Wise Buys: Shelf-Pin Drilling Jigs
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Wood Magazine

Wise Buys: Shelf-Pin Drilling Jigs

Why buy? A shelf-pin drilling jig ensures wobble-free adjustable shelves by helping you drill precisely positioned pin holes.

Shelf-Pin Drilling Jigs

Shelf-Pin Drilling Jigs

We found two jig styles: a plastic or phenolic template with a single fence, and parallel aluminum guides. The template style comes with a self-centering 1/4"-diameter brad-point bit, but you also can get a 5mm bit for smaller pins or slightly larger bits for brass sleeves (shown at right). The parallel-rail type are built for heavy use and cost four to five times as much. (You supply your own drill bits for these.) We tested five template jigs and two rail jigs, and recommend the three on the following pages.


 

Peachtree DrillRite #853

Peachtree DrillRite #853

Vertical hole spacing: 1-1/4"
Horizontal row spacing: 1-1/2" & 2-1/2" from fence
Standard hole size/included bit: 1/4"
Optional bits: 5mm

Test-drive:
I found this no-fuss jig easy to understand and use. Its wood fence squares easily to the two rows of guide holes, should it ever get out of alignment. To use it, simply clamp the jig against the workpiece edge lined up with your layout marks, and then drill as many as you need. To drill more in that same line, reposition the jig so the last hole drilled lines up with the 1/4" or 5mm indexing hole, and insert a shelf pin. Then drill more holes and repeat as needed. This jig's self-centering bit cleared chips better than its competitors thanks to a larger cutout on both sides of its body.

-- Tested by Steve Feeney, a woodworker with 25 years experience

To learn more:
Peachtree Woodworking
888-512-9069, ptreeusa.com


 

Rockler Jig-It #32991

Rockler Jig-It #32991

Vertical hole spacing: 1-1/4"
Horizontal row spacing: 1-1/2" & 2-1/2" from fence
Standard hole size/included bit: 1/4"
Optional bits: 5mm, 7/32", 9/32"

Test-drive:
Although similar to the Peachtree in size, function, and price, the Jig-It also provides onboard storage in its fence for the included 1/4" bit and setscrew hex wrench. Great idea, but protruding latches on the compartment doors prevent the fence from sitting flat on the benchtop when clamped to a 3/4"-thick workpiece. So I had to hang it over the edge of the bench -- a minor inconvenience. Rockler offers 7/32" and 9/32" self-centering bits for drilling larger holes to accept brass shelf-pin sleeves that fit 5mm or 1/4" pins (shown ). Both work perfectly with this jig with no adaptation required, so this single jig lets you drill all the common pin-hole sizes.

-- Tested by Steve Feeney

To learn more:
Rockler Woodworking
800-279-4441, rockler.com


 

Veritas #05J03.03

Veritas #05J03.03

Vertical hole spacing: 1"
Horizontal row spacing: variable up to 11"
Standard hole sizes: 7/32", 1/4", 3/8" and 5, 6, 6-3/4 7, 7-1/2, 8, and 9mm
Uses standard brad-point drill bits; no bits included

Test-drive:
I know it's a lot to pay for a shelf-pin jig, but the Veritas offers far greater versatility than the plastic-template jigs. It comes with drilling bushings in 10 sizes, giving you more choices for shelf pins than you'll probably ever need. The hardened bushings fit into a small carrier that mounts to the rails and ensures holes drilled square to the wood surface. When I needed to drill more holes inline with those just made, it was easy to align using the two brass indexing pins. This jig's 24"-long guide rails can be located anywhere along the self-clamping perpendicular clamp rods, letting me place pins as near or far from the edges as I wanted. The included rods let me clamp to workpieces up to 12" wide, but I recommend getting at least one set of optional long rods that extend the width capacity to 24" ($14) or 36" ($16).

-- Tested by Kevin Boyle, WOOD Senior Design Editor

To learn more:
Lee Valley
800-871-8158, leevalley.com


 

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