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Repairing dowel-jig mistakes

Orange clamp with 3 boards
When cutting away a section, make the splice along a profile line or contour, if possible, to help mask the repair glue line.

Pull the ol' swithceroo

Okay, you forgot to set a depth stop, and your drill bit popped through the workpiece leaving an unsightly error, like the mitered frame piece shown above. If you're working with small or inexpensive stock, no sweat: just make a new workpiece. But if your wood is expensive, or the last of a great set of matched boards, and you really want to save it, you can repair it so the goof will never be seen.

How to fix it: Cut away the damaged portion of your workpiece and replace it with new stock. Do this by rabbeting away the goof and then gluing in a filler strip. Or, as with the bloodwood frame shown at right, rip off the damaged section and glue on a matching piece.

Plug the hole and redrill

It can happen to anyone: You've misaligned the dowel jig, and now your dowel holes on one workpiece don't match up with those on the mating piece. Or maybe you used the wrong drill guide bushing and bored holes too large for the dowels you want to use.

How to fix it: Simply glue in a hardwood dowel that fits the errant hole, let it dry, and then trim and sand it flush. Now, line up your dowel jig to the correct mark, using the right size drill bit and matching guide on the jig, and drill a new hole.

2 dowels off center

Dowel hole filled and redrilled
The crescent-shaped section of the plugged dowel proves as solid as the workpiece, and it will be hidden within the joint.

Follow the guide

In any other drilling application, trying to redrill a too-small hole larger would be a problem, because the bit will not center itself on the hole. But not here.

How to fix it: Find the correct size guide and line it up with your mark over the too-small holes. Chuck the appropriate bit into your drill and bore new holes.

Putting dowel in too small of a holes

Drilling through a metal plate
The dowel jig's sleeve will keep your bit on target, allowing you to enlarge the hole and still keep it centered on the mark.

Orange clamp with 3 boards
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