Cookbook Shelf Units #2: The Dowel Jig

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Blog entry by Greg Guarino posted 05-18-2014 05:17 PM 2391 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Design & Cutting the Stock to Size Part 2 of Cookbook Shelf Units series Part 3: Drilling the Dowel Holes »

One of the problems with Sketchup is that it makes it very easy to draw repetitive parts. It’s easy to forget that you’ll eventually need to make all those parts, which takes a bit longer. There’s no “copy move” function, at least not in my fledgling shop.

This project has 32 rung pieces (in two units) that make up the “ladder sides”. People have suggested other methods, some of which might be easier, to fasten them. But for whatever reason, I’ve decided to go with dowels. I may live to regret that.

I’ve got 256 holes to drill, 128 of which will be in the ends of 1×2 stock. I’ve got a Beadlock jig, which seems to serve pretty well as a dowel jig. But the thought of clamping it on 64 times is unappealing. I decided to use just the dowel-hole insert and fasten it to a simple jig of my own.

Testing the Doweling Jig

The insert has 1/4-20 threaded holes. I bolted it into a piece of 3/4” ply scrap from below. I then screwed in a 1×2 “cleat” underneath so I could hold the jig in my bench vise.

Testing the Doweling Jig

This is my first experience with toggle clamps. These are from Harbor Freight. Some of their stuff seems flimsy, but these look to be made well enough. They hold the work solidly and there doesn’t seem to be any play. It sure is quick to put the piece in the jig; it should make drilling the holes easy.

Testing the Doweling Jig

I’m still worried about precision. I have taken great pains to try to get everything square, but the proof will be in the finished product (or in the second trip to buy new lumber). My plan is to make one of the ladders as a test run. Wish me luck.

Next? Drilling the Dowel Holes


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