|Review by Sawdust2||posted 03-21-2008 01:49 PM||11630 views||0 times favorited||16 comments|
I’m making a Futon Sofa Bed for my grandson. While cutting the parts I was 1” short on the upper and lower rails for the end pieces. The difference was merely the tenons, not the space between the stiles. So I called Gil, my friend with the trusty DowelMax, and we took advantage of an alternate way to fasten the pieces.
The DowelMax is finely engineered. You can use it to install any number of dowels in various arrangements. The video that is available gives a great tutorial on how to use it. The only limitation we could find is that the thickness of the wood must be in 1/4” increments. I suppose you could use shims for other thicknesses but it would not be as precise as the milled aluminum shims provided.
In my case we needed to offset the rail 1/4” from the stile. Not a problem. We centered the dowels on the rail and then registered the outside of each piece. Just playing around with the tool we decided, using the Americanism “If one’s good, two’s better” to maximize the number of dowels we used in each rail, the bottom rail being 1” wider than the top rail.
The DowelMax comes with a 3/8”bit and the guides have very little tolerance. You must insert the bit into the guide before you activate the drill motor or you are going to etch the guide. (Unless you have nerves of steel and better hand-eye coordination than this old man.)
The system seems to work best if you slow down the drill speed as you are pulling the bit from the guide. And it also helps to clear the grooves in the bit before you start on the next hole.
Not my tool so I don’t have the exact price but it was in the hundred’s of dollars. Absolute money back guarantee. The owner/designer seems to enjoy talking with his customers and is as helpful as can be.
I’ve used 3-4 different dowel jigs and this is, without a doubt, the most precise and best engineered dowel jig I have ever seen. I was absolutely confident that the pieces would fit together as planned. They did.
-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.