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Hi all,
I'm new to the forum --and somewhat new to woodworking. First of probably many future questions...
Does anyone know of a dowel jig that goes smaller than the 1/4" dowel hole size?
I'm trying to semi-mass produce a kid's toy that requires several dowels in a small space --some needing to be centered in the traditional way, others not.
I've looked at Dowelmax and JessEm and both seem to go down only to 1/4". I'd love to find a 3/16" possibility. 1/8" too but that seems far-fetched.
Anyone have any ideas?
Thanks!
Ben
 

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Old Methane Gas Cloud
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Make your own and use an 8 x 32 threaded insert as a drill guide for 1/8" dowels.
 
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Thumb Nailer
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For "mass production" you would need to custom design and build a drilling jig for the purpose assuming you don't want to go with a purpose built machine...

I would be concerned with small diameter dowels holding small parts for a children's toy from a safety perspective... Unless that dowel is steel or something like that of course...
 

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where's my table saw?
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make your own jig

You need a jig that will allow repetitive operations that are in specific locations. You will need to have it made, or make it yourself.
It can be made of wood with metal inserts or metal like steel with the holes drilled in a specific pattern. If the parts require the same hole locations, that will be easiest. If some parts require holes not in that pattern, you will need a separate jig.

A simple wooden jig:


A metal jig with brass bushings:
 

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It's easy to make a good doweling jig and once you try one of these you'll probably throw out your fancy ones. You can make a simple but accurate and fast to use doweling jig from hard wood such as maple, if you have a drill press.

I don't know what kind or shape of parts you want to dowel together, but for doing typical doweling projects such as making face frame or door panel frame joints, you can simply plane a piece of maple to the same thickness as the framing material you want to join, then rip a strip down to about 2 inches wide and 3 inches long. (These dimensions are just starting suggestions and anything that fits the materials your working with can be used.) Next draw a center line perpendicularly ( is that a word?) across one edge and one face. These lines will meet where the edge meets the face. (this a very easy and simple process but takes a lot of words to describe).

Next clamp this piece of maple in your drill press vice with the marked narrow edge up. Use a center punch to mark the center of the center line on the edge of the maple block. drill a hole the size of the dowels you want to use. if you are drilling a larger hole, you may want to drill a pilot hole first to help prevent the drill bit from "walking" off center.

Now you will need to add the clamping and alignment tab to your jig. Simply screw another piece of the maple, about 2" by 5" to the face of the drilled block which is opposite the one marked with the center line so that the tab extends down 3 inches past the edge marked with the center line and is flush with the other edge.

This completes the jig and if you were able to get the hole drilled on the exact center line you will have a very accurate, convenient, and fast jig when used with a vice grip type clamp or "Creg Jig" clamp. The marked center line must correspond to the exact hole center for your parts to be aligned correctly when doweled. If it does not, you can erase the line and draw a new line in the correct location.

This verbal description may be too difficult to follow so I will try to figure out how to get some drawings or photos added to this post.

Art Schmitt
 

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To use the drill jig as described by schmitt32, You place the parts to be joined in the position you want them to end up in after doweling and using a square or other straight edge, make a pencil mark on the face of the work pieces, across and perpendicular to the seam line at each point you want to have a dowel. Place the drill jig tab against the back of one of the pieces to be drilled so that the center line on the jig face lines up with the dowel center mark on the face of the work piece. Clamp the jig at this point and if you've been able to follow these wordy instructions, you should be able to drill a dowel hole in the correct place. Use the same procedure for the other work piece and with the dowel inserted into both holes, the pieces should line up flush.

Good luck

Art
 
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