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Thread: Shelf Pin Jig

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Coastal Southern Maine

    Shelf Pin Jig

    I don't do many projects with adjustable shelves but I just finished two bookcases & a cabinet with multiple adjustable shelves.

    After I completed the first bookcase I noticed that the shelves rocked a bit. When I investigated I found that the holes were not equidistant from top of jig and bottom of the jig. There are also a couple of holes that don't have equal spacing between them. Basically the jig is useless.

    Looking to get a new, accurate jig. I don't have any Festool products so the LR-32 system is out. I like to use a router to make the holes rather than a drill. I find that I get cleaner holes.

    Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Lebanon, TN
    I've used the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig with success and accuracy. Good jig and cheap.

  3. #3
    The one from Woodpeckers works great.
    And, agree: the router is the way to go for clean holes.

  4. #4
    There's an article here on the creek that discusses some options:

    It's a bit old so there may be some newer choices.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  5. #5
    I build my own, in either 32MM, or 1" OC holes. Jig uses plunge router, with either 5mm, or 1/4" bit. First ones were built using a Bridgeport, with DRO to drill holes, Not everybody has a neighbor with a Bridgeport, so I figured how to make jig using "off the shelf parts."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Hiawassee, GA
    I will second the one from Woodpeckers. I used it again yesterday on some cabinets I am making for my den. It is simple to use and seems more secure than the one I used to use from Rockler. You can set it using a either set of three indexing pins (one set for 32mm and the other for Imperial at three different distances from the board’s edge).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I've been using one from Woodhaven for twenty years. It works well. Unlike the OP's template, this one has all the holes exactly where you'd think they should be. Do use a plunge router -- a hundred times better than a drill.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Los Angeles, California
    Veritas is the one I use, which uses a drill which is way easier than a router. Just use a good brad point drill bit. The advantage of the Veritas jig over Rockler and Woodhaven is that the jig uses case hardened steel bushings, rather than a piece of plastic or sheet metal with holes in it. The bushings, if necessary can be switched out to different sizes or replaces if one ever damages the bushing, which is highly unlikely. Like other Veritas tools, they are expensive.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Manistique, Michigan
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA Edwards View Post
    I've used the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig with success and accuracy. Good jig and cheap.
    +1 on the Kreg jig.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Tippecanoe County, IN
    A high accuracy jig is not required if it can be used in a manner that results in mirror image hole locations in the panels. That is, always register from the same edges and flip the jig, using opposite faces for left and right panels.

    Here's a jig I made that should make that clearer since it must be used that way:


    The extra holes are for shelves that aren't full depth and leave room for taller items in front. The jig has obvious top, bottom, front, and back edges. One face is used for left side panels and then the jig is flipped to drill the right side using the opposite jig face.

    For a simpler jig just mark top and front edges, for example, on both the jig and panels and maintain consistent registration. It also helps to mark the panel faces left and right on the surface that's to be drilled.

    Jig holes are drilled with a Forstner bit and drill press, pin holes with a plunge router.
    Beranek's Law:

    It has been remarked that if one selects his own components, builds his own enclosure, and is convinced he has made a wise choice of design, then his own loudspeaker sounds better to him than does anyone else's loudspeaker. In this case, the frequency response of the loudspeaker seems to play only a minor part in forming a person's opinion.
    L.L. Beranek, Acoustics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954), p.208.

  11. #11
    I've used this Rockler one a lot. Works great, reasonable price, and it's good for when you realize you didn't make the holes even after assembly.

  12. #12
    Any of the commercial jigs will work.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    For one time or very infrequent use, there are a number of less expensive products from places like Rockler. Be sure you have/get the necessary tooling that matches the jig. Personally, I built a wood version of the expensive MEG jig from Norm Abram's plans years ago. It uses a router with a guide bushing to drill the holes precisely and has some nice adjustability. I honestly don't use it very much but when I do, the results are precise as expected.

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

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    I bought the Veritas jig decades ago for a big project, it's worked perfectly for me ever since. For one-time use I'd make a template using a piece of plywood and drilling carefully-- drill only one set of holes and flip it over to cut the left and right sides, registering it to the top or bottom of the panel so that small inaccuracies won't result in rocking shelves.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Before I got a line boring machine I just used a section of pegboard and a router to bore the pin holes. The pegboard was nice in that you could do a 8' section of holes in one setup.

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