There are three main reasons you might want to use a dowel jig. The first is that you want to be able to get a uniform, even, joint. This could be on a small scale like jointing dowels for quick and easy detail work, or if you are using a 10-pound drill press to make one long or multiple smaller sized joints.
The second reason would be to produce multiple joints on a sheet of plywood. For example, you may want to make a wing joint on both sides of a piece of plywood to make a narrow baseboard to fill a small window. If you are not sure if you have enough material, you can easily run a dowel through the stock and compare its diameter.
The last reason would be to make a dowel joint of multiple thicknesses at the same time. Again, you could easily make a joint with the stock while it is still wet from a single-slab stock build. As long as the material is set aside in a towel or paper bag to dry, this dowel joint can be made while it is still wet.
The next review highlights the top products on the market today. As always there are a variety of factors involved in making a really good dowel jig. Just don’t take the cheap route – you’re sure to regret it eventually.
Top 10 Dowel Jig UK
You want a dowel jig that is stress-free and will help you save time? Then the Milescraft 1311 Joint Pro is your surest bet. It makes your work more comfortable since it is an automatic jig (not manual); hence once you follow all the operational instruction, you have less work to do.
So if you want an automatic dowel jig instead of a manual one, this one is for you.
- Six matching holes which are perfect for more difficult tasks
- Interchangeable hardened steel bushing blocks
- Strong self-clamping mechanism
- 3.86 pounds in weight
- Product dimensions 12.4 x 4.6 x 4
Woodstock is a brand known for excellence and quality, and there are two crucial things Woodstock D4116 will offer you: maximum convenience and affordability.
And as a woodworker, these two things are the principal features you should be looking out for in a dowel jig. Add to that that it is also a multipurpose jig, then you’ve got a winner. Its multipurpose design means that you can save yourself a lot of time and cost when doing different works at the same time.
- Comes with six hardened bushings
- Comes with automatic centring ability
- Handles stock is up to about 2″ thick
- Six hardened steel bushings of 1/4, 5/16 and 3/8 inch
- 2.5 pounds
- Package dimensions of 5.2 x 4.1 x 3 inches
Top-quality is guaranteed by the fact that it is made from a concrete aluminium block; hence it produces consistently accurate screw joints. It creates a seamless and seemingly invisible joint thanks to its use of pocket-hole plugs.
- Creates holes at a 15° angle,
- Pairs of 6, 8 & 10mm guides
- 10 x 2.5 x 15.5 cm; 163 Grams
Do you know why Milescraft 1309 is more than just impressive? I’ll tell you. It has everything one needs to create a precise and robust joint, and on top of that, its price also makes it reasonably economical. And because of its ease of application, it is ideal for amateur dwellers.
Its strength and endurance capabilities make it a household name among woodworkers and drillers.
- Comes with some metal bushings
- Has a strong steel dowel
- Its pins are made of fluted hardwood
- Comes with an adjustable fence for easy alignment
- Brad-point drill bits included in 3 different sizes (1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″)
- A bottle of glue is also attached to the kit
The Wolfcraft 4645000 Universal Dowel Kit is a complete starter set for all standard wood/ dowel connections. It makes very accurate joints and guesses what? It is effortless to use.
The kit includes all you will need to create 6mm, 8mm, or 10mm joints with relative ease.
- 26 x 21 x 6 cm; 824 Grams
- Has exact and stable corners
- Comes with t-butts
- Surface-to-surface connections
6. LUPA 3 Piece Drill Bit Set with Depth Collars 6 8 10mm Holes Brad Point Tips Dowel Kit for Timbers and Man-Made Woods (3pc Drill Bits)
Another fantastic product for all your dowelling activities. And its major perk is that it works incredibly well for both natural timber and human-made woods. Apart from the records I’ve read on the internet about this product, I know a friend from South Africa who has tried it out, and he confirmed that it is quite useful.
- Two outer cutting spurs
- Precision ground high carbon steel
- Single land for fast chip ejection
- Centring bit for exact positioning
- Sizes (Diameter x Overall Length): 6mm x 87mm, 8mm x 107mm, 10mm x 117mm
7. Wolfcraft Accumobil Mobile Guide 4685000 | Handy bit for Precise Right Angles, with Practical Drilling Brushes and Positioning Lines
From time immemorial the wolfcraft brand has been known for the production of high-quality products, and with this product, drilling wood at a 90° angle is made super easy and fast, even for less-experienced dwellers.
Its integrated, practical V-groove ensures that the handy mobile holder is safe for use, even on logs and pipes, for accurate drilling with the result you want on all surfaces
Also, a practical rubber buffer on the portable drill guide prevents the drill from running off-course when plying on smooth surfaces such as tiles and wood, to ensure safety while working.
