Dowel Jigs

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New member
8 Jun 2020
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Doncaster, UK
So i'm new to the woodworking world and starting of with some simple items that I've found useful for our soon to be 2 year old to use (Toybox, Kitchen helper).

I've built mine using pocket screws but having had requests from friends and family i've been adjusting my design to allow it to be flatpacked and therefore decided to go down the dowel route.

I went ahead and bought the Triton TDJ600 despite some of the bad reviews out there hping that Triton had addressed the core issues but saddly have found out they haven't. I couldn't get a straight flush joint on 16 test pieces using 2 of Triton's Dowel Jointers so have given up on it.

I'm now looking for an alternative tool and wondered what others were using? I'd love the Domino but at the moment I just can't warrant investing so much in one tool just yet (reluctantly putting credit card away)

I'm looking to go back to a manual jig but want something better than my Wolfcraft Dowel Master that although accurate took time to switch between thicknesses of timber (Mainly 12 & 18mm sheet timber using 6/8mm dowels)

What are the best options out there and what are you all using that you'd either get again or not go near.
MattsWoodshop":3oaumt03 said:
.......What are the best options .......

Welcome to the forum.

The best option is to learn and practise joinery. Mortise and tenons in particular. There are plenty of people who are lifelong woodworkers who don't own dominoes, pocket hole jigs, or dowelling jigs. It isn't difficult, and it's stronger and cheaper.
I tend to make one for each thickness of material, normally I work in 22mm so that one gets used the most but this means I can work in random sizes as I see fit (currently need to make one for 42mm as that's the thickness of the bed frame timbers after they were dimensioned). :) I don't use dowels much but for something things they are just the job (and I don't have a domino either).

have a look for "homemade dowel jig" they are very simply, don't take up a lot of space and easy enough to make.
I have used dowels a bit and don't dismiss them as readily as some people.

Last time I used them was to knock up a quick storage shelf using some scraps of veneered chipboard. Mortice and tenon joints were not an option and just screwing through from the outside was too crude. I just marked a line on each piece using a try square across the upright and a marking gauge along the centre of the thickness of the shelf. I stepped out dowel positions along the lines with dividers, using the same settings on each piece, then drilled the holes.

The only jig I have is a moulded plastic affair by Wolfcraft which is not as rubbish as it looks.

If you need anything more complicated, it doesn't take long to bore some holes in a scrap for a jig to suit the job.

As a beginner, I liked dowels because I only had to make single square cuts on the ends of pieces.
Thanks All!

Looking at some of the diy jogs out there I think that is probably the way to go fo rme.

Might even have a crack at creating a template for my 'product' with built in dowel positions to drill, but for starters simple 6mm & 8mm jig will probably suffice.
I use the 'Dowelmax' system from Canada which is superbly accurate but it doesn't appear to be available any more in the UK. Could be wrong.
Mike G has mentioned that doweling isn't as strong as conventional joinery (mortice and tenon) Tests done by Dowelmax and Derek Jones (then editor of F&C mag) a few years ago using a hydraulic rig proved pretty conclusively that a dowel joint done correctly is in actual fact stronger.
Strange but true - Rob
I don't think it's in the UK now.

Website went down a while ago, although the domain is registered until 2022.

I bought triton dowel jointer a few months ago, and was pleasantly surprised how good it was out of the box. I've found the way it works best for me is holding the fence tight against the horizontal work surface, and on completion of the hole boring, stoping the machine before withdrawing from the work surface.

The only operating defect I've noticed is the dust extraction, to the extent I use it without a vacuum machine.
The best dowel jig hands down is the Joint Genie. It's very accurate and versatile. If you're looking to make strong joints quickly, you will struggle to do better.

Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk
Don't rule out a good biscuit joiner. I've had my Lamello since it came out in the early 80's here, the Domino of it's day, and it excels at joining sheet goods you plan on using. It is also good for solid wood projects too. Especially nice for joining mitred picture frames and doors. While some might cringe I used it to make an Oak screen door that banged away on my last house for almost 25 years without any sign of failure until I took it off to move here. You don't have to get a top of the line machine but don't get a cheap one either. You might have alignment issues like you did with the Triton.

siggy_7":2javdctl said:
The best dowel jig hands down is the Joint Genie. It's very accurate and versatile. If you're looking to make strong joints quickly, you will struggle to do better.

Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk
I've had a Joint Genie for years and can confirm it is accurate and versatile, just remember to mark your work with face side and face edge and work from those marks.
Regards Keith