Self centering dowel jig vs Dowelmax or Jessem

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Forum topic by DW833 posted 06-26-2015 02:39 AM 5291 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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215 posts in 1878 days

06-26-2015 02:39 AM

Couldn’t find much in the forums on this question. So created a new entry for it. If there are previous entries, let me know.

I’ve been researching dowel jigs and can’t decide between one of the basic self centering jigs or a more capable jig like a dowel max or jessem. Lee valley and woodcraft both sell the same jig that is made is usa. The jig has good reviews.
It is frequently mentioned it is a better quality than the cheaper versions.

Then there is the dowel max and jessem. They implement the jig differently, but both have good reviews.
I’m wondering what the more advanced jigs offer than the self centering jig.
Do they provide faster or easier alignment, drilling, etc than the simple jig?

There are two features that are most important to me. First, easy setup is important.
Second, repeatable results from piece to piece. I don’t want to have to re-drill misaligned holes.

The cost for the three varies greatly. Self centering jig $70, jessem $119-$163, dowelmax $249 – $300.

The self centering jig and jessem can be seen at veritas.,180,42311,42319,180,42311,42319

7 replies so far

View lepelerin's profile


495 posts in 2321 days

#1 posted 06-26-2015 04:01 AM

I have the jessem. Difficult to make it more easy to use this jig. You won’t have to re-drill holes. Dead accurate. I made many dowel holes in all sort of configurations with it. Perfect alignment every time. I could not be more happy with it.
If you get it at LV you have 90 days to appreciate it.
Good luck in you decision and let us know what you get.

View cdaniels's profile


1320 posts in 1497 days

#2 posted 06-26-2015 04:47 PM

I have one of the self centering jigs, haven’t ran into any issues yet and I think I payed maybe 20$ for it

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View WOODIE1's profile


117 posts in 2275 days

#3 posted 06-28-2015 09:38 PM

I have the Jessem and it is dead accurate but there are some issue.

The biggest is, I have the one without the clamp knobs built in. The issue is the way they made the mounting pad where you apply your clamp has a rounded inside edge. Yoru clamp can’t get into the corner and will ride down the rounded corner and move.

The second issue is the lack of fine tuning and use of preset measurements.

Last is one I never thought would be an issue and that is some parts are made too accurate. Parts bind or get stuck.

It is a useful tool but I think I would go Dowelmax next time?

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2442 days

#4 posted 06-28-2015 11:16 PM

I have a Dowelmax,it is well made and accurate, I have other dowelling jigs but they are somewhere in my shop collecting dust ever since I got my DM.
I have heard good things about Jessem,you really can’t go wrong with either one.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View BurlyBob's profile


5491 posts in 2261 days

#5 posted 06-28-2015 11:23 PM

I’ve been using that self centering jig for a few years and have no issues other that it shifting when I tighten it down. I have some 1000 grit sand paper with an adhesive back. I put that on it and all the shifting went away. I found that so useful I put it of the front of my table saw miter gauge. What a simple easy fix.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2500 days

#6 posted 06-29-2015 12:30 AM

I would never give up my dowelmax…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View DW833's profile


215 posts in 1878 days

#7 posted 07-02-2015 01:55 AM

Everyone, thanks for the feedback. Decided to stick with M&T for now. I have a plunge rounter and mortise jig. Will use it instead of dowels on the project.

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