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MsDebbieP's Company Tours #5: OMS Tool Company

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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 2532 days ago 2348 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Steel City Tool Works, Part I Part 5 of MsDebbieP's Company Tours series Part 6: Roarockit (The Veneering System) »

From Marine Surveying to inventing a woodworking tool: why of course, what else would one do?

This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jim Lindsay, President of OMS Tool Company and inventor of the DowelMax.
the DowelMax

The History
I asked Jim how the transition to inventing took place and he shared a bit of history with me. In 1995, he was ten years away from retirement and not really looking forward to it. Then, one day as he was working in his shop, he had the idea for the soon-to-be “DowelMax”. He spent the next five years creating prototypes, machining the components, and applying for patents, all the while still running his Marine Surveying company.

With both endeavours in full gear, Jim and his wife, Marie, brought their son, Michael, into the business. Michael just happened to have a degree in Business Administration and a diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology. The family committed themselves to the company and did everything themselves, from cleaning, to assembly and packaging, to mailing, administration, and marketing.
In 2005, the Marine service was sold and the DowelMax became the full-time focus.

The Tool
Sales of the DowelMax are slowly growing, as woodworkers not only become aware of the product but also see the benefits of the jig. The DowelMax provides an accurate and easy to use method of doing dowel joinery which provides an extremely strong joint. (For more information on how the DowelMax works, visit their website as well as the video demonstration created by our very own LumberJock, Mot.)

Jim shows us the DowelMax
Jim Lindsay, OMS Tool Company shows the DowelMax to MsDebbieP, LumberJock
Thanks to Jim for posing for the picture, to the photographer at OMS Tools, to our Canadian Film Crew, Jenn Dietrich, for taking the picture of MsDebbieP, and to Douglas Bordner our pixelator here at LumberJocks.com, for uniting the two images.

Jim sums up the value of DowelMax by saying, “Speaking as a woodworker and not an inventor or owner, I consider it the most efficient and versatile product on the market. I honestly believe that eventually Dowelmax will be very successful world wide, but perhaps not in my lifetime.

According to Jim, the extreme care taken in the design and manufacturing of the DowelMax is an important component of the success of the tool. He says that “the Dowelmax is not a gadget so they don’t cut corners to make it more profitable”. It is aimed at the most discerning woodworkers who want a quality tool that will last a lifetime. The DowelMax’s quality and usefulness has not gone unnoticed. It won an “International Innovator’s Gold Medal Award” at London’s Tomorrow’s World Exhibition in 2000.

Availability
The OMS Tool Company is located in British Columbia, Canada and their online ordering makes the DowelMax available worldwide. There are DowelMax owners in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Caribbean, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Belgium, Norway, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. (There is an additional shipping charge for international orders.)

Knowing that woodworkers around the world use different measuring systems, it’s important to note that the jig is now available with metric guides and accessories.

Customer Service
Standing behind their product is a number one priority for the family-run business. An iron-clad guarantee plus convenient phone support creates a confident relationship between the company and the client. (How can you go wrong, when the technical support is provided by the inventor himself?!)

Misconceptions
Two misconceptions about the DowelMax that Jim hears is: 1) the strength of dowel joinery is not as good as other joints and 2) the cost of the unit is too pricey.

To address the first concern, the OMS Tool Company conducted a variety of strength tests in March of this year, comparing the use of dowels to biscuits and tenons. Test videos can be seen here, showing the superior strength of dowels. Be sure to watch the first video to see how the testing was set up.

In response to the second perception, that the item is expensive, Jim states that, in reality, it is not. When you take into account the quality of the tooling involved, the related costs for producing the tool, the effectiveness and efficiency of the product, and compare it to the cost of other quality joinery tools, then one can see that the price is indeed reasonable.

