|Review by tedth66||posted 11-12-2010 04:15 PM||15421 views||2 times favorited||7 comments|
Like most of you LJs, I too LOVE tools. I especially love the tools that make me look like a professional craftsman. Years back I fell in love with the Kreg Pocket Hole jig due to its simplicity and ease of use. After building a few cabinets with the jig I realized that creating a flush joint was very challenging and sometimes impossible. The difficulty of creating a flush joint is due to the screw causing the mating board to wander when you drive ithe screw into the board; this is despite my best efforts of clamping the workpieces. A year later I purchased a Porter Cable Biscuit Joiner. I loved how quick and simple it was to create the biscuit slots and best of all you didn’t have to be dead on for it to work because the biscuits allow for some slop. Again I built a few cabinets and learned that if there is a slight bow in the lumber or the lumber wasn’t sitting flat chances are the joints will be skewed. My love for these two tools/jigs soon turned into disappointment.
And then I read about the DowelMax Joinery System. At first the price scared me so I started out by sending for the FREE DVD so I could better acquaint myself on how to use it. After viewing the DVD I was pretty much sold on the idea but the price had me waffling. I continued surfing the internet for reviews and I never once read anything negative about the jig. I finally decided to buy the tool and I’m so glad I did. After test driving the jig on a few simple french cleat shelves for clamps I then moved on to a 7ft tall cabinet with fixed shelving. WOW; I can’t tell you how amazed I was when I joined the pieces together. The cabinet much to my surprise was dead square and ALL of the joints were as flush as they can be. I never once got this kind of satisfaction when using the biscuit joiner or the pocket hole jig.
As awesome as this joinery system is, I was able to find a very minor con. The DowelMax’s drill stop collar is not highly reliable. Despite cranking down on the drill stop set screws, twice the collar slipped and because of the configuration I was using at the time the drill bit started drilling into the clamp pad. This killed me as I like my tools looking brand new. I emailed DowelMax and asked them if I could purchase a set of clamp pads to replace the one I ruined. Much to my surprise, DowelMax sent me a new set of clamp pads free of charge. WOW!!! Not wanting to drill into the pads again or accidentally drilling all the way through a piece of lumber I purchased an extra set of stop collars from Rockler and doubled up on the (3/8ths”) stop collar. The new stop collar clamps the drill bit which is different than the DowelMax stop collar which relies solely on the two set screws to hold the stop collar. Using both at the same time has given me the confidence that I won’t ruin my all-time favorite jig or ruin a piece of lumber ~ minor con solved.
The bottom line is this jig is Top-Notch and the customer service is amazing. If you’re obsessed with accuracy like I am, than this jig is for you. I’ve since purchased the 1/4” kit for frames etc. Someday soon I’ll be selling my biscuit joiner and pocket hole jig as I really see no reason to have them other then looking good on my tool shelf.