Mad at doweling jig


After spending the day cutting lumber to exact sizes and lining up precise doweling markers, my cabinet is ruined because of a lousy jig. I did not "cheap out" on this one. It's the expensive version of the Task Self-Centering Jig and it works terribly. It may be fine for laminating edge-glued panels (probably not), but it is awful for making loose tenon joinery using dowels. The jig has two adjacent 1/4" holes, spaced evenly, so that you can put two holes on each rail and post joint.
What they do not tell you, and what I found out after ruining my project, is that the self-centering design allows the central block to have a certain degree of play in it (there is only one bearing, the middle screw). This means that the holes may still be spaced at a precise distance, but no longer square to the edge of either post or rail. The resulting difference is obvious once the joint is completed, as any error is amplified visually by the appearance of a twisted butt-joint.
I am considering calling LV and asking them to take this abomination back, but it's been a month now as I was not able to get to this project until today. Hopefully they will. I see no point at all in having a jig that doesn't do what it is supposed to do. Perhaps it works better when only drilling one hole at a time, but then why include the spaced doubles?
Does anyone use the DowelMax system? How is that? It's pretty pricey compared to this thing, but all the time I will have to spend planing the hell out of these carcases will be worth something too.
Before you consider telling me that I am just "doing it wrong" please note that I have attempted drilling with 2 different drills, different speeds, and created side blocks to allow the jig to have full support. I suppose I could rig up some precision shims to stop the "play" in the middle section, but then clamping it on would be difficult at best, considering that even planed wood has variations in thickness. Tapping in wedges would cause more problems than it would solve as well. I'm at the end of my rope. But if I am really "doing it wrong" please let me know.
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Andrew Williams wrote:

is it this device?: <http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p2250&cat=1,180,42311,42319>
if so, carefully examine your bushings to be sure that the holes are bored concentric to the threads. mine are out, and I