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Doweling is the easiest way to join two pieces of wood together. Yet, the accuracy required in aligning drills for this purpose is not easily attainable. This is where dowel jigs come in handy. These power tools let you drill straight holes perfectly with incredible precision while ensuring you get the perfect fit for your woodworking projects.
The main features to look out for while shopping for a good dowel jig include self-centering, multiple bushing sizes, and low learning curve. If you are searching for a high-quality jig, our detailed review features some top models that will transform the way you create dowels.
- Our Dowel Jig Reviews
- Best Overall Dowel Jig: Eagle America 445-7600
- Best Dowel Jig for the Money: Grizzly Industrial G1874
- Best Cheap Dowel Jig: Wolfcraft 4641404
- Best Self Centered Dowel Jig: Dowl-it 1000
- Best Kit for Dowel Jig: Wolfcraft 3751405
- Dowel Jig Features and Considerations
- Wrap Up
Our Dowel Jig Reviews
Best Overall Dowel Jig: Eagle America 445-7600
The Eagle America 445-7600 is a high-performing dowel jig that delivers exceptional drilling during complex tasks. Crafted from hardened steel body and robust aluminum, the jig boasts of the best combinations of impact strength and firmness.
The anodized steel body minimizes the effect of wear and tear while enhancing the jig’s durability. The model weighs 3.2 pounds to allow for easy transportation from one job site to another. The 445-7600 dowel jig comes with bushings of different dimensions and sizes for ease of use and enhanced flexibility.
The bushing sizes range from ¼ inches, 3/8 inches, and 5/16 inches. This model also comes with replaceable bushing guide holes that you can easily disassemble and assemble quickly in one move. The guide holes will ensure you don’t damage your wood pieces while preventing your fingers and hands from injuries.
The jig has a robust anti-slip clamping mechanism that ensures the target surface enjoys a firm and secure grip without damaging the material. The Eagle America model combines precision and durability in a jig that is ideal for thicker workpieces and thin slats of wood.
Although the model has a smaller number of bushings, it creates enough room for two bushings to enhance your doweling efficiency on thicker and large surfaces.
What We Like
- Delivers precise miter, butt and edge joints
- Provides accurate self-centering system
- Produces high capacity offset holes
- Ideal for beginner and professional users
- Anodized aluminum components
- Doubles as a mortising guide
- Sturdy hardened steel guides
What We Don’t Like
- Sometimes the jig may not be centered properly
- The jig handles material from 1/4-inch to 6-inch thick
- Dowling made easy
- It has precision
Best Dowel Jig for the Money: Grizzly Industrial G1874
Grizzly products are common among furniture makers and woodworkers due to their impressive performance and originality, and the Grizzly G1874 dowel jig doesn’t disappoint. It’s a self-centering model that is reliable and versatile.
The jig features hardened steel bushing and a solid aluminum construction that minimizes the effect of wear and tear while enhancing durability. Its working area accepts wood pieces measuring two inches in thickness and works well with different types of shapes that measure up to 3/8 inches in size.
All the available five guide holes have different hole sizes that you can use in a range of woodworking applications. The Grizzly dowel jig ensures precise alignment of your materials by positioning itself to fit the workpieces together since it’s a self-centering model.
The model also comes with an easy to use adjustable clamp system that can drill two holes with similar dimensions without touching a thing. However, one area that needs improvement is the working mechanism that can go awry at times resulting in inaccurate holes.
Despite this minor issue, the G1874 dowel jig is a durable model designed for precision. It’s also suitable for different types of joints, including edges and butts.
What We Like
- Suitable for a range of woodworking operations
- Robust aluminum construction for maximum durability
- Ability to drill two holes of similar size
- Included six hardened steel bushings
- Lightweight and compact design
- Self-clamping features
What We Don’t Like
- Minor alignment issues can occur
- Unsuitable for beginners
- A bit expensive
- Automatically centers itself on round square or irregular shapes handles stock up to 2-Inch thick...
- Handles stock up to 2-Inch thick
- Drill-hole sizes are 1/4-Inch 5/16-Inch 3/8-Inch 7/16-Inch and 1/2-Inch
Best Cheap Dowel Jig: Wolfcraft 4641404
Wolfcraft is a company that delivers inexpensive, high-quality models with impressive features. The Wolfcraft 4641404 is an affordable jig that is ideal for hobbyists or DIYers searching for drill joints on an intermediate level.
Although the jig doesn’t come with advanced features that premium dowel models have, it’s quick enough and accurate for light-duty woodworking projects. Wolfcraft designed this model for high-impact plastic and comes with three efficient and robust standard steel bushing sizes.
