9 Best Doweling Jigs – Don’t Measure Thrice

Isn’t it just annoying when your precious wood splinters whenever you try to drill a hole? You detest that, right? Well, everybody does! But how do you drill accurate holes for your dowels without any damages? Find out below!

Over the years, doweling technology has evolved to become an integral part of woodworking. The technology continues to improve in leaps and bounds, thus making it a hard nut to crack for all the newer joinery seeking to outclass it.

For many workshop technicians and carpenters, doweling remains their most preferred choice for joining and aligning two pieces of wood together. The simplicity, accuracy, and strength that’s what sets it apart from the other joineries.

However, doweling can quickly transform from a simple process to a frustrating and energy-sapping task when applied manually. Why go through the hassle of a less productive drilling task when the best dowel jigs will let you drill a hole with clear-cut precision within a few seconds.

In this article, we have made a comprehensive compilation of the 10 best doweling jigs in the market with a detailed review of their unique features, functions, benefits, and drawbacks. This, we believe, will help you make an informed decision when choosing the best dowels for your woodworking needs.

Overview Table

Before you dole out your hard earned cash on dowel jigs, it is important to know how they compare and contrast with other models in line with your specific requirements. That is why we have made a tabular representation and arrangements of the dowels according to their most essential features and functions.

Editor choice 1 Eagle America 445-7600
10
Eagle America 445-7600
(Best professional workman’s tool)

The Eagle America 445-7600 makes adequate room for two durable bushings to help aid your doweling efficiency on larger and thicker surfaces.

10
2 Milescraft 1311 JointPro
9.9
Milescraft 1311 JointPro
(Best for thicker workpieces)

The Milescraft 1311 JointPro is a great dowel jig that will help you achieve an accurate joining result in most woodworking operations

9.9
3 Woodstock D4116
9.7
Woodstock D4116
(Best for lightweight design)

The Woodstock D4116 boasts of a lightweight design and quality construction that will help maintain accuracy and precision while drilling two identical holes.

9.7
Best value 4 Task’s Premium
9.5
Task’s Premium
(Best dowling jig for quality)

The Task’s Premium offers additional durability and longevity that is difficult to find on other dowel jigs.

9.5
5 Wolfcraft Dowel Pro
9.5
Wolfcraft Dowel Pro
(Best reliable dowling jig)

The Wolfcraft Dowel Pro offers a cost-effective way of drilling with speed and accuracy if you deal less with thicker workpieces.

9.5
6 Dowl It 2500
9
Dowl It 2500
(Best for accuracy and precision)

With the Dowl It 2500 you can rest assured that your workpieces are perfectly aligned as you drill through, and the output will come out clean with 100% accuracy and no damages or scratches at all.

9
Best price 7 Wolfcraft Dowel Quick
8.8
Wolfcraft Dowel Quick
(Best affordable dowel jigs for hobbyists and beginners)

The Wolfcraft Dowel Quick is a basic dowel jig that makes your simple woodworking easy, quick, and accurate.

8.8
8 Dowl-it 1000
8.5
Dowl-it 1000
(Best classic dowel jig with great functionalities)

The Dowl-it 1000 is a solid option for anybody who is looking to lay their hands on a tested-and-trusted jig to make and maintain a seamless joint.

8.5
9 Grizzly G1874
8.5
Grizzly G1874
(Best versatile self-centering dowel jig)

The Grizzly G1874 is a relatively affordable and durable tool that is made for precision and pin-point accuracy. It is perfect for all types of joints including butts and edges.

8.5

1 Editor choice

Eagle America 445-7600 – Best professional workman’s tool

Features

  • Sturdy aluminium and hardened steel body
  • Weighs just 3.2 lbs,
  • Comes with bushings (available in 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch, and 3/8-inch)
  • Replaceable guide holes (to attain maximum safety in the workshop)
  • Anti-slip clamping system
  • Great durability and precision

First on our list is the high-performing Eagle America 445-7600 dowel jig, which yields exceptional drilling and woodworking during complex tasks.

