Favorite dowel jig? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-31-2020, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Favorite dowel jig?

Was looking at the dowel wizard or the dowl it 1000. Which do y'all prefer or have another recommendation? Do these come with the bit and collet for the depth?
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-31-2020, 09:27 PM
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I do not use dowels. If they are for alignment only they are ok. As far as providing any integrity or strength they are very poor. If you funds support it I would purchase a Festool Domino. For edge glue ups dowels provide no more strength than a properly prepared edge and yellow glue. For cross grain joints I usually do mortise and tenon, or loose tenon. Even pocket screws would be a good choice.
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-31-2020, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jdutton24 View Post
Was looking at the dowel wizard or the dowl it 1000. Which do y'all prefer or have another recommendation? Do these come with the bit and collet for the depth?

Not going to give an opinion on using dowels, but I can give an opinion on a doweling jig like the dowel it 1000. Iím not sure if that is the same brand as mine, but mine is identical in use. I hate it.

Because of all the different fixed sizes, itís very difficult to have two dowels that perfectly line up every time since you have to move the doweling jig for each hole. The dowel wizard would work much better for that reason alone since you drill two holes that are guaranteed to be spaced the same so long as you want the approximately 1 inch spacing. If the need is for joints, the dowel wizard would work well.

Now if you are trying to do an edge glue up on six foot boards and are trying to place a dowel every foot or so, that is difficult to do with any doweling jig because every matching dowel hole has to be EXACTLY placed. After several frustrating glue ups I switched to biscuits. Now I just glue and clamp and havenít used either in years.

Mine did not come with drill bits or stop collars but those are easy to obtain and something you should own anyway.
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-01-2020, 03:56 AM
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My dowel jig .....

Originally Posted by jdutton24 View Post
Was looking at the dowel wizard or the dowl it 1000. Which do y'all prefer or have another recommendation? Do these come with the bit and collet for the depth?

I bought two of these a long while ago, I think because I could use them to center the holes for mortises, then chisel out the waste in between. I don't use them for dowels, and truthfully, I've not used them for mortising either, BUT they were cheap:

You can click on the "stars" and see what others had to say about them.
Of course, you will need some of these centering widgets to mark your locations when edge joining:

Then you may want to build this joiner's bench for around $100.00:

For the holes you'll need these:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-01-2020 at 03:57 AM. Reason: it was late, and I was bored ...
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-01-2020, 04:37 AM
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Id love to know where this conspiracy theory that dowels are somehow an inferior joint that offers no strength comes from. Are they as strong as a mortise and tenon joint? No. Are they appreciably weaker? Also no. Fact of the matter is that a well constructed dowel join will only differ from a M&T joint, strength wise, by a few pounds. Were talking 300lb break force for a M&T joint, 245lbs for a dowel joint, per this well-constructed test:

Bear in mind thats a worst-case failure, putting leverage 8 inches away from the joint in a fashion meant solely to break the joint. Any actual project, building a table or a dresser or whatnot, youll never notice the difference.

To the question at hand, i have the Dowel0it 100 jig, and ill confess im not a fan. I like the self-centering jigs, a lot, but the dowel-it is just flat out inconvenient to use. Reason is that while its got 6 drill guide holes, all of them are different sizes and theres no provision for bushings or similar, so if you want to drill more than one hole for a dowel in a joint, you have to reposition the jig every time instead of having some form of built-in indexing. No experience on the Dowel Wizard, but it being unable to clamp itself kills it for me. Id go for a self-centering jig that takes drill bushings, something like this:
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-01-2020, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Im not sure where dislike for dowels are coming from
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-01-2020, 10:46 PM
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Guess I'm old school.
I've used dowels for years.
Can't beat them for strength.

Favorite dowel jig?-6220-003.jpg

Favorite dowel jig?-img_1072-countertop-dowel-hole-jig.jpg

I use a Stanley. Tried and true.
If you know what you are doing,
dowels line up and edges line up

Last edited by justdraftn; 02-01-2020 at 10:58 PM. Reason: add pic
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-02-2020, 08:50 AM
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I've used the self centering type jig for over 50 years with great accuracy. I do however recommend the pre made dowels with the grooves to provide adequate glue surface distribution... and use with a brad point drill bit to better drill into end grain. I have never had a dowel joint fail. The disadvantage is it only centers the hole into the thickness of the wood it is clamped to.

I would also recommend a couple sets of dowel/tenon center sets.


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Last edited by gmercer_48083; 02-02-2020 at 08:54 AM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-02-2020, 10:35 AM
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for occasional glue up I use this
Not something you would use in a pro shop, though :)
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-02-2020, 01:06 PM
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Dowel joints get a bad reputation in furniture, and they are misused a lot. I was process engineer for a high volume door operation that used dowel joints, and they worked great. They are very accurate, so coped joints seat weather tight; and they withstand severe tests in wind load, impact, and cycle slam testing. As gmercer points out, grooved dowels and brad point bits are important. The old rule of thumb that penetration of 3 times diameter gives a joint where the dowel will break before it comes unglued is valid from my experience, and I've tested dozens of stile and rail doors to structural failure. True dowel drills are also back taper ground 0.001" per inch of shank so they don't burn in the cut, and this is also improves glue adhesion.

I do dowelling in my own shop with a bench top drill press and a vertical table that clamps to it. The dowel holes are bored in the rail ends while still square cut, then the coped ends are cut, and finally the sticking moulding. The joints need to look perfect. Dowels are a drive fit; and once they are started, there's no going back.
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-02-2020, 08:39 PM
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Iíve used a Dowl-It for maybe 30 years. It has always worked well for me.
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-03-2020, 12:40 PM
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I use the Dowel It a lot and like it a lot.

There's so many ways to skin a cat in the wood working world that I find this 'my way or the high way' attitude about tools or techniques incredibly boring.
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-07-2020, 10:15 PM
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As has previously been stated, while dowels are not highly regarded in the realm of quality woodworking, they are serviceable and reasonably strong enough for various types of projects. I used 3/8" diameter dowels for the rail and stile joints I made on my first kitchen cabinet doors that I'd built, about 30 years ago. They are still holding up just fine. No looseness, no problems.

I own an original Dowel-it that I got around 1987, maybe, and that is what I use when I need to use dowels, which is not often. Yes, you need to align the jig for each individual hole. But really, that's not rocket science. The main thing is to make sure your holes are slightly deeper than the dowels are long so that there is room for the glue. I also got a General doweling jig for a specific purpose, but I never found that to be very accurate.
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