- 20.3 x 14 x 3.5 centimetres
- Weight 0.17 Kilograms
- Metal drill guide bushes, with diameters of 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 mm
- A handy helper for drilling straight and at right angles – even on logs and pipes
- A practical rubber buffer on the mobile drill
An excellent product that would come in handy for both furniture factories and woodworkers, thanks to its adjustability to clamp on different thickness of wood boards, ranging from 17mm to 50mm.
- Comes with three drill bushings
- Material: aluminium alloy
- Surface treatment: Anodic oxidation treatment
- The material of drill bushing: Steel HRC50°
- Positioning dowel: 6/8 /10mm
- Package dimension: 30.48 x 13.21 x 5.33 cm; 862 Grams
First thing you notice about this excellent dowel jig is that once you buy it and take it out of the box, you would be impressed by the general quality of the metal which seems well-machined. That’s what the Katsu line of product and brand offers – superior quality.
It is an excellent fun quality tool to use.
- Made of high-quality aluminium alloy
- Comes with 6mm, 8mm and 10mm bushings
- With 9 British system steel sleeve
- Specifications: 6,8 and 10MM each of 3 and the fixed pin 6, 8 and 10MM each of 1
- Package Dimensions: 24 x 10.5 x 5.5 cm; 700 Grams
From the stables of Walfront comes another high-quality product for both furniture factories and woodworking enthusiasts. One huge advantage of this dowel jig is that it is quite economical, as the package comes with stoppers, screws, wood dowels and hole cutter also with the drill guide. And for the price, it is definitely worth your while.
- High quality 40Cr steel and heat-treated for durability
- Good wear-resistant
- Adjustable rotating knob to fit the different thickness of the wood
- Comes with drill bits and wood hole cutter for making different hole sizes.
- 8mm & 15mm bushing
Dowel Jig UK Buying Guide
First time I told my brothers about the importance of a dowel jig, they all gave me that look of “what’s he talking about?” That’s because most people have never really seen the need for a dowel jig. After all, they think they are other cheaper mechanisms to improvise or drill holes in pieces of furniture. But any good carpenter or woodworker would tell you the importance of a good dowel jig. Experience, they say, is the best teacher.
I, for one first got to know about dowel jigs through my carpenter friend. He told me how, in the past, he felt there was no need for a dowel jig in his workshop. Hence he resorted to pocket screws and biscuits. But everything changed when he got a massive contract from a school to help construct some pieces of furniture; he leapt to the sky with joy in the hope that he was about to hit the major leagues.
He worked round the clock and spent sleepless nights working in his workshop to delivering on time. And after three weeks of intensive labour, he was done, gave the work and was paid handsomely.
But something dreadful happened. The school came back a month later to complain that the pocket screws and biscuits used caused the screws to wear out; hence he had to start going through the stress of renovating them or risk putting his reputation at risk.
And that was when he realized that dowels offer more simplicity, precision and strength than any other alternative could ever give. Drilling a hole for a dowel may look so simple at first sight, but it can get complicated.
And that’s precisely why you need a dowel jig because it will aid you to drill a hole in an accurate and straight manner. And that’s why I spent my share of sleepless nights scouring the internet to get you the best dowel jigs in the market, so you won’t make the same mistake my carpenter friend made.
So without wasting time, let’s get down to the best dowel jigs money can buy in the UK
It was the highly acclaimed Turkish writer Mehmet Murat ıldan who said that “choices are abundant, the right decision is usually the rare one!” And I agree with him completely.
Since I have given you an array of choices on the best dowel jigs you can buy in the UK, there is also the need to make sure you make the right decision. And that’s why in addition to providing you with the review of 10 best dowel jigs in the UK, I’m also going to enumerate the buying guide you will need when next you want to hit the market for a new dowel jig to aid your woodworking, that way you will know what to look out for whenever you want to buy a dowel jig.
Before you buy a dowel jig, you have to consider whether your dowel jig would be strong enough to have a good connection with the wood or not. Hence, the need for a jig with self-centring becomes essential because it facilitates the proper positioning of the boards, thereby saving you a lot of stress and time when you still.
What is the disadvantage of buying a dowel jig that does not have the self-centring feature?
You will have to centre the workpiece manually, and that my friend is very chronophagous and pricey.
Ease of Adjustment
There is the utmost need for the jig to align with the wood; hence you need to adjust its firmness. However, if the clamp is unavailable, it would pose significant problems for you and probably waste your time.
Therefore, you have to make sure the adjustment capacity is fitting for all your works so that the dowel jig can make holes on the surface with a firm grip or clamp.
