Woodwork Tools Blog



Home Made Doweling Jig

I recently wrote a quick article on the doweling jig, which I was using at the time to join some framing lumber for a workbench I have started working on. In the article I mentioned that one of the limitations of the jig that I own was the size of the stock that would fit in the jaws of the clamp. Unfortunately, it was just after writing that article that I encountered that very limitation.

The timber that I am working with for the bench top is good old 4 by 2 (100mm x 50mm) as I wanted a good solid top to work on. I didn’t have any problems joining the first 3 pieces, as I was joining edge to edge, so the clamp only had to span about 2 inches (50mm). The final dowel joint I need to make on this part of the bench top joins the edge of piece to the face of the second piece. This means that the clamp needs to span the full 4 inch (100mm) width of the timber. Now, with a maximum jaw span of about 3inches (75mm), this is just not going to happen.

Home Made Doweling Jig - Doweling Jig Maximum Jaw Opening of Existing Jig

Doweling Jig Maximum Jaw Opening of Existing Jig

So what are my options here? I could go and buy a new doweling jig that doesn’t have the same limitation as the one that I already own, or I could look to improvise by making a simple jig that will be sufficient to get the job done.

As you would have guessed from the title, I am going to go for option 2, and build my own doweling jig that will meet the needs I have here. Now, whilst the jig is not going to be of the same quality and won’t have the longevity as an off-the-shelf commercial jig, it should still be reasonably accurate, and certainly will last long enough for me to achieve what I am looking to do.I think most woodworkers encounter such a variety of different issues that they pretty much all become improvisation experts, so making a simple jig like this is not going to stretch too many of you.

The basic design of the jig I will make need a couple of pieces of scrap timber which I will join together at 90 degrees to form an L-shape. Borrowing my existing commercial jig, I will include a small V cut in one piece so that I can line up the mark for where the dowel is to be placed. A hole drilled in the other side will act as a guide for the drill.

Back to the workshop to get this one knocked up. I’ll post some photos of the jig and process for making it when it is complete.

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