For any dowel jig, the material composition and structure determine the durability of the machine and efficiency of the entire doweling task. Eagle America knew this, and that’s why it endorses the use of the best materials in its doweling jigs. The quality of this dowel, as evidenced by the material composition, is excellent.

Crafted from sturdy aluminium and hardened steel body, Eagle America 445-7600 doweling jig has one of the best combinations of firmness and impact strength. The anodized steel body enhances the jig’s durability and reduces the effect of wear and tear from daily usage.

The tool weighs just 3.2 lbs, which allows for easy movement from one place to another within your workshop.

It comes with bushings that vary in sizes and dimensions for enhanced flexibility and ease of use. The bushing sizes are available in 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch, and 3/8-inch respectively.

This dowel jig also has replaceable bushing guide holes that are easy to assemble and disassemble in one quick move. These guide holes help to attain maximum safety in the workshop by keeping your hands and fingers out of harm’s way while ensuring that your woods are not damaged.

The jig’s powerful anti-slip clamping system ensures a secure and firm grip with the target surface without damaging the material.

The Eagle America 445-7600 uniquely combines great durability and precision in a doweling jig that is perfect for both thin slats of wood and thicker workpieces.

Although it has a considerably smaller number of bushings, this dowel jig makes adequate room for two durable bushings to help aid your doweling efficiency on larger and thicker surfaces.

Positives
  • Simple, accurate, quick, and efficient
  • Anodized aluminum and steel body
  • Appeals to both professional users and beginners
  • Provides users with precise self-centering system
  • Doubles as a mortising guide for a perfect Dowling operation
  • Delivers accurate edge joints, butt and miter points
  • Produces high capacity offset holes very quickly
Negatives
  • Bad quality control during malfunctions
  • Jigs go off-center randomly
  • Might be clumsy during a complicated operation
2

Milescraft 1311 JointPro – Best for thicker workpieces

Features

  • Anodized aluminum
  • Interchangeable hardened steel bushing (allows you to drill up to six same-sized holes simultaneously)
  • Self-clamping mechanism
  • Clamp both boards simultaneously for precise hole alignment

The Milescraft 1311 JointPro is an excellently designed professional dowel jig that takes the stress out of your rigorous doweling tasks and transforms them into enjoyable operations.

Crafted from anodized aluminum, the Milescraft 1311 is a long-lasting dowel jig that will stand the test of time even in the harshest working conditions. It is equipped with an interchangeable hardened steel bushing that allows you to drill up to six same-sized holes simultaneously without compromising the quality.

This tool uses a self-clamping mechanism that offers a great clamping power that automatically initiates itself when necessary. However, as intuitive as this feature is, it isn’t without its own disadvantages. The auto-clamp feature exposes you to some drilling and woodworking hazards, which means you have to be extremely careful while using it.

Another notable feature of this jig is the three different-sized holes with varying parameters that will accommodate your materials and keep them firmly in place. These holes double as the jig’s integrated imbalance control as they let you assemble your loads on the highway and keep them in a steady position.

This is mostly useful for saving time and money when you are dealing with many workpieces and you have to drill for a very long time.

Milescraft 1311 JointPro is a great dowel jig that will help you achieve an accurate joining result in most woodworking operations. Its simplicity and accuracy make it an excellent choice for the beginners, while the strong clamping ability will appeal to professionals who are keen on getting the perfect hole alignment.

Positives
  • Durable, versatile and easy to use for large dowel joints
  • Offers impressive clamping power for enhanced stability
  • It allows you to simultaneously clamp both sides of your working board without stress
  • It delivers excellent accuracy and precision in most woodworking tasks
  • It helps you achieve stronger joints quickly and efficiently
Negatives
  • Strong clamping may cause visible marking on the surface of your working board
  • Sometimes, you may need to turn the tool for proper alignment
  • Self-clamping mechanism requires great care and attention while in use, otherwise could lead to accidents
3

Woodstock D4116 – Best for lightweight design

Features

  • Compact and portable design
  • 6 steel bushings
  • Holes measure 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, and 1/2 ″
  • Lightweight
  • Handles stock up to 2-Inch thick

Truth be told, nobody likes the idea of a bulky dowel jig weighing down their hands as they go up and down their workshop. Woodstock considered this while making this jig as it is completely amazing in its engineering and execution. It is made of genuine steel and aluminum components that aid durability and longevity.

Weighing just 2.5 lbs, this Woodstock jig has a compact and portable design that allows you to work on thinner wood materials as long as it falls within the jig’s 2-inch radius. The tool’s enhanced portability also allows you to carry it along with you in your workshop without overworking your hand’s muscles.

Woodstock D4116 Doweling Jig comes with a unique and significant self-centering feature that allows you to match the holes on two different workpieces. When drilling, the jig positions itself at the center of the workpiece to prevent misalignment.

It has six steel bushings that allow you to automatically drill two parallel holes on the sane workpiece without touching the jig.

As a woodworker who is looking for a dowel jig that allows to make the perfect drill holes, this Woodstock jig will not disappoint you. It features five holes of different width measurements to aid versatility. The holes measure 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, and 1/2 ″ respectively, and are perfect for round or square workpieces.

Woodstock D4116 Doweling Jig boasts of a lightweight design and quality construction that will help maintain accuracy and precision while drilling two identical holes.

While it’s not particularly built for thicker wood pieces, this jig is perfect for handling thinner wood pieces and making frames.

Positives
  • Compact design
  • High-quality aluminum and steel components ensure you enjoy your jig for as long as possible.
  • Allows you to drill through thin and fragile wood pieces without splintering
  • Ensures pin-point accuracy and alignment with its self-centering feature.
  • Best suited for making and aligning frames
Negatives
  • Not recommended for large scale applications because of its small 2-inch working area
  • Holes may end up off-balance once in a while
  • May require lubrication to remove stuck pieces
4 Best value

Task’s Premium – Best dowling jig for quality

Features

  • Aircraft-grade aluminum components
  • Offers additional durability and longevity
  • Coated with steel to prevent corrosion
  • Automatic self-centering mechanism
  • Provides with great precision and accuracy
  • Traditional clamping system
  • 3 available bushing sizes which measure 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch, and 3/8 inch

If you are looking for a dowel jig that offers exceptional features with high-quality performance, Premium Doweling Jig is the way to go.

From the jig’s construction to the build quality, it is evident that Task left no stone unturned to ensure the jig is made up of the best components that will deliver excellent doweling tasks.

Made of aircraft-grade aluminum components, Premium Doweling Jig offers additional durability and longevity that is difficult to find on other dowel jigs.

As if that wasn’t enough, the jig is further coated with steel to prevent corrosion and preserve its pristine look for many years.

When it comes to features and capabilities, Task’s premium jig leaves nothing to be desired. It comes with a patented automatic self-centering mechanism that provides you with great precision and accuracy in drilling. With a large 2-3/8 capacity, this jig offers perfect center drills with automatic alignment even on a spherical surface.

Premium Jig favors a traditional clamping system with a center block that includes many top-level bushing sizes for commercial application. Overall, there are three available bushing sizes which measure 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch, and 3/8 inch respectively.

The bushing guide is another notable feature of the Task’s premium jig. It combines with the precision guide holes to maintain 100% accuracy every time you try.

When it comes to versatility, usability, and great functionality, Task’s Premium dowel jig is definitely in a world of its own.

Its precision and accuracy is unrivalled and will handle all your large scale woodworking operations swiftly and efficiently.

Positives
  • Strong, durable and easy to use
  • Automatic self-centering action saves you the stress of rigorous doweling tasks.
  • Comes with accurate drill guides that help prevent misalignment
  • Wide space and capacity to accommodate your bigger workpieces
  • Suitable for commercial and large scale applications
  • Rust-resistant steel coating
  • Great value for money
Negatives
  • Bulky and heavyweight
  • May eat up your storage space due to its large size
5

Wolfcraft Dowel Pro – Best reliable dowling jig

Features

  • Cost-effective
  • Perfect for making T-joints and edge-to-corner joints
  • Made of durable aluminum components
  • Compact stress-resistant design
  • Solid hardened steel construction
  • 3 bushings for precision and speed when drilling holes
  • Handles any wood materials from 1/2-inch-to-1-1/4-inch thickness
  • 9 different pre-aligned hole guides
  • Innovative clamp system

As a top manufacturer and supplier of innovative tools and equipment, Wolfcraft believes in making high-quality tools at a budget-friendly rate, and that is evidenced in their Pro Doweling Jig Kit.

The jig provides users with a lot of exceptional features and functionalities that are perfect for making T-joints and edge-to-corner joints.

Made of durable aluminum components, Pro Doweling Jig Kit has a compact design that’s very strong and stress-resistant. For enhanced durability and versatility, the jig’s bushings are made of solid hardened steel construction, which means you get to use the tool for many years.

These bushings guarantee precision and speed when drilling holes and will handle any wood materials from 1/2-inch-to-1-1/4-inch thickness.

Wolfcraft’s Pro Doweling Jig Kit offers nine different pre-aligned hole guides that totally eradicate the stressful method of manually measuring and marking the holes before drilling. These holes guides work together with the jig’s innovative clamp system to ensure alignment while you drill the boards simultaneously.

Overall, Wolfcraft’s Pro Doweling Jig offers a cost-effective way of drilling with speed and accuracy if you deal less with thicker workpieces.

Positives
  • It is durable, affordable and cost-effective
  • 5-year warranty
  • Extremely lightweigh
  • ​Provides solid alignment for any doweling task
  • Comes with many Pre-aligned hole guides and dowel pins for precise drilling and ease of use
Negatives
  • Slippery depth collar may affect precision
  • Clamping system not suitable for thinner workpieces
6

Dowl It 2500 – Best for accuracy and precision

Features

  • Self-centering system (for precise drilling)
  • Weight: 2.65 pounds
  • Clear steel construction
  • 6 removable and replaceable bushings with sizes 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch and 3/8-inch
  • High-performing aluminum sides

For any dowel jig, accuracy and precision are the foundation of a successful drilling task, and that is exactly what this jig is all about. It features a self-centering system that offers accurate positioning for precise drilling.

Weighing just 2.65 pounds, Dowl It 2500 Dowel jig has a clear steel construction that guarantees great durability and longevity. It also has a removable and replaceable bushing guide holes. Talking about the bushing guide holes, the tool comes with four different tapped holes for enhanced usability and efficiency when replacing the bushing.

The jig’s steel-coated drill guides allow you to undertake complex woodworking tasks with excellent output.

It doesn’t end there. You can harness the benefit of the jig’s accurate dimensions to get the best drilling result even on difficult surfaces. The dimensions come with pre-aligned guides that allow you to drill boards and join them simultaneously.

Additionally, there are six removable bushings with sizes 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch and 3/8-inch respectively.

At a time when many self-centering dowel jigs cannot boast of high-performing aluminum sides, Dowl It 2500 really delivers an outstanding performance in that area.

Thanks to the tool’s rugged aluminum sides. You can rest assured that your workpieces are perfectly aligned as you drill through, and the output will come out clean with 100% accuracy and no damages or scratches at all.

Positives
  • Replaceable bushing guides
  • Precision-enhancing center blocks
  • Four tapped holes for replaceable bushings
  • Lightweight and portable for easy maneuverability.
  • ​Delivers top-notch accuracy and precision
  • Recommended for both small scale and heavy-duty applications
Negatives
  • The clamp requires too much tightening
7 Best price

Wolfcraft Dowel Quick – Best affordable dowel jigs for hobbyists and beginners

Features

  • Pocket-friendly dowel jig
  • Perfect for DIY’ers or hobbyists
  • Quick enough for simple woodworking tasks
  • High-impact plastic
  • 3 industry-standard steel-coated bushing sizes
  • 4 centering pins

For a brand that is committed to delivering affordable, high-quality tools with spectacular features, Wolfcraft stays true to its word again with this doweling jig.

The Wolfcraft 4641404 Quick Doweling Jig is a pocket-friendly dowel jig that is perfect for DIY’ers or hobbyists who are looking for drill joint on a semi-professional level.

It may lack some advanced-level features of some Premium dowel jigs, yet it is accurate and quick enough for simple woodworking tasks.

Crafted from high-impact plastic, this tool comes with 3 industry-standard steel-coated bushing sizes that are durable and very efficient. For precise drilling, it offers four centering pins that can be applied and adjusted based on the thickness of the material. These pins help to indicate your drilling point and prevent you from drilling on the wrong spot.

Lastly, there is also a plastic fence guide that helps to adjust the jig’s distance and makes edge-to-edge and edge-to-corner joints a seamless task.

Forget the plastic material construction! Wolfcraft 4641404 Dowel Quick Doweling Jig boasts of an impact-resistant design that reinforces the plastic build and provides additional longevity. It’s a basic dowel jig that makes your simple woodworking easy, quick, and accurate.

Positives
  • Very affordable and cost-effective
  • Super lightweight at only 0.6 pounds
  • Efficient working mechanism that saves time and energy
  • Steel-coated drill bushings aid precision and durability
  • Front-to-back depth adjustments
  • The most lightweight model
  • Self-centering system and versatile bushing guides to prevent misalignment
Negatives
  • Plastic build may reduce durability
  • Screws often strip out when tightening
  • Not recommended for rigorous and tasks
8

Dowl-it 1000 – Best classic dowel jig with great functionalities

Features

  • Jig’s steel and sturdy aluminum sides are resistant to corrosion
  • Comes with hardened steel center blocks with a big steel-coated clamping screw
  • Self-centering mechanism
  • 6 permanent drill hole sizes  3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, and 1/2–inch each
  • Lacks bushing

Do you want to talk about the “golden oldie” of dowel jigs? Then you’ve got to talk about the Dowl-it 1000 Doweling Jig from Rockler. This tool is a solid option for anybody who is looking to lay their hands on a tested-and-trusted jig to make and maintain a seamless joint.

It retains a half-a-century old design of the original doweling jig that focuses majorly on easy and great usability. The jig’s steel and sturdy aluminum sides are resistant to corrosion. For durability and precision drilling, the tool comes with hardened steel center blocks with a big steel-coated clamping screw for tightening and firm positioning.

The self-centering mechanism allows you to work on various materials and can handle any workpieces that aren’t thicker than two inches. It is equipped with six permanent drill hole sizes  3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, and 1/2–inch each. While it may be suitable for some rigorous woodworking task, this model lacks bushing. This means you can only drill one hole of each size at the same time, something that will not go down well with many woodworkers and DIY-ers.

If you have a thing for high-quality classic jigs, then Dowl-it 1000 Self-centering Doweling Jig is your best bet.

Sporting a design that has stood the test of time, this tool offers great self-centering operation that works on both square and round surfaces.

Positives
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Classic design that appeals to beginners and hobbyists
  • Can handle some heavy duty task as well
  • Rugged aluminum sides will keep your work intact
Negatives
  • Non-removable bushing guides
9

Grizzly G1874 – Best versatile self-centering dowel jig

Features

  • Self-centering dowel jig
  • Solid aluminum construction
  • Hardened steel bushing
  • Works well with all kinds of shapes up to 3/8” inch in size
  • All available five guide holes
  • Adjustable clamp system

Grizzly products are popular among woodworkers and furniture makers for their originality and high-performance, and Grizzly G1874 is no exception. It is a self-centering dowel jig that is versatile, reliable and adaptable.

Grizzly G1874 Improved Dowel Jig boasts of solid aluminum construction and hardened steel bushing that aids durability and reduces the effect of wear and tear.

The jig’s working area allows wood as thick as two inches, and works well with all kinds of shapes up to 3/8” inch in size.

All available five guide holes come with varying hole sizes that can be used in different woodworking applications.

As a self-centering dowel jig, Grizzly G1874 helps to ensure accurate alignment of your workpieces by positioning itself to fit the parts together. It has an adjustable clamp system that is easy to use and can drill two similar holes with same dimensions all together without touching a thing.

Just as you already know, there’s no such thing as a perfect tool. One area we think Grizzly G1874 could be better is the working mechanism. The working mechanism may go awry at times and results in off-center holes.

Still, it is a great doweling jig from a reputable company. Grizzly G1874 Improved Dowel Jig is a relatively affordable and durable tool that is made for precision and pin-point accuracy. It is perfect for all types of joints including butts and edges.

Positives
  • Sturdy aluminum construction for enhanced durability
  • Easy to use and control
  • Steel-plated bushings
  • ​Can be used for multiple woodworking operations
  • Impressive self-clamping features
  • Great value for money
Negatives
  • Minor alignment problems may occur
  • Not recommended for a beginner

Buying Guide

How To Buy The Best Woodwork Doweling Jig

By now, we hope our reviews have given you some tips on what to look for when shopping for a dowel jig. Nonetheless, we aim to take it a step further to ensure you only buy the best dowel jig for your woodworks. Besides, you still might have some questions regarding the various aspects to consider when purchasing a wood doweling jig.

So, here is the catch: when purchasing a doweling jig, make sure you get a model that is compatible with your needs. It is simple! Just make sure your selection is based on the following fundamental factors:

  • The intended purpose
  • The type of dowel jig
  • The bushing size of the dowel jig
  • Self-centering
  • The bushing material
  • The clamping capacity
  • The versatility
  • The accuracy
  • Usability, and of course,
  • Price & quality ratio

Below is a more detailed explanation of the main points of consideration.

10 Fundamental Principles Of Picking A Doweling Jig

The Intended Purpose

Generally, the first and most crucial aspect to consider when selecting a dowel jig is what purpose and need you wish to achieve with it.  Why are you buying the dowel jig? Do you intend drilling or making sharp edges? Are you planning to work on a plane alone? You need to answer these questions because not all doweling jigs are the same in size and drilling capacity. You need to buy the one that will satisfy your purpose and drilling needs.

For example, the majority of the doweling jigs sold in the market have more than one bushing size. So, even if you have no knowledge of working with dowels that exceed a particular size, you don’t need to spend extra or pick a bigger model that has multiple bushings.

Moreover, defining your needs will also help you to select the right type of doweling jig that will satisfy your woodwork expectations.

Know The Types Of Doweling Jigs

There are three main types of doweling jigs available for sale. They are:

  • The Basic doweling jigs
  • The intermediate doweling jigs
  • The advanced or premium dowel jigs.

The basic dowel jigs:  this is the most common and simplest dowel jig in the market. These jigs are designed for apprentices and beginners who are yet to master the art of using advanced dowel jigs.

Basic dowel jigs are very easy to understand and much safer to use compared to other dowel jigs.  If you have never for once used a dowel jig, consider buying a basic model like the Milescraft 5342 Drill Stop Set.

The intermediate dowel jigs:  these “middle class” dowel jigs are used by both beginners and advanced woodworkers.  While such dowel jigs are very comprehensive in structure, they are less complicated in their operations.

Intermediate dowel jigs are best for less daunting woodworking tasks, user-friendly while allowing you to develop your craft in doweling. These types of doweling jigs come with instructions for users, together with safety precautions recommended for you to follow.

Advanced or premium doweling jigs:  as the name imply, these dowel jigs are exclusively for professional use. Woodworkers who have mastered the art of doweling use them daily for obvious reasons.  These doweling jigs, though complex, allow users to undertake advanced woodworking activities. Their structure and advanced designs simplify the whole woodworking process while guaranteeing ultimate safety when working with them.

The Bushing Size Of The Dowel Jig

It is very crucial that you consider the bushing size of your dowel jig before you buy it.

The bushing size of any dowel jig determines the hole-size you will drill with it. Therefore, it is wise to ensure that you get a model whose size supports whatever project you plan to undertake.

Remember that the greater the size of the dowel, the bigger it becomes.

Standard bushing sizes in dowel jigs range between 1/ 2 inches, 3/16 inches, 1/4 inches, 3/8 inches, 5/16 inches, and 7/16 inches.

Assuming you only work with one particular bushing size (as in furniture making), then you do not need additional sizes. The main advantage of using a dowel jig with 1 bushing size is that it is usually easier to manipulate—thanks to its small size.

However, if you are not sure of the various tasks you could face in the future, you might consider investing in a dowel jig that has multiple bushing sizes, so you can move quickly between tasks while saving you the cost of investing in a new model.

The good thing is that most doweling jigs come with three different sizes, which should suffice in most woodworking tasks. However, if you are going to be working with extra-small or extra-large pieces, then be ready to invest in models that support such designs.

Self-centering

Self-centering is another essential fundamental aspect you must consider when selecting your dowel jig. It entails the ability of a dowel jig to align well and center itself on workpieces. You don’t need to initiate the alignment.

If you aim to get a robust, flush and good-looking alignment, you need to get your dowels centered. That is what self-centering entails.

If your dowels are not centered, you run the risk of losing a flush connection or getting the wood splitter, which means you have to undo your arrangement and sand down the edges. Worst still, you may have to redo the whole pieces altogether, which can prove to be a time-consuming and expensive mistake. To avoid such errors, make sure you invest in a dowel jig that has the potential to center itself for quick and effortless tasks.

Many of the dowel jigs in the market advertise themselves as “self-centering.” What this means, in essence, is that they make use of a single screw in drawing both sides of the dowel jig toward the board as the user tightens it. Practically, this should allow to make a perfectly centered hole. Unfortunately, a few problems can possibly hamper this process.

For instance, any manufacturing flaws that impact the thickness level of the two sides can push them to contact the wood at an odd angle, which effectively throws off the alignment.

While almost all dowel jigs come as “self-centering,” you still need to do more research because the ability of a dowel jig to achieve self-centering varies from one jig to another.

Consider The Bushing Material

The material from which your dowel jig is made matters. Aluminum is one of the most common materials used in making doweling jigs. Many users favor the aluminum design because of its low weight and inherent strength. These further make it flexible and easy to attach to woods.

That said, aluminum dowel jigs have a fundamental flaw. The aluminum surface is generally untreated, which exposes it to corrosion and rust. While it is possible to treat the surface to resolve this vulnerability, most producers have the mindset that consumers would instead choose to save money than spend on a dowel jig capable of resisting corrosion forever.

So, this brings us to two options. You can either decide to purchase an untreated aluminum dowel jig, which you will have to cater for extremely to prevent rust or corrosion. On the other hand, you can decide to spend additional money and purchase a steel-plated dowel jig.

The good thing with steel is that it is highly resistant to corrosion and rust, compared to aluminum, but it costs much than its aluminum counterpart. Also, it is heavier in weight, making it a less portable material with the entire doweling jig. But, if you are interested in durability and value, you wouldn’t mind investing a bit more on steel-plated dowel jig.

Verify The Clamping Capacity

Never invest your money in a doweling jig without ascertaining its clamping abilities. Clamping capacity means the ability of a dowel jig to hold and sustain items and loads firmly.

All dowel jigs have their respective clamping abilities. To get the appropriate clamping capacity, see what reviews are saying about the product. What is the alignment range of the dowel jig? Are the clamping mechanisms sufficient and equal to the intended task? Once you can satisfy these questions, you should be able to get a good quality dowel jig that clamps perfectly.

Go For Versatility

If you are a professional in doweling, you will appreciate the need to have a versatile doweling jig.

A versatile doweling jig will allow you to perform different tasks quickly while saving money that you would otherwise have spent in purchasing other jigs. To determine how versatile a dowel jig would be, you need to consider two main factors:

  • The number of connections the dowel jig can create,
  • The capacity it can hold.

Doweling jigs that have large capacities are usually those in the range of 6 inches or more. Such capacity gives you the ability to do projects that other woodworkers can only dream of.

Other versatile options are those in the range of 2-1/2 inches, which, however, means you will have to go for something bigger if you plan to put dowels in 3 or more inches in diameter.

The connections that the dowel jig can make are also an essential consideration in determining their versatility. The three most popular types of connections are edge-to-surface, edge-to-edge, and edge-to-corner connections. Take note that not all models support such connections.

Check Out The Accuracy

While accuracy is one less-talk-about feature in a doweling jig, self-centering depends on it. For instance, if your bushing holes are drilled wrong, you might end up feeling severely disappointed. You may never be able to insert your bushings, which can cause you a lot of pain (although it is possible you can drill them to be more significant by using a drill press). You don’t have to experience such inconveniences provided you are spending a considerable amount of cash on your dowel jig.

It is even worse when the opposite is the case. If you can insert your bushings but they appear too loose, it becomes practically difficult to get precise dowel holes. Even little gaps can also create serious problems, so make sure that you purchase a doweling jig that has no such shortcomings.

Another possible problem that can deny you accuracy is having bushings that are adequately loose to fit, but appear too tight for smooth operations. In that case, the bushing’s head may break off, or the bushing will end up being stuck, leaving you with a damaged bushing and a condemned jig.

Seriously consider the accuracy of your dowel jig to avoid such possible misfortune.

Focus On Usability

It is pointless if you buy a product that you cannot use. A dowel jig is a simple tool. While it does look intimidating, you should find it user-friendly from the moment you start using it.

However, since there are different types of doweling jigs, it is ideal that you select a model that will be easy for you to use.

That is, if you are a beginner artisan, go for a model that suits your skill level. Avoid buying an overly complicated model that appears to do too many things but end up achieving little.

Check if the clamp system in the model you want to buy is easy to use. Does it have a self-centering system and metal reinforced bushing to handle your drill bit? Once all these factors are in place, you should have a smooth ride using your dowel jig.

Price vs. Quality

Remember that price is not always the best determinant when it comes to ascertaining quality. Therefore, when preparing to make that final purchase decision, try to draw a comparison and distinction between the price and the capacity/functionality of the dowel jig. If the price and quality analysis impresses you, then hit the purchase button.

A basic dowel jig ranges from $20-$40, and they usually have holes for various drills, but with no bushings.

Standard quality dowel jigs with bolted threaded-hole bushings cost $50-$60, which you can use drill hole without moving the dowel jig. Dowel jigs with four threaded hole bushings cost $50-$75. Dowel jigs that support more capacity range $60-$90 in price, and they can support up to 6-inches of or more materials.

Final thought

Buying the best dowel jig don’t have to be rocket science. From what we have covered so far, you can easily find a model that meets your needs. Always remember that there are different types of dowel jigs, and knowing this will enable you to buy one that would be perfect for your skill level. Again, don’t forget to consider the task you have at hand and always refer back to our reviews and buyer’s guide, so you don’t miss out on anything when buying your dowel jig.

If you have a question or a better suggestion, let us know in the comment section below.

Thanks, and happy shopping.

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