For accurate drilling, the Wolfcraft jig comes with four pins for centering that you can apply and adjust depending on the wood pieces’ thickness. The pins ensure you’re drilling on the right surface as they indicate the drilling point while you work.
Additionally, the plastic fence guide will allow you to make edge-to-corner and edge-to-edge joints with ease. The guide also helps adjust the model’s distance. The 4641404 jig features an impact-resistant body that provides additional longevity while reinforcing the plastic design.
If you are looking for a basic jig that can make your woodworking precise, quick, and easy, consider getting the Wolfcraft dowel jig.
What We Like
- Extremely lightweight as it only weighs 0.6 pounds
- The impressive working system that saves energy and time
- Versatile bushing guides for preventing misalignment
- Hardened steel drill bushings for durability
- Cost-effective and affordable
- Self-centering dowel jig
What We Don’t Like
- Sometimes screws strip out while tightening
- Plastic build reduces the durability
- Unsuitable for heavy-duty projects
- Quick doweling jig that self-centers on boards to make quick, accurate dowel joints
- Capable of edge-to-edge, T, and edge-to-corner joints
- Made of high impact plastic
- Can be used on boards up to 1-1/4-inch thick
Best Self Centered Dowel Jig: Dowl-it 1000
Rockler is another reputable brand known for its high-quality materials and parts. The Dowl-it 1000 is a compact jig that fits well over the edge of workpieces. This model is similar to the other jigs we have already reviewed. However, it has one major difference.
All the jigs on this list have bushings that go into the holes. The bushings enable you to drill multiple holes simultaneously without having to move the dowel jig. However, when it comes to this model, there are no bushings. So, you will have to drill one at a time.
The dowel jig is an excellent choice for people looking for a tool to create and maintain seamless joints. Its sturdy aluminum and steel sides are corrosion-resistant. The model comes with center blocks built with hardened steel for precision drilling and durability.
The jig also has a big, steel-coated clamping screw for firm positioning and tightening. The self-centering system will allow you to handle different materials and comes with six drill hole sizes. The self-centering operation of this tool works on both round and square surfaces.
While this jig may be ideal for rigorous woodworking projects, it doesn’t have bushing. This means you can only drill one hole at a time. However, this is a heavy-duty jig that can last you for a long period without experiencing any issues.
What We Like
- Accepts pieces of wood measuring up to two inches wide
- Plated clamps that prevent corrosion and rust
- Robust steel construction
- Works on square or round stock
- Available six drill hole sizes
- Self-centering design
What We Don’t Like
- You can only drill one hole at a time
- Bushings not included
- Maximum 2'' capacity
- Boring sizes: 3/16'', 1/4'', 5/16'', 3/8'', 7/16'' and 1/2''
Best Kit for Dowel Jig: Wolfcraft 3751405
The Wolfcraft 3751405 dowel jig provides users with a lot of functionalities and exceptional features that are suitable for making edge-to-corner joints and T-joints. Wolfcraft made this doweling kit with durable aluminum components and a compact design that is stress-resistant and very sturdy.
For enhanced versatility and durability, the model’s bushings come with solid hardened steel to ensure you get to use the jig for a long period. The bushings deliver unmatched speed and precision when drilling holes of different sizes and can handle any pieces of wood that range from ½ inches to 1¼ inches in thickness.
The Wolfcraft doweling jig kit comes with nine different pre-aligned hole guides. The guides eliminate the trouble of marking and measuring the holes manually before drilling. The hole guides also work together with the model’s innovate clamping mechanism to ensure alignment as you drill the workpieces simultaneously.
You can also take advantage of the doweling jig’s precise dimensions to achieve the most accurate drilling result even on rough surfaces. The 3751405 doweling jig offers a cost-effective method of drilling with precision and speed, especially if you handle thicker pieces of wood occasionally.
This jig is for you if you are looking for an inexpensive model that offers great value for money and impressive edge-to-surface capabilities.
What We Like
- Solid alignment for different doweling projects
- Pre-aligned hole guides for ease of use
- Lightweight design
- Durable construction
What We Don’t Like
- Clamping system is unsuitable for thinner wood pieces
- Slippery depth collar can affect the accuracy
- Doweling Jig Kit that features a compact design coupled with durable construction
- Cast aluminum doweling jig ideal for creating edge-to-edge, edge-to-corner and T-joints
- Hardened steel bushings in 1/4-inch, 5/16-inch, and 3/8-inch sizes make precision drilling quick and...
