited for this project knowing the large number of holes to be drilled?
Another question – which one works better with a plunge router – which I would prefer to use so that the hole remain consist?
Anything else I should be considering ?

21 replies so far

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418 posts in 2700 days

#1 posted 11-20-2013 04:04 AM

Anything else I should be considering ?

Finding a cabinet shop with a line boring machine to do it for you??

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8970 posts in 3549 days

#2 posted 11-20-2013 04:21 AM

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10936 posts in 4620 days

#3 posted 11-20-2013 05:00 AM

If it’s just the one job, it’s going to be tedious unless you:

a) outsource it like Kevin says
b) buy a used 5 or 7 hole boring unit and do it with that.

I don’t do a lot of work with system holes like that but
when I need them I use a Mafell 32mm hand held dowel
boring tool. Even though it drills 2 holes at a time,
550 plunges and the guide setups would be pretty

Custom built looks better with fewer holes. Shotgun hole
patterns are the look of mass-produced work. Consider
drilling shelf pin holes in clusters of 5 with undrilled sections
in between.

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88 posts in 2703 days

#4 posted 11-20-2013 01:18 PM

Custom built looks better with fewer holes. Shotgun hole
patterns are the look of mass-produced work. Consider
drilling shelf pin holes in clusters of 5 with undrilled sections
in between.

I had not thought of that… I think I will do it… of course I will need to rework the plan now and get approval from my customer ( the wife !).. :)

So if I am able to cluster and reduce the overall count by 50 % – it is still a ton of holes. I want to build more sets of these in the future in additional rooms in the house – so I would prefer to do the work myself.

I am leaning towards the Veritas® Shelf-Drilling Jig since it seems to be the most flexible and has additional features that I can add overtime if I desire.

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802 posts in 3081 days

#5 posted 11-20-2013 02:51 PM

I’m curious, what are some opinions on using shelf standards instead of pin holes? I’m going to be tackling a similar project and I was thinking of using something like this instead of pins:

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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893 posts in 3648 days

#6 posted 11-20-2013 02:52 PM

1100 holes? problem. you can do it yourself.

I have a small shop and use the Veritas shelf drilling jig. It’s a decent tool once you get the hang of it and figure out the short cuts.

I prefer this method over a router because it is much faster and easier on your back compared to moving a plunge router every inch. Use a simple 3/8 corded drill, not a cordless…again, much faster. Lift the drill bit and guide together and pull to next hole, wind up drill and then drill hole with good quality 5 mm brad point and a good drill stop collar. buy 3 or 4.

Have an air hose nearby and blow it out before relocating the whole guide to next set of holes to avoid chips getting under the edge of it.

I cut the red aluminum guide block down about 3/4” so it will engage in the last hole, so you don’t have to flip it around. (what were they thinking?). I also made my own rods that are 30”. the 24” rods they sell are barely long enough. 24 and 1/4” – they won’t work. mine didn’t anyway.

I like to start my hole pattern 8” above the bottom and stop around 8” from the top. This gives you that custom look and eliminates unnecessary hole drilling. make 5 mm holes 1 1/4” from edge. Set up a 6” combo square at 3/4” as a guide check. Mark 5 1/2” from the bottom to the edge of drill guide, which is 2 1/2 from first hole = 8”. Verify it’s clamped square. Surprisingly, mine is off a touch and I don’t trust it to clamp square.

Once you have the guide blocks set, you can tighten the other blocks in to place and drill all the same type panels at once. The brass hole centerers are a bit clumsy but they work. Constant observation of your guide marks, tightness of all nuts and being careful not to bump the clamped guide is the key. If you get the holes off even a fraction, the shelves will rock. Measuring both sides to center of hole will ensure a good end result.

You might want to cut another panel and have it ready if you mess one up. It happens, even with fancy drill machines.

hey Dan, IMO – they are for utility purposes only. I used to cut a 1/4” dado and recess them a long time ago (the 80s) but, now the only time I see them is when we are tearing them out.
kind of an easy way out – they work but not very attractive.