Tips to the LumberJocks
When asked for tips to pass on to woodworkers, Jim’s response made me smile: “With all due respect I would think it presumptuous of me to offer advice or words of wisdom to such accomplished woodworkers, however on the lighter side, I am probably older than most of your LumberJocks members and I would offer this advice from all my years of experience. (1) Never argue with a woman because undoubtedly you will lose and (2) if you want to live a long and healthy life, never tell your wife or your daughter that their hair’s a mess!”
Definitely words of wisdom!

Thank You
I’d like to thank Jim for taking the time to tell us a little about his journey as an inventor/woodworker. I’d also like to take this time to thank him for his generous donation of a DowelMax to one of our Summer Awards Recipients!

MsDebbieP

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)



16 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

34852 posts in 2996 days


#1 posted 2532 days ago

Great visit Debbie. Thanks

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2632 days


#2 posted 2532 days ago

Great visit, Debbie. I’m an avid user of this tool, as many know. Thanks for posting!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2757 days


#3 posted 2532 days ago

I’m an avid user as well, Tom, and I tell you, it was hard to remain objective. I just wanted to say “woo hoo—this is the greatest tool ever!” :)

Did you watch the strength test videos? They are really interesting.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6646 posts in 2575 days


#4 posted 2532 days ago

Hi Ms. Debbie’

Thanks for the article on this history of dowell max.

I know first hand what they have gone thru, as I too am experiencing the pains of inventing something.

I now go around trying not to come up with any new ideas. LOL

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2757 days


#5 posted 2532 days ago

haha that’s funny Lee—really inspirational!! :)
(laughed out loud on that one))

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2682 days


#6 posted 2532 days ago

Thanks Deb….I hope you told him how much I’m looking forward to using my new Dowelmax. I plan on doing a project almost immediately with it and blogging the process. I’m not even sure what it’s going to be yet but there will be lots of dowels….:)

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2690 days


#7 posted 2532 days ago

Thanks Debbie. I’m going to check out the strength tests. I must admit I’ve been in the lack-of-strength-perception crowd. What do I know though? I sometimes argue with KT. Ha!

Nice writeup.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2690 days


#8 posted 2532 days ago

Darn. The videos are not Mac friendly…

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3960 posts in 2660 days


#9 posted 2532 days ago

Jeff,
I downloaded a Mac compatible plug-in via Firefox that let’s these play the hi-rez version.
The plug-in is here.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2690 days


#10 posted 2532 days ago

Doug, I got a prompt for the same one when I tried earlier but didn’t see a trial version (yes, I’m being cheap). We do, however, need a plugin so we can avoid the headaches of downloading and converting. Is it worth the $ in your estimation? Work seamlessly?

Sorry, Debbie. Not trying to hi-jack the thread. :-/

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3960 posts in 2660 days


#11 posted 2532 days ago

I’m still on the trial-version, but while you were posting I switched links to a freebie I found at versiontracker.com We will have to see if this works. Inquiring prospective DowelMax Mac-users need to know!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2757 days


#12 posted 2532 days ago

I’m on a Mac and they opened for me no problem (except the Oak Tenon one.. and that one I clicked on the dial-up version and it worked fine.)

I must have already been “plugged in” :)
(and I didn’t pay any money for any plug in….

So Caliper .. have you watched the strength tests? What do you think?

Bob, yes I told Jim that you were really excited about your Award and are looking forward to using it. I can’t wait to see what you make with it.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2690 days


#13 posted 2531 days ago

Hi Debbie. I haven’t yet. I’ll have to try this weekend to get a plug-in that works for me. Odd that yours worked. Are you a Firefox user or Safari?

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2757 days


#14 posted 2531 days ago

Firefox but I just tried it with my Safari and it worked there as well.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2690 days


#15 posted 2531 days ago

Finally got to see them. Really impressive. Did he mention what wood the dowels were made of? I’m wondering how much difference that makes? Regardless, if you use a concentration of dowels with a decent diameter you get a joint that is stronger that a M&T. Thanks for the info.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

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