- Works with materials from 1/2-to-1-1/4-inches thick
Dowel Jig Features and Considerations
There are multiple factors you should evaluate before buying your jig. However, the type of projects you intend to work on will determine the tool you will choose. So, you should find a jig that can drill any material without getting damaged. Here are the factors you should put into consideration when looking at dowel jig reviews.
Type of Dowel Jigs
Most people classify Dowel jigs according to their applicability and complexity. Here are the three common types of jigs you will find on the market:
These are the simplest and most common forms of dowel jigs available out there. These jigs are for beginner woodworkers that lack the experience of using more advanced jigs. They’re also an excellent choice for those people that are yet to master the field of doweling. Additionally, they’re safe to use and easy to understand than other jigs.
Intermediate jigs are perfect for those woodworkers that know the basics of doweling and are yet to become professionals. Although their design is comprehensive, they are easy to use. These types of jigs are ideal for developing the doweling skills and handling light-duty woodworking tasks.
These doweling jigs are for professionals and woodworkers that have mastered doweling. Although they’re complex, they will allow you to carry out advanced woodworking projects. Their advanced designs and structure simplify the entire process of woodworking while ensuring safety. Only those with advanced skills can use these jigs.
It’s essential you check your jig’s bushing size before making the purchase. The bushing size will determine the size of the hole you can drill with it. For this reason, you should ensure the size of the model you choose can support the types of projects you intend to work on.
Generally, dowel jigs bushing sizes range between ½-inch, ¼-inch, 3/8-inch, 3/16-inch, 5/16-inch, and 7/16-inch. If you plan to work with one bushing size when making furniture, then you don’t require more sizes.
The good thing about using dowel jigs with one bushing size is that manipulating them tends to be easier because of their small size. If you plan to handle different tasks in the future, you should consider buying a jig with many bushing sizes.
This will enable you to handle projects quickly and save you the money you would have used to buy a new jig. Fortunately, many doweling jigs come with three bushing sizes:
- ¼ inches
- 3/8 inches
- 5/16 inches
These should be sufficient for most woodworking projects.
On the other hand, if you plan to work with extremely large or small wood pieces, consider buying dowel jigs that will accommodate such models.
Self Centering Mechanism
This is another important aspect that you should consider when choosing your doweling jig. This feature will ensure your dowel jig centers itself and aligns well with pieces of wood. With this feature, you won’t have to worry about initiating the alignment.
If you want to achieve good-looking, robust, and flush alignments, you should center your dowel jig. If the jig is not self-centered, you risk getting the wood splitter or losing the flush connection.
This means you will have to sand the edges after undoing your arrangement. You may also have to re-do the entire pieces, which can be time-consuming. To avoid encountering such mistakes, ensure you buy a jig that centers itself while handling tasks.
Most of the doweling jigs available are self-centering, which means they use one screw to draw the two sides of the jig toward the material as you tighten it. Generally, this should enable you to create perfect centered holes. Unfortunately, some issues can hamper the process
For example, any manufacturing defects that may affect the level of thickness of both sides can make the sides to come into contact with the wood pieces at the wrong angle. When this happens, the alignment gets thrown off.
While most dowel jigs are self-centering, conducting more research is vital because the self-centering system differs from one model to another.
The type of material used to build the dowel jig you plan to buy matters a lot. For instance, aluminum is the most popular material used to make dowel jigs. Most people appreciate aluminum due to its inherent strength and low weight. These two elements make it easy to connect to pieces of wood and are flexible.
However, aluminum doweling jigs have flaws. Untreated surfaces expose the jigs to rust and corrosion. Although you can treat the surfaces and deal with this issue, most users prefer to save money rather than spending it on a jig that can resist corrosion.
Therefore, this leaves you with two choices. You can decide to buy an untreated aluminum jig and spend a lot on maintenance costs. Or, you can opt to spend more money and invest in a plated steel dowel jig.
Doweling jigs built with steel are more resistant to rust and corrosion than their aluminum counterparts. They’re also heavy, making them less portable and expensive.
However, if you value durability, then investing more in plated steel jigs shouldn’t be an issue.
Hardened steel bushings are also ideal for tougher tasks. If you intend to work on a basic project, you can go for a dowel jig with ordinary steel bushings. However, if the project is a tough one, ensure you use a jig that comes with hardened steel bushings.
