Closet Rebuild #1: Shelf Pin Jig

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Blog entry by Jeff posted 05-10-2007 06:37 AM 6621 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Closet Rebuild series Part 2: Done. »

As part of the revamp of the closet in our loft that collapsed a few moths ago, I built this jig to ensure all the holes for the shelf pins would line up and I (hopefully) won’t have any wobbly shelves. It was inspired by a jig sold by one of the well-known woodworking retailers. I couldn’t see buying one when I had all the necessary stuff sitting around (short of a special bit). In hind sight, the time spent might justify the cost. What can I say? I like building jigs.

All the holes were drilled on my drill press with a combination of a back fence to keep the holes aligned on ‘Y’ axis and on the ‘X’ axis, I took my chances and eyeballed the alignment with a brad point bit. I lined it up on the intersection of the pencil lines carefully drawn with a square. It was painstaking but the brad point made it easier and probably took less time to cut spacers to use with a stop block (that’s a guess).

The larger holes are to accommodate the spring-loaded bit I purchased for the job. The two smaller holes at either end are 1/4” holes and are used to index the jig for correct spacing after you reach the capacity of the jig. I simply placed a 1/4” bit in the hole to hold position.

Fully Assembled Shelf Pin Jig
What the jig looks like before it is applied to the work piece. The rail in my hand will be placed flush with the facing edge (front or back).

Disassembled Shelf Pin Jig
The disassembled jig showing the component parts (hardboard body, MDF rail, T-nuts and flat-head bolts)

Detail of Jig
Detail of the Jig

The jig in action
The jig applied to the workpiece

The results of my labor
The results – nice, evenly spaced and aligned holes for the pins.

Thanks for taking a look. I’ll post some photos of the cabinet (very small) after the face frame is finished setting overnight. I’ll throw up the SketchUp drawing I’ve been working from too. It will make more sense with that pic.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

5 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


13776 posts in 4272 days

#1 posted 05-10-2007 06:40 AM

Very nice. Looks very effective.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4475 days

#2 posted 05-10-2007 12:31 PM

Handy jig Jeff-
I see you use Tee-nuts which reminded me about a purchase I made quite a few years ago. A hardware store was having a closing out sale, & I picked up a tray about 8” x 10” with an assortment of all shapes, & sizes of Tee-nuts. I still haven’t use them all yet. I paid $15 for the whole works.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Karson's profile


35140 posts in 4576 days

#3 posted 05-10-2007 02:12 PM

Jeff what I’ve done where I need to space holes the same amount each time would be to take a block of wood and use a fence and cut two holes the distance apart See my progect on mine woodworking bench Within athe discription is my spacer jig.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4269 days

#4 posted 05-11-2007 04:17 PM

Thanks guys. Dick, that was a lucky buy. Sounds like the box I fished those out of… I got them at Ace and it cost me about 5.50 bucks for the six pieces! Ridiculous… I can’t wait to get my own space so I can buy in bulk.

I’ll check it out Karson (I’m at work now so can’t see images). That sounds like what I would have liked to have done but I wasn’t sure where I’d be drilling the holes in the case (at home or in the shop). That and the case is 80” tall. I do plan on building a fixture for my press that will allow me to do that though.

I saw something in one of my books about a cool deal where you cut a whole bunch of spacers out of 1/4 MDF and then string them on a dowel. The hole in each spacer is offset so you just rotate what you don’t need out of the way. Seemed like a lot of cutting and drilling at the time… (save it for something to do when just puttering around in the shop I guess.)

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View spooligan34's profile


7 posts in 1375 days

#5 posted 02-12-2015 11:47 PM

nice jig. i may have to steal this idea.

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