What's your favorite shelf pin drilling method?

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Forum topic by Loren posted 07-11-2011 06:09 PM 7486 views 0 times favorited 58 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8534 posts in 3224 days

07-11-2011 06:09 PM

I’ve used a few different jigs over the years. I’ve never been blown
away at the speed of any of them.

I guess without having a CNC or a line boring machine, most of us would
be using a drill or a plunge router to make the holes.

What are people using here?

58 replies so far

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


24863 posts in 2443 days

#1 posted 07-11-2011 06:27 PM

Loren, we use to build 32mm cabinets for a good number of years and we had automatic and semiautomatic line drilling machines. However, one of my jobs was to make the samples for new cases. To a certain extent I could use the machines for fitting holes but sometimes I just used a drill press or hand drill. I always used hand drills to drill the shelf support holes unless a machine was already set up. My jig was just a simple aluminum drill guide that keyed off of the edge (I made it on a milling machine) and I used a drill stop on the drill for a depth gage. I could make a sample pretty fast with simple tools. It was always a pain in the ass to make samples because we were always needing them and I was always needed elsewhere so I was always rushed.

We would have been better off having a small sample dept with one or two small line drills dedicated to that department and not for production. However, Our business was always growing and it always seemed we had to throw the money at making the production more efficient.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Viktor's profile


459 posts in 2995 days

#2 posted 07-11-2011 06:29 PM

Template: a block of wood with several carefully measured and drilled holes in a row at desired spacing. Usually offset from the edge the same distance as in the shelf for easier lineup. It’s slow, but I’m not doing it for living.

View DrDirt's profile


4208 posts in 3318 days

#3 posted 07-11-2011 06:31 PM

Drill Press – with a piece of peg board double stick taped to it.

The drill press keeps me from messing up the depth and always gets the pins perpindicular to the surface.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View Luke's profile


289 posts in 2263 days

#4 posted 07-11-2011 06:44 PM

hardboard template with a 3/8” spaced holes, and a plunge router with 1/4” downward spiral bit and 3/8” guide bushing.

My last shelf pin jig I dadoed a 3/8” grove aligned on top of the holes just shallow enough to keep the guide busing in the track so all I need to do is slide the router an it will drop in the holes, then plunge with the 1/4” downward spiral bit and perfect 90degree holes that are exactly the same depth, and zero chip out even on Melamine.

View Bertha's profile


13058 posts in 2269 days

#5 posted 07-11-2011 06:53 PM

I always just used 1/2” ply with an edge register and bit stop. As a hobbiest, I could never justify the commercial jigs. I imagined making one out of clear acrylic but it never materialized. Good luck!

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

View 8iowa's profile


1566 posts in 3337 days

#6 posted 07-11-2011 08:55 PM

I drill the holes in the sides before assembly of the case. First, I use a tape measure to mark the spacing 1” apart down the length of the side, then taking a combo square I mark the hole centers 2” in from front and rear.

Using the Shopsmith in drill press mode, I set the fence for the 2” spacing and “eyeball” each drilled hole, setting the stop so that I don’t drill all the way through. For long boards I use roller bearing stands to support the board on each end.

I find this method to be surprisingly accurate and quick.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Richard's profile


1912 posts in 2266 days

#7 posted 07-11-2011 09:20 PM

There are a lot of commercial jigs available for people that do a lot of shelf units, but for the few times I have needed to do them a peice of pegboard nailed to a 1” x 3/4” scrap whatever length I need and use a hand drill with a depth stop on the bit seems to work.

View canadianchips's profile


2528 posts in 2573 days

#8 posted 07-11-2011 09:42 PM

I use a template made from 1/4” puck board and a hand drill with a depth stop on the bit. This works for the few holes I make each year.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View stnich's profile


116 posts in 2500 days

#9 posted 07-13-2011 02:49 AM

Peg board with a Vix Bit. Easy to use just make sure that you keep left and right in mind as well as top and bottom.

View TrBlu's profile


379 posts in 2202 days

#10 posted 07-13-2011 04:46 AM

I use a piece of peg board for a guide and a handheld power drill.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


7558 posts in 2153 days

#11 posted 07-13-2011 04:56 AM

Festool lr32 (?) works great.

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 2257 days

#12 posted 07-13-2011 07:04 AM

16 dremels ganged together on a long narrow plunge type base .

Produces 64 holes in under 7 seconds . Simple and faster than a CNC when

you need to drill a few hundred shelf pin holes.

Not practical for one-offs .

Did I win ? Where is vonhagen ?

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2216 days

#13 posted 07-13-2011 07:22 AM

Browning Challenger .22 pistol with CCI Stinger .22 LR (not hollow point) at 10 feet with laser sight.

Make sure that SWSOGM (don’t EVEN ask) does not sneak up on you.

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

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2499 days

#14 posted 07-18-2011 06:54 PM

Rockler jig. Works good.

-- Life is good.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2261 days

#15 posted 07-19-2011 08:24 PM

I stick with Norm’s simply plywood jig…plunge router with guide bushing. with time and usage the guide bushing holes loosen up a tad and a row of holes goes quickly

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