Our Favorite Doweling Jigs
To join two boards, doweling jigs require absolute precision when drilling the mating holes. Like all joinery jigs, a good doweling jig should be intuitive, easy to use, and accurate. We've tried 'em all, and these are the jigs we like best.
Best overall: JessEm Doweling Jig Master Kit
Precisely machined from metal, this jig, top, comes with three sets of interchangeable drill guides (for 1⁄4", 3⁄8", and 1⁄2" dowels) plus bits and stop collars. The self-indexing fence registers positively in 1⁄8" increments for repeatable precision. For centered holes, you set it based on half the workpiece thickness, which requires a little more mental math than with a self-centering jig. The drill guides are spaced in equal increments, so you can drill those you want without moving the jig. After drilling the first workpiece, you align the second by sliding the jig's guide slot over a dowel, above, and drill the mating hole.
Best self-centering jig: Task Premium Doweling Jig
The jaws on this jig close simultaneously, perfectly centering the drill guides on workpieces up to 23⁄16". With two guides each in 1⁄4", 5⁄16", and 3⁄8" diameters, you can easily drill two holes without repositioning the jig. Because it lacks alignment marks, you have to rely on another tool, such as a square, to position it accurately along a board's length or width.
Best single-size jig: Rockler Doweling Jig Kit (3 sizes)
If you use primarily one size of dowels, one of these jigs couldn't be any easier to use: Align the jig to a layout mark, clamp it, and drill. We found the on-jig alignment marks and bit-depth gauge handy, as well as the drop-down stops for positioning the jig near the end of a workpiece. One caveat, though: Each jig locates holes a fixed distance from an edge or end (the 3⁄8" jig drills a hole centered 3⁄8" from an edge).
1⁄4" no. 59060; 3⁄8" no. 54854; 1⁄2" no. 55072
Best-value jig: Milescraft Dowel Jig Kit
This handy kit comes with three guides—one each in 1⁄4", 5⁄16", and 3⁄8"—as well as bits with stop collars, dowel centers, glue, and an assortment of dowels. Pins extending from the top of the jig self-center holes on a board's thickness. Then you insert a dowel in the drilled hole and use it to align the jig for the mating workpiece.