Best doweling jig, for all applications


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What is the best doweling jig?  Not just edge doweling, but across a wide board.  Needing a jig that works like the Domino, but with dowels.    I’ve looked at Jesum, Dowelmax, and hoping to find the Woodpecks Ultimatum Doweling jig.  Any suggestions or recommendations?

 

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Hi Larry,  You've gotten lot of views without any comments. Sorry for the "thundering silence" :).  The lack of response may be an indication of the dowel's popularity as a general joinery element today.  I held off responding because I know there are folks out there that use dowels as their go-to joint but I am not one of them.  I am not saying dowels are no good or undesirable.  I am not trying to start a back and forth about their virtue or the fact that so-and-so used them all the time.  I can only speak to my use and the way I grew into the craft.

I make things primarily because I enjoy it.  Being an enthusiastic hobbyist gives me more freedom than someone doing replica work or someone running a business.  My point is that my choices in joinery are pretty well influenced by the purpose of the piece.  I have made (hopefully) attractive pieces that were primarily serviceable, pieces that were more traditional in joinery and formal in design, and pieces that were labors of love with a lot of attention to the many parts of a piece that go unnoticed and are never seen.

Having already gotten long-winded, I will blow on . . .

Since you can make your own dowels and make your own dominoes I assume the "need" for a doweling machine is the price of the Domino (and no one can blame anyone for that :)).  A joinery method that is good for corners, edges, and the middle of a panel will often be a compromise at one or more of these locations.  We have all read books or articles where someone shows how to do everything with a tablesaw, a router, or a radial arm saw.  Sure you can but, a one-for all approach can involve compromise or a lot of fuss.  Dowels, Dominoes, pocket screws, screws, and nails (like tablesaws, routers, and radial arm saws) all have their place as does wood to wood joinery like dados, sliding dovetails and finger joints.

For edge doweling, any decent jig will do.  The 'better' jigs have stops and registers for repeatability, a wider variety of dowel sizes and so forth. The value of those features to you will depend on what you are wanting to do and how much of it you will do.  Are any of these jigs really "good" for center of panel work versus marking your layout and drilling by hand?  Probably arguable.  If you do a lot of this type of joinery then something like the dual doweling machines from Triton, Grizzly or Mafell might be worth a look.  Personally I would look to a variety of joinery suitable to the joint at hand.

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I tried a couple cheaper doweling jigs, swore that I’d never use a dowel jig again, then went out and bought a domino. 

Some people seem to like them (or at least tolerate them) but I could not. It is entirely possible that there are nicer dowel jigs out there, but the ones that were readily available to me at brick and mortar stores were total garbage IMO. 

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I have not seen a dowel jig that properly encompasses all the aspects of dowel joinery mentioned in the original post. For dowels along the edge or end of a board, any decent quality jig should work, even the very simple cross-hair and guide block designs. But for making holes across a board face, I've had the most success using dowel center points in the already drilled mating edge to mark the face.

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  • 2 weeks later...

when I need a to use dowels I make a quick down and dirty on with some scrap wood, guide hole drilled at my drill press, a fence made from scrap glued and pin nailed to guide block I work off of a center line just like a biscuit cutter (and I assume like a domino I've never used one).1181172310_drillguide.jpg.c921c0c20260454917c4474ec068aef2.jpg2095393470_drillguide1.jpg.952e48c7ca9c463004e0631e8dc8f12a.jpg425704719_drillguide3.jpg.fad0e097ca0f17fae54557fbcde4780e.jpg483259257_drillguide2.jpg.f513c39dd1cd53c943f1babca5a1cc97.jpg

Just like this one I made for a little door on my router table1641968700_routercontents6.thumb.jpg.df233ae99171ebf68492fac8d99cc8a3.jpg

This method works well for me it costs virtually nothing and I can make one quickly just another option good luck.

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Bite the bullet and buy the domino. Expensive but I use it a lot. Sold my morticing machine. Didn't use it for 2 years after purchase of domino. I bought it when it was first offered. I since have acquired the jumbo domino. The work horse is the small one. If it dies I replace it. I stoped doing mortice and tenon. A big time saver.

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On 8/23/2021 at 2:03 PM, curlyoak said:

Bite the bullet and buy the domino. Expensive but I use it a lot. Sold my morticing machine. Didn't use it for 2 years after purchase of domino. I bought it when it was first offered. I since have acquired the jumbo domino. The work horse is the small one. If it dies I replace it. I stoped doing mortice and tenon. A big time saver.

Aside from paying off my mortgage and burial sites, probably the best money I’ve spent! 

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@wtnhighlanderThey hold up OK I make them for a certain project like the small door on my router table. I don't really use dowels in every project, on cabinet doors I use MT joints or loose tenons. I usually misplace them at some point. But I was a carpenter for 40yrs and I've made them on job sites for specific tasks they usually lasted through the task at hand if one had worn out I would make another they don't take very long to make. I personally wouldn't buy a doweling jig I don't think they would be anymore accurate than a shop made jig. And if I was in the market for one, what do they cost $50-$100 well I wouldn't bite the bullet and buy a $1500 Domino that's for sure. Woodworking is a hobby for me I enjoy making stuff and making jigs and, fixtures are enjoyable to me also. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Several decades ago I remember the shop I worked at had an horizontal bore machine. One or two brad point bits. The bed would adjust up or down and there was a cam at the end of a pipe that locked the stock in place. I wanted one and could not afford it. Then when domino came along I stopped wanting the horizontal bore.

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