question about shelf pin holes

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Forum topic by , posted 12-09-2009 07:56 AM 8189 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2387 posts in 3725 days

12-09-2009 07:56 AM

Since we have been building kitchens, I am always looking for the best and most efficient method of doing everything. Currently we use a shelf pin hole jig from Rockler that was $35. It is a great little jig, before that we used peg board, that was not the best solution though. Currently we do not have the money for a line boring machine, maybe in our future but not right now.

I was wondering what others did for their adjustable shelf pin holes. I was wondering if anyone ever uses adjustable shelf systems they might just screw in place? I am sure that would be more costly to the customer but would probably save some on labor/time involved in drilling each hole by hand. My wife actually drills the shelf pin holes herself and does not seem to mind it. She actually loves wood working as much as I do and maybe even more. She was raised on the farm and her family are Mennonites and I believe she has been around hard work most of her life. I don’t mind hard work but I believe in working harder and more efficient.

Happy woodworking,


-- .

20 replies so far

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2387 posts in 3725 days

#1 posted 12-09-2009 07:58 AM

I meant I prefer to work smarter and more efficient.

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View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3768 days

#2 posted 12-09-2009 08:18 AM

This may be an alternative to drilling shelf holes if you can’t afford a line boring machine :

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4166 days

#3 posted 12-09-2009 10:58 AM

I was thinking what kolwdwrkr said. Just a couple of dados and you’re done.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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2387 posts in 3725 days

#4 posted 12-09-2009 04:03 PM

Yeah, that was sort of what I was thinking, just not sure how ell recieved it would be from the customer.

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View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4052 days

#5 posted 12-09-2009 04:18 PM

I had a custom jig made, but it’s basically like this …
Shelf Pin Jig
... which uses a plunge router, a guide bushing, and a ¼” spiral router bit. It goes really fast.

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2387 posts in 3725 days

#6 posted 12-09-2009 04:27 PM

Yeah, we use this jig and it is very nice. Just kicking around different ideas. Anyway, my wife is the one who drills the holes and does not complain, just wish I had a line boring machine. Our goal is to build one kitchen per month next year which ends up being a lot of shelf pin holes. Thanks guys.

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View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4052 days

#7 posted 12-09-2009 04:50 PM

Yeah, I used a drill jig similar to that for awhile, and the router is so much faster. Plus, sometimes with a hand-drill I’d get a hole at an angle, and that doesn’t happen with a router. A line boring machine takes up more space than I’m willing to sacrafice in my little shop for an operation that only happens a couple of times a month.

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View Ger21's profile


1075 posts in 3309 days

#8 posted 12-09-2009 04:52 PM

I have a plunge router jig that has all the line bore holes for the cabinet side, plus drill bushings for hinge holes. No need to move the jig, just clamp it and do the entire cabinet side. I can line bore the entire side and drill the hinge plate holes in under a minute.

-- Gerry,

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4071 days

#9 posted 12-09-2009 04:56 PM

I cant justify a line boring machine like that of Blum because I dont do a lot of volume, rather a project that can take a year to complete soooooo

I drill 7.5 mm dia., holes on 2 1/2” center to center using a drill press with a fence and depth stop.

I mark out the center line of the gable, and then mark center lines up and down from that, then use a “square” framing square and a sharp pencil. By “eye” I dril;l the center hole and transfer that center mark the fence on the drill press, after that its only a matter of lining up the marks with the fence and drilling. I prefer the flush brass/chrome inserts but you could use any pin system. It doesnt take a lot of time and I have yet to recieve a complaint

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4277 days

#10 posted 12-09-2009 05:09 PM

I have three shelf pin jigs and the one from M.E.G. is my favorite. It is a simple jig of machined aluminum and is designed to be used with a plunge router and upcut spiral bit.

This setup creates the cleanest holes ever and using a plunge router is fast. After using this you will never want to use the drill jigs again.

Available here:

A few more pics of the jig in my shop:




-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View seearran's profile


5 posts in 3294 days

#11 posted 12-09-2009 11:03 PM

A cheaper method which I employ is to use a length of 9mm or 12mm MDF cut to the width of the cabinet sides which have been drilled with diameter of shelf pegs studs. You can suit the spacing to your own requirements; the board is then placed against cabinet side and clamped and drilled through MDF into side using a block of timber on drill to act as stop. Lip and spur drill bit best.

-- ian,troon,scotland,

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3658 days

#12 posted 12-10-2009 12:17 AM

Todd, thanks for sharing the pictures of your jig. Thats a great looking tool I just might think about getting one. I use the Rockler jig now and though it works pretty good, I think the MEG jig would be much better.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3464 days

#13 posted 12-10-2009 12:25 AM

Jerry, I used to use the KV 255 shelf standards quite a bit. They seemed to have gone out of style here. I think people like the cleaner look of the drilled holes much better. It has more of a furniture look. Or so they say. Just go buy a CNC. I hear they are cheap. LOL



View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4277 days

#14 posted 12-10-2009 03:28 AM

SnowyRiver – I own the Rockler Jig too and I don’t even use it anymore. It doesn’t produce holes as fast and clean as this setup.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10992 posts in 3606 days

#15 posted 12-10-2009 01:50 PM

My home made jigs use the router and collar. Used them a lot when building cabinets. 3 different lengths.
For other, odd lengths, I used a drill and a piece of peg board. Used the same stuff for 3” drawer pulls, too.
For a while, I built 4-6 kitchens a year. Not production exactly, but it kept my one man/one woman shop busy on the weekends and after work.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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