Professional woodworkers may value the importance of having a versatile dowel jig. The jig will enable you to handle quickly different tasks while saving you the money you would have spent to buy another jig. To determine the versatility of a doweling jig, consider these two factors:
- The capacity it can comfortably hold
- The number of connections it can create
Dowelling jigs with big capacities are those with more than 6 inches. Such jigs will allow you to work on tasks that other woodworkers only wish they could. Other versatile models are those jigs that measure 2.5 inches.
However, you may need to look for something that is large if you intend to place dowel jigs with more than three in diameter. You should also note that some jigs can work with pieces of wood as thin as ½ -inch or ¼-inch, which is quite small.
If you plan to work with such wood sizes, ensure you get a jig that you can clamp down to those sizes. The connections your doweling jig can create are another crucial consideration you should pay attention to when checking their versatility.
The most common types of connections include:
It’s worth mentioning that not all jigs can support such connections. So, keep this in mind while shopping.
Although accuracy is an underrated feature in dowel jigs, self-centering relies on it. For example, if the bushing holes are not drilled correctly, you may be disappointed. Additionally, you may struggle to insert the bushings; however, you can use a drill press to drill them.
If you plan to buy a high-quality dowel jig, you don’t have to deal with such inconveniences. The situation can also become worse if your bushings tend to become too loose after inserting them. When this happens, getting accurate dowel holes becomes difficult.
Even small gaps can create problems. So, ensure you buy a dowel jig that doesn’t have such issues. Another problem that can make it difficult for you to achieve precision is having bushing holes that are too loose to fit. This is because they look tight for handling smoother operations.
In such cases, the bushing can get stuck, or the head of the bushing can break off and leave you with a spoilt jig. To avoid such scenarios, check the precision of your jig before making the purchase.
Before investing in a doweling jig, you should check its clamping capacity. The jig should be able to hold and sustain items. It should also load firmly. Dowel jigs have different clamping capacity. To get the right clamping abilities, check the reviews of the jig online.
Find out if the clamping mechanisms are enough for the intended project and the alignment range of the model. Once you have confirmed these issues, getting a quality jig that clamps well should not be a difficult task.
While a doweling jig is not a complicated device, it’s pointless to buy a tool you can’t use. So, the jig you choose to buy should be user-friendly to make your work easier. For this reason, you should pick a jig that you find easy to use without experiencing any problems.
For instance, if you are a first-time woodworker, you should opt for a basic jig rather than an advanced model. Avoid purchasing complicated jigs that seem to do a lot of things as you may end up frustrated or overwhelmed with features.
Also, check whether the clamping system of the jig you are considering purchasing is easy to use. Check if it comes with a self-centering mechanism and a reinforced metal bushing that can handle the drill bit. If all these aspects are there, you should have no issues using your doweling jig.
Quality vs. Price
In terms of quality, price shouldn’t be the major determinant. For this reason, before making the final decision, compare the functionality and the price of the jig. If the quality and price analysis impress you, then go ahead and make the purchase.
While doing your analysis, bear in mind that a basic doweling jig has holes for different drills. However, it has no bushings. On the other hand, standard dowel jigs feature threaded hole bushings, which you can use to drill holes without having to move the jig.
High-end dowel jigs can handle more capacity and even support more materials of up to 6 inches. So, let quality guide you when shopping for your jig rather than the price.
This should be the first factor to consider before buying your dowel jig. You need to know your intended purpose, whether it is to create sharp edges or drilling. This will enable you to invest in a model that will meet your woodworking needs since not all jigs have the same drilling capacities or bushing sizes.
For instance, most doweling jigs available have multiple bushing sizes. So, if you have no experience working with jigs that exceed a certain size, you don’t have to choose a bigger model with multiple bushings.
As we have already stated, there are basic, intermediate, and advanced dowel jigs. The categories determine the quality of work delivered by these jigs. For instance, basic jigs will give you the lowest quality, while advanced models will provide you with the best quality. So, consider this factor while shopping and choose a jig that will give you the quality you desire.
This is another important factor that you should pay attention to. While shopping, check the weight of the dowel jig you plan to buy to see if it’s something you can handle comfortably while working. We recommend picking a lightweight tool as it will increase your productivity because you won’t feel tired. It will also make your doweling experience enjoyable.
Dowels jigs make doweling easier and faster. You can drill precise holes for your dowels within a few minutes without wasting time making unnecessary measurements. The jigs also have standard bushings for different sizes for ease of use and versatility when creating dowels for furniture or other carpentry projects.
We hope our list of dowel jigs has helped you find the right tool for your woodworking needs. The models are from reputable brands and will help you complete your projects efficiently and with ease. Be sure to check the features we have highlighted in our guide before choosing your jig.