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Jointing Jigs Buying Guide

There are many joint making jigs on the market, all designed to make the creation of joints easier, faster and more accurate than making them by hand. All of these jigs feature templates or guides allowing you to cut or drill exactly where you need to without having to guess. A relatively new concept to woodworking, you will find at least one such joint making jig in any workshop.

Anatomy of a Joint Making Jig

Anatomy of a Joint Making Jig

Despite producing many different types of joint, all of the joint making jigs are very similar in concept. All of the joint making jigs feature some kind of guide or template such as hardened steel drill guides and a method of clamping the jig to the wood.

Some jigs are adjustable where the pitch of the holes can be altered to accommodate different sizes of project, others are fixed and one template will suit all. These jigs are designed to produce effective joints, quickly, and they do their job perfectly. ©

Types of Joint Making Jigs

Dowel Jigs

A dowel jig will allow you to produce matching dowel holes when creating dowel joints. These jigs usually feature different sized drill guides allowing them to be used on all sizes of work; the thicker the work, the larger the dowel you need to use. Some dowel jigs have the facility to drill both sides of the joint at once, ensuring that the holes match up perfectly ©

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Pocket Hole Jigs

Pocket hole joinery only requires one side of the joint to be drilled. Because of this, there is no need to ensure that both sides of the joint are perfectly aligned until you come to fixing them together. The pocket hole is a drilled, angled hole in to which a self tapping screw is inserted. This is then screwed through the bottom of the hole and into the second part of the joint. Pocket hole jigs consist of two angled drill guides that can be adjusted width ways to increase or decrease the hole spacing, and height ways to suit the thickness of the material being drilled. These jigs usually have some form of integral clamping mechanism allowing then to hold the wood securely during drilling. ©

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Features to Consider When Buying a Joint Making Jig

Features to Consider When Buying a Joint Making Jig

1. Clamping Capacity

Where a jig offers onboard clamping, there will be minimum and maximum thicknesses of workpiece these jigs can hold. When purchasing a jig, consider what the maximum thickness of workpiece will be and select a jig to suit. If one is not available with the required capacity then look for a jig that does not offer this type of clamping. ©

2. Type of Joint Required

When selecting a jointing jig, you need to consider what type of joint you want to create and how strong you need that joint to be. A loose tenon system will produce a very strong joint ideal for such things as chairs and other types of furniture. Pocket holes produce a strong joint and are perfect for jointing two workpieces that are angled rather than at 90° to each other. Dowel joints are most commonly used when jointing boards edge to edge as this gives the joint greater strength once the glue has dried. Dowels are also useful for keeping the joint aligned when used in conjunction with other fixing methods. ©

Tips From the Experts

1. When drilling dowel holes, a depth stop collar on the drill bit will prevent you from drilling too deeply. ©

2. Always use dowels and tenons that are the appropriate size for the joint. Too small and the joint will be weakened considerably. ©

3. To hide pocket hole screws, use a plug of the same wood to fill the hole. ©



Dakota tools are sourced from some of the world's best tool manufacturers. Carefully selected by a panel of woodworking experts, each tool is inspected and rigorously tested. Only those tools that meet or exceed expectations are approved to bear the Dakota brand name. Offering a wide range of woodworking products, Dakota's mission is to provide high quality tools to all abilities of woodworker from the weekend home woodworker to the professional carpenter.

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Check drill guides regularly for signs of wear. If the drill guides are worn then the accuracy of the jig may be compromised. ©

Ensure all threads, guides and clamping mechanisms are clean and free from debris before and after use. ©