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Craftsman Revolving Turret Doweling Jig - circa 1950's through 1970's

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Review by David Grimes posted 1004 days ago 3243 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Craftsman Revolving Turret Doweling Jig - circa 1950's through 1970's Craftsman Revolving Turret Doweling Jig - circa 1950's through 1970's Craftsman Revolving Turret Doweling Jig - circa 1950's through 1970's Click the pictures to enlarge them

I don’t dowel very much, only every now and then. The same goes for biscuit joints and pocket screws… every now and then. But I wanted a jig so that when I do any more, they’ll be easier/faster/more accurate. I had been looking at all the new doweling jigs for quite some time and was not overly impressed.

So I started looking at some older jigs. I thought at first I wanted a Stanley 59, but most have one or more of the drill guides missing, or are in bad shape, and some even much too high for what it is.

I came across the Turret Doweling jig first by General, I believe. Soon after I found the Craftsman. I like the facts that there are no parts to hang onto, the jig handles up to 4” thick material, and lastly it is built like a tank with all parts either cast aluminum or steel. So, I found one on an Ebay Buy it Now for $9 plus $9 shipping.

I have already used it twice and of course it works just fine. Nothing fancy, but I just mark by spots on the two boards flushed, then set up the jig for thickness in just a jiffy, spin the turret to the size dowel I am using, then drill with a normal bit with side-clamping drill stop attached. All the other holes are completed in the seconds it takes to 1/2 turn the clamp knob, slide to the next hole, 1/2 turn the clamp knob tight, then drill to the stop. Easy as pie.

The new one I almost bought was metal and plastic. It had a 2” max. thickness. The reviews griped about dropping it once and it was broken. I believe I could run my truck over this one and have a chance of it surviving. Drops on concrete are my litmus test for jigs and tools.

Although not a new tool, they are readily available for less then the new ones. I do recommend this product.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia




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David Grimes

2071 posts in 1138 days



9 comments so far

View Lenny's profile

Lenny

1202 posts in 2025 days


#1 posted 1004 days ago

Anything after this baby was “trying to reinvent the wheel”. I haven’t used this tool in years, primarily due to biscuit joinery but back in the day, this was one of my most trustworthy tools and, you’re right, it is a tank. To me, the most important thing to remember is to orient the jig on the same surface of each piece to be joined. If there are any inconsistencies in the thickness of the boards, the holes will be equally off-center and therefore line up properly.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2243 days


#2 posted 1004 days ago

I have one of these. It’s been replaced by one of the newer, self centering dowel jig, but I still occasionally use it to dowel thicker stock. I never get rid of anything that may have a use.

-- Tim

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15542 posts in 2717 days


#3 posted 1004 days ago

I like the beefiness of it. It looks like a great way to drill a straight hole in a selected location. But, like Tim, I use one of the newer, self-centering ones like this:

The great thing about these is that you can line up two boards you want to join, make a pencil mark across the joint on both boards, then use the guide lines on the side of the jig to perfectly align the holes you are going to drill. A couple of dowels can take the place of mortise and tenon joints in lmany applications, with much less time and effort.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like that old Craftsman… I may even pick up one myself. But I’m a big fan of dowels, and I don’t want you to miss out on their full potential. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View hodgepodge's profile

hodgepodge

29 posts in 1126 days


#4 posted 1004 days ago

Great review, I picked one of these up at an estate sale not too long ago. Can’t wait to try it out after reading this.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5275 posts in 1730 days


#5 posted 1003 days ago

I have the General version of this same tool. I don’t know if they still make them, but I believe the Sears model was just a rebrand of the General Tools model… Very stout, but you need to be careful with making sure you lock the turret slide knob down or it WILL move on you. Other than that one issue, I have been happy with mine for going on 15 years now…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2071 posts in 1138 days


#6 posted 1002 days ago

They are too identical not to be the same. I just found the old Craftsman for $9. I would have been just as happy with the General.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Don W's profile

Don W

13923 posts in 1066 days


#7 posted 1002 days ago

I’ve have one like Charlie M’s. I’ve had it for so long the guides are getting wore out. I just picked up a Stanley 59. I haven’t tried that yet. Its made for the bit brace, but I’m wondering…...cordless drill?

-- There is nothing like the sound of a well tuned hand plane. - http://timetestedtools.wordpress.com (timetestedtools at hotmail dot c0m)

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12942 posts in 1191 days


#8 posted 1002 days ago

I’ve got the same tool, David. I’ve probably had mine for 10 years or more. I haven’t grabbed it in some time but I can’t recall it ever letting me down.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2071 posts in 1138 days


#9 posted 1002 days ago

@DonW, When I was trying to get a 59 I remember reading that it does work just fine with modern bits and motorized drivers.

@Bertha, I just had to cut an oak entertainment center in half to get it down the stairs (son going off to college), so easiest way to get it back as one was to dowel and cover the sins with scribe molding. Mission accomplished with $9 tool.

I did see that if I turn the foot of the clamp to exactly the right spot it will come off. I can’t decide if it is by design or if it is “wollered out” (you know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout).

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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