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8646 posts in 3770 days

#7 posted 11-20-2013 03:07 PM

I’d make my own out of a piece of 1/8” aluminium plate. Cut a piece exactly the width of your sides. The length would be determined by the best size scrap I could get from an aluminium fabricator. They will often sell scrap at less than the stock is worth just to get rid of it.
I usually use 3/4” plywood but with this many holes aluminium would wear better.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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8970 posts in 3549 days

#8 posted 11-20-2013 03:22 PM

If possible, I would bore a couple of more holes in the red block and add bushings
to bore several holes at a time.

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1294 posts in 3045 days

#9 posted 11-20-2013 04:20 PM

This solution costs about a dollar a hole, and would get it done fast.

-- Who is John Galt?

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3183 posts in 4204 days

#10 posted 11-20-2013 05:04 PM

I didn’t read all of the replies, but I have the kreg jig and it works just fine. In fact, I have two of them connected with the supplied connector that come with each kit.

I took a few measurements to determine where the starting hole should be on each side of the cabinets. Then I cut a spacer and used it the same on both sides of the cabinet pieces. the shelves in all five cabinets turned out perfect.

Hope this helps in your decision making.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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1294 posts in 3045 days

#11 posted 11-20-2013 06:21 PM

KevinJeffery ”Finding a cabinet shop with a line boring machine to do it for you??”

Not a bad suggestion.. (I missed when reading) To give that context. If you were near us (you are not) We would charge $75 an hour to use our machine, as a hobbyist. It would take about 2 to three hours depending on qty of parts. Just to give you context to that suggestion. Or for $150 an hour we would do it for you.

-- Who is John Galt?

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7 posts in 2621 days

#12 posted 11-20-2013 07:34 PM

I have the Kreg jig as well. you can get a couple of them and connect them as Stringer mentions above. Takes a bit of time to do 1,000 holes, but I’ve done that with the Kreg in about 2 hours. Got a little tedious, but it wasn’t too bad.

Instead of a measured spacer, I just ignored the first few holes in the jig, then moved it up along the line. It was fast, consistent and reasonably easy.

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6294 posts in 3786 days

#13 posted 11-20-2013 07:42 PM

You can drill holes all day long with the Rockler jig. I have used it and it works great. It can be used on inside or outside corners, and comes with the self centering bit so the template won’t be damaged. Holes can me milled before or after carcase assembly. The bit limits the hole depth, so you will never accidentally drill through the side of your project. The price is right too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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893 posts in 3648 days

#14 posted 11-21-2013 02:05 AM

Bah…..I say my 49.00 corded Dewalt and a VERITAS jig blows the Festool set up away for this job. Don’t go spending the kid’s college fund!

You really want to drill these holes before you assemble and apply the finish. That way if you make a mistake, you can replace the piece. It would be taking an unnecessary risk to drill after it’s assembled. What if the guide moves? what if you have a blow out or scratch the finish?

Drilling first will enable you to verify, sand, stain and spray the holes – which not only look better but will strengthen the wood grain around the hole.

As far as drilling extra guides in the red guide block, it won’t make it go any faster and will dull the drill bit much faster. I found that leaving the bit in the guide hole and lifting both enough to pull/ slide to the next hole works great. If you pull the brad point bit out every time, it will get dull real fast which gives a lousy cut hole.

ps. I cover last holes with blue tape to ensure I don’t lose count.

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Paul Mayer

1146 posts in 4038 days

#15 posted 11-21-2013 02:34 AM

My thoughts:

- I wouldn’t buy a dedicated piece of equipment for this unless you are going to do a lot more projects
- 1100 holes is a lot, but if you really need to do it, I’d stop thinking about it and start drilling. Before you have a better way figured out you will have your 1100 holes.
- Learn to sharpen drill bits. Its easy for bits that size, and you will need to touch them up along the way with that many holes.
- Having said all that, there is no way I would drill that many holes. I have found that with all the adjustable shelves that I have built over the years, I have moved exactly zero of them after the initial installation. And I believe that applies to the many bookcases that I have built for my kids’ school as well. I’m not suggesting that you not drill any additional holes, but my extras would number in the dozens, not in the hundreds.
- I use the Rockler jig for this. It wouldn’t be lightning fast for 1000 holes, but it wouldn’t take as long as you might think either.

-- Paul Mayer,

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