Dowel jig preference??

  • Advertise with us

« back to Jigs & Fixtures forum

Forum topic by Belg1960 posted 07-15-2013 11:20 AM 3026 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Belg1960's profile


1072 posts in 3090 days

07-15-2013 11:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Guys, I would like to add one of these to my shop and love the look of the dowelmax but the price is a little steep. Is there any choices that work as well (almost) for a more reasonable price for the hobbyist? Thanks

Forum seems VERY SLOW this morning???

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

17 replies so far

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3004 days

#1 posted 07-15-2013 12:47 PM

Pat, just had a look at the dowelmax jig, my first thought was, it seems like old technology? unless of course you prefer to work by more traditional means?? What kind of work do you plan to undertake using this type of joinery?


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Marcus's profile


1163 posts in 2044 days

#2 posted 07-15-2013 01:02 PM

I purchased the JessEm dowel jig at it’s introductory price a few months back and have been very pleased. My review can be seen here:

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2602 days

#3 posted 07-15-2013 01:23 PM

I have the rockler jigs but will be selling them soon for the dowl-it model 2500.

I don’t use dowels a whole lot so if I’m going to spend $300+ towards a joinery machine, I’d put it in a jar and continue saving towards a festool domino.

Another alternative is to build a horizontal mortiser (not mine).

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View WOODIE1's profile


117 posts in 2304 days

#4 posted 09-05-2013 05:25 PM

I ordered the Jessem on the 28th and they still haven’t shipped yet so not too happy but will see what happens when it shows up. Bought it for specific project and hate waiting.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2529 days

#5 posted 09-05-2013 06:12 PM

Dowl it looks like a very cheap copy of the dowl max.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#6 posted 09-05-2013 06:22 PM

Only the Dowelmax and Jessem jigs will do flush corner
case joints as far as I know. Most of the older styles
of dowel jigs will only do door frame style joints or
edge joints to align boards in gluing.

So, it really depends on what you want to do with

View RobynHoodridge's profile


127 posts in 2354 days

#7 posted 09-05-2013 06:44 PM

Sometimes the most important question isn’t actually the obvious one. “Which doweling jig?” might be the obvious one .. when you, um, want to be making holes for dowels. But let me first ask for example, why you want to be making holes with a drill to start with? How about a plunge router? (I’m always advocating the router, especially for hobbyests.) You could get one, plus a bit, for the price of that single function doweling jig.

-- Never is longer than forever.

View mummykicks's profile


109 posts in 1827 days

#8 posted 09-05-2013 07:15 PM

I have used the dowelmax quite a bit. I agree it’s expensive, but it’s pretty much my go to joint. I built my 4’ x 8’ workbench using it (over 400 dowels, some on 8’ lengths that all lined up) and it saved me from having to buy $$$$ worth of clamps as I used dowels and screws to pull the joints together. I don’t own a table saw, and it allows me to assemble things without dado’s or clamps, and when the do go together, everything is pulled square and aligned flush…

The money I saved on a sawstop and a buttload of clamps more than payed for the dowelmax jig and my tracksaw, mitersaw, and bandsaw. So in my case it was well worth the money.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5705 posts in 2838 days

#9 posted 09-05-2013 07:17 PM

I would get one with the self-centering feature. There are many brands and knock-offs. Woodcraft sells a good one.

I don’t use dowels, so for occasional drilling guides I just use shop made jigs. I am often drilling off-center holes for bed bolts, etc. so a manufactured jig usually doesn’t work for me.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BJODay's profile


526 posts in 1968 days

#10 posted 09-06-2013 02:38 AM

I have 2 doweling jigs. They are both Dowel-It. The old one could only align one hole at a time. The newer one uses inserts so you can drill 2 holes with one clamping position. It is self centering. I found it time consuming but it always worked very well.


View rustynails's profile


752 posts in 2554 days

#11 posted 09-06-2013 03:00 AM

Hands down the two best are the Dowelmax and Jessem jigs. Just pick one and you will be happy..
I have the Dowelmax that I bought before the Jessem was out and am very happy with it. But today I would buy the Jessem for the price, as I have used both. If price ment nothing it would be a hard decison.

View mbs's profile


1656 posts in 2965 days

#12 posted 09-06-2013 04:56 AM

I’m happy with the Jessem. Except I wish it was adjustable to 1/16”.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Belg1960's profile


1072 posts in 3090 days

#13 posted 09-06-2013 12:19 PM

Wow, this is a surprise posted this a couple of months ago. So it looks like its between the JessEm and Dowelmax for accuracy. The price is up there for sure, has the 1/16” adjustment ever been added to the JessEm unit?? Wish I could see them both in person before pulling the trigger. Will hope when the next woodworking show comes around they’re is a vendor selling them.
Robyn, I wonder how would you accurately use the plunge router to do this? I have a plunge router but need some guidance. Thanks

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View RobynHoodridge's profile


127 posts in 2354 days

#14 posted 09-06-2013 05:48 PM

Well personally i’d do something like :
where a template or ‘story board’ sets the spacing between holes exactly. Moving a doweling jig to multiple points is only as accurate as your measurement (multiplied by how many times you measure), the template promotes consistency. And with the router it can end up looking something like this :
But it’s also an idea even if you’re using the dowel jig :
If you trusted your own aim’s accuracy (and for you the doweling jig is only there to aid in creating perpendicularity) then another way could be to use something like my little invention to help aim the router : Since the router does the perpendicular thing.
If you’re worried about a router teetering on the end of a board when you want to put holes for dowels into that, then i suggest something like the jig i’m preparing a blog entry on right now. I’ll give you a sneak peak of just one of the functions of it :

I’ve found subsequent to designing my jig that festool also has something that will do similar (if you want to buy, not make) :

If you aren’t so worried about teetering, but an automatic centering system is a must, then there’s another option. One or another version of this type of attachment :

Then it’s just a matter of the correct cutter. You probably want one with extra length? And I’d suggest an upward spiral bit. But you probably already have a bit that can do the task. (Read about choosing plunge bits –
Choose the diameter to match the application, or better yet choose your dowels to match the cutter diameter.

-- Never is longer than forever.

View mummykicks's profile


109 posts in 1827 days

#15 posted 09-06-2013 08:06 PM

I just looked at the Jessem. I don’t think you give up anything to the dowelmax with it. I like the fact the screws use a tool to secure things (other than the clamp thumbscrews), as the the dowelmax thumbscrews can come loose after a while. The larger baseplate is probably better for clamping on runs of dowels across large panels as well…

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics