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Thread: Where can I buy a 5/8" doweling jig?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Where can I buy a 5/8" doweling jig?

    I continually see 5/8" dowels used in commercial man doors, both interior and exterior. I just cut down an interior door that is about 90 years old and the joints were as good as new. I've been using 5/8" loose tenons and cut the mortises required for them with my slot mortiser. That works fine, but takes a lot longer than it would to drill a few dowel holes.

    I can't find a dowel jig that uses anything larger than 1/2" dowels. That might actually be large enough but if I can find one with a 5/8" bushing that would be my preference. Also, I would like a jig that references off one face, not a self centering jig. This JessEm jig looks to be just what I'm looking for if it only had a 5/8" bushing option.

    Does anyone know of a source of a 5/8" jig like I'm looking for? Any other options and/or comments relative to this task are appreciated as well.

    John

  2. #2
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    Jun 2008
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    One machine thatís Iíve seen that comes to mind is Davis and Wells Horizontal Borer. I asked about one from the fellow I bought my jointer from. He said it would never be for sale.
    Ive heard they do that one thing very well.
    Good luck
    Aj

  3. #3
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    Too bad the Jessem jig only goes to 1/2", John. It's a great tool. Any chance you could use two 1/2" dowels side by side instead of one 5/8"? The spacing/registration transfers easily and accurately from one board to another.

  4. #4
    The Dowl-It Model 1500 goes up to 3/4" and includes a 5/8" hole:

    https://www.dowl-it.com/4

  5. Not dowels but I would recommend the festool domino 700. I've used been using it with doors for over a year and I'm very happy with it

  6. #6
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    Thanks Andrew. A horizontal borer isn't much different than my mortiser. I think the portable nature of a dowel jig has an advantage when handling large door frame members; bring the tool to the work. Of course, I could spend $1500 and buy a Domino but that ain't going to happen.

    Nick, I agree. The JessEm jig looks just about perfect for my needs. I'm not sure if I could use 1/2" dowels off center. Maybe, but I'm concerned about making that approach work with cope and stick joinery. And if I have to use a lot more dowels at some point I might better just stick with loose tenons.

    Thanks William. The Dowl-It jig is the self centering style. That could work but I'd rather have a jig that references off a common face. Still an option though.

    John

  7. #7
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    Thanks. As great as it would be to have a Domino, I don't want to spend that kind of money.

    John

  8. #8
    John,

    For what you are describing, I would consider just making my own dowel jig for the purpose. Lee Valley sells hardened drill guide bushings and inserts for threading and un-threading them from the jig. Unfortunately Lee Valley's offerings only go up to 3/8" in size. So for your needs, I would look for 5/8" drill guide bushings for use in your jig. Here is a link to one source: https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/07140254

    I am a big fan of dowel joinery and own and recommend the Jessem jig. This said, I often end up making a dowel jig for the project at hand if the design of the Jessem does not lend itself to what I need. I only spring for the bushings if the jig will be used a lot, otherwise it gets made at the drill press and used carefully to avoid degrading the holes. The Jessem is fantastically adjustable, but a shop made jig can be somewhat adjustable if necessary through the use of spacers and shims. Here is a video of a craftsman that demonstrates shop made doweling jigs that might be useful to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4YaHDDKbYE&t=0s

    I would add that this approach will save you some money versus buying a commercial jig or gadget.

    Now having said all this, for a contradictory thought, you could abandon the 5/8" dowel idea, and use the Jessem technique of multiple rows of 1/2" or 3/8" dowels. I think their indexing system which allows rows of staggered dowels is very strong and easy to do. If you haven't seen the video already, see what I am talking about in Jessem's product video on the 08350 jig https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3tE61O0zzk

    I cannot imagine one of these joints failing, even if it were the fraternity's front door from Animal House.

    I hope some or all of this helps you,

    Edwin

  9. #9
    Mcmaster-Carr has .625 drill guides of many various sorts.... perhaps you can make your own doweling jig with their products.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Edwin for taking the time to offer your suggestions and those links. I have considered builidng my own jig, or designing one and having a local machine shop make it for me, and will likely do so if I can't find a commercial unit. Another option might be to buy the JessEm and replace the bushings with 5/8" ones or build a 5/8" kit for it.

    John

  11. #11
    When a shop did not have real door making stuff I glued up doors with biscuits . Then drilled and added the dowels which
    had been driven thru a thick plate with chamfered holes. Mixed just a little water with the Titebond 2. The dowels would
    swell and hold well. A lot of those doors were 2 and 1/4 thick. We never had a failure or a complaint about the dowel ends
    showing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
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    I built over 30 doors with 1/2 dowels (32 in each door) and drilling those many holes wasnt easy on my wrists.
    (i know with glued plywood panels I could use much less but...)
    If you make doors buying Featool is worth it over time. I have it now and qish had bought when making those doors. So much faster and easier.
    If you are really set on 5/8 dowels make your own jig. Its simple and works great with some good quality bushings.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    Thanks. As great as it would be to have a Domino, I don't want to spend that kind of money.
    Since you do quite a bit of door work as evidenced by your work displayed here, I suspect a Domino 700XL would pay for itself pretty quickly in time and level of effort. The 14mm x 140mm tenons are really great for both building new and for repairs like you describe. I've already done a few doors as well as some furniture things and I'm uber-impressed with the system. I'm really sad I waited so long to acquire mine! But yes, the initial investment is what it is...

    If you cannot find a commercial doweling jig, it probably wouldn't be that difficult to make one up using some hardwood and plywood that would allow you to register a hole to one face of the door and a positioning line as well as provide enough thickness to guide the drill bit straight and perpendicular to the face you're drilling.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    Seems like an easy job for your Horizontal boring machine to build an app-specific jig into which you can drop a couple 5/8"'s bushings.

  15. #15
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    John,

    Add a spacer to one side of a Dowel-It jig and it will off center the holes by whatever you want. I've used a spacer and a piece of double sided tape to keep it attached to the jig and it has worked very well for me. I wasn't doing 5/8" dowels, but that shouldn't matter.

    Charley

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