Dowelmax vs Freud Doweling Joiner vs Others?

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Forum topic by Jim posted 03-06-2011 04:04 PM 12542 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2682 days

03-06-2011 04:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dowelmax dowel max freud doweling fdw710k joinery dowel

Good Day LJ’s!

I’m considering purchasing a doweling jig/tool to open up some additional (quick and easy and strong) joinery options. The two I’m looking at are the Dowelmax and the Freud Doweling Joiner – Both can be had for about $300.

I’ve searched high and low and can’t find much in the way of comparison. My gut says the the Freud is the better bang for the buck but as with any power tool failure can be an option….Not so much with a jig like the Dowelmax.

Anybody have experience with both? Opinions? Other options that I should be considering?

Thanks in advance, Jim

8 replies so far

View stumpknocker's profile


28 posts in 2839 days

#1 posted 03-06-2011 04:40 PM

Can’t tell you about the Freud but I have been using the dowelmax for about 3 years and can’t say enough good things about it. I have used it in just about every configuration that you can imagine and some that are not even in the book. It is well built and accurate. I can highly recommend it.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3671 days

#2 posted 03-06-2011 06:55 PM

The advantage in the Freud would be for quick angled-joinery setups.
The drawback is that it doesn’t clamp to the work, so it may move
around on you. Maybe it has other problems the Mafell unit doesn’t
as well. The Mafell is a more high-end tool.

I don’t have the Dowelmax but I do have the Jessem dowel jig which
is similar. Anything that isn’t 90 degrees requires ingenuity to set up.
Biscuit joiners and the plunge dowelers have a fence that makes the
angled cuts much quicker to set up and execute.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3098 days

#3 posted 03-06-2011 07:21 PM

I went through a similar decision making process a while ago. I tried to consider and carefully research all of the various “quick and easy” joinery options, including the Freud, DowellMax and others.

I eventually choose the Mortise Pal.

My issue with dowels is that if you put multiple dowels into a joint, it is difficult to compensate for movement. With the Mortise Pal, I can cut one set of mortises for an exact fit and the second mortise with a little bit of room for movement. I glue up the first mortise and leave the second unglued.

In theory, you can drill an elongated hole if using dowels – but that is awkward to do.

My only disappointment with the Mortise Pal is that it is not designed to put a mortise into the middle of a wide board. Of course, how often does one do that?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4184 days

#4 posted 03-06-2011 07:33 PM

I can’t help you with comparisons or reviews of the Freud system but here are 3 reviews of the Dowelmax. (reviews by LumberJocks)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bill Szydlo's profile

Bill Szydlo

65 posts in 2711 days

#5 posted 03-06-2011 07:39 PM

I also have never used the Freud but I have used the Dowelmax. Currently I am using it to build all the interior doors in my house. I own a Leight FMT and a mortise pal but the tool I seem to reach for the most is the Dowelmax. It’s simple to use, you can repeat a cut if anything goes wrong and the customer service is excellent. The downside is that you still have to drill each dowel which can get tedious depending on the number of holes there are. Each door I am making now takes 44 dowels or 88 holes!
Hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions.

View sroxberg's profile


1 post in 2662 days

#6 posted 03-06-2011 08:17 PM

I would include the new Jessem Doweling jig in your search. Cheaper than the Dowel Max and based upon the same principles of using a reference surface. I haven’t used one but have seen several good reviews.

View Jim's profile


10 posts in 2682 days

#7 posted 03-06-2011 08:44 PM

Thanks for the feedback – Seems like the Freud is still available but never really caught on and based on their website it may be discontinued…..

I took a look at the Mortise Pal but this would require that I get a plunge router (or a plunge base).

I did find another dowelling tool made by Triton – I have no experience with this brand – It is about half the price of the Freud version….Another option to toss into the fray!


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3098 days

#8 posted 03-06-2011 10:13 PM

Regarding Freud – - As I understand it, they were recently purchased by Fein and the new owners were not very impressed with their dowelling machine and have de-emphasized it. By now, they may have discontinued it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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