Bushing Sizes matters
Bushing refers to a type of bearing, a cylindrical lining designed to reduce friction and wear inside a hole; it is often used as a casing for a shaft, pin or hinge.
In buying a dowel jig, there is the need to consider the factor of bushing sizes because it will determine the kind of projects you can handle. So you have to buy the dowel jig with the right bushing size that can fulfil the plan you want.
Most dowel jigs come with different brushing sizes which range from 1/4, 5/16 and 3/8 inches. The choice is now yours to make.
As we also talk about the bushing size, the bushing material is also another factor you must consider when buying a dowel jig. The product’s durability is dependent on the bushing material. The most familiar bushing materials in the market include aluminium and steel.
Whereas aluminium is more common because of its inherent strength and because of its portability, its bushing materials are also prone to rust and corrosion. So if you must use aluminium, make sure it is anodized or coated.
On the other hand, steel is an excellent bushing material because it is resistant to corrosion and durable hence its high value. However, this high value it provides means that it is usually expensive.
What is a dowel jig without accuracy?
For a dowel jig to give you value for money and high quality, it must have a high level of precision and accuracy. And this accuracy is entirely dependent on the self-centring action.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if your dowel jig gives you the opportunity of multitasking? After investing so much in your woodworking, you need to get value for your money. Hence, your dowel jig is supposed to perform a wide range of tasks.
It becomes advisable you buy a dowel jig that can join several types of edges and surfaces and also get a dowel jig that can reach all parts of the wood with ease.
Ease of Use
If you find it hard to use your dowel jig, then the money spent on buying it becomes almost useless. Since a dowel jig is easy to use, sometimes, it can be threatening and complicated.
So make sure the dowel jig you want to buy is user-friendly and most especially, it is not a product that requires you get some special training before you can use it.
And to ensure that ease of use, make sure the dowel jig you want to buy has a simple clamp system, self-centring system and metal-reinforced bushing.
You have to put into consideration the body of your dowel jig because that will determine how long it will last. An aluminium or stainless steel body is a huge advantage.
If you go for plastic or a product without the metallic construction, the dowel jig may not perform optimally. It may serve you well is the beginning, but as time goes on, its efficiency will start to reduce. So for durability, go for a body with metallic construction.
The budget refers to the amount of money or resources earmarked for a particular institution, activity or time-frame. And it is very preponderant in your buying guide because it determines which products you can buy.
Don’t be quick to go for a cheap product; it may not last. And even if you go for the said expensive one, you may not even maximize its purposes, especially when you are not an expert. So you should set a budget and make your purchase according to your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is self-centring?
A self-centring refers to a situation whereby a dowel jig doesn’t need any manual adjustment. It clamps on the centre of the surface automatically, making your woodworking easy and enjoyable.
What is the best number of bushing holes?
There should be a minimum of five to six bushing. The higher the number of the bushing, the easier it is to perform different kinds of drilling with your dowel jig.
How do you join wood pieces together?
To join wood pieces is an effortless thing to do. First of all, you make the points you want to make the joints. After that, you make a hole in the positions and put the joints and the present parts together.
Problem with dowel jig rotations
For one particular model, I needed to drill the holes that would hold the three nuts for a three-piece housing. Unfortunately, I kept experiencing the jig rotating once it was rotated to place the first piece in position.
I did not notice this happening prior to the first-ever setup of the jig, but it was an issue after several hundred of these types of holes had been drilled.
Solution: Make sure that the jig’s surface is clean prior to drilling, and keep in mind that it is important to work under exceptionally low or even no counter-pressure.
This test is recommended: Work on an edge of the dowel jig with a drill, and if the jig is rotating, it must be extremely loose or the holes will not line up with the nut. If you experience rotation on the dowel jig, you are most likely pushing the jig too far; the nut may be too tight.
It is also important to remember that there are any number of variables that affect drilling performance; I recommend contacting the manufacturer of the jig to test it out.
According to Samuel Butler, life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises. It is a no-brainer that a dependable dowel jig will make your woodwork easier, time-saving and comfortable.
So whether you are a DIYer who loves to make small furniture at home or you practise carpentry as your occupation, the importance of a good dowel jig can never be overemphasized. I’ve done my part of the job by providing you with the ten best dowel jigs in the UK in addition to the buying guide. It now behoves you to do your part of the bargain and select the dowel jig(s) that aligns with your choice and taste.
Best Value-Milescraft 13110003 JointPro, Silver
Best Choice-Milescraft 1309 DowelJigKit, Original Version
Premium Choice-Wolfcraft 4645000 Universal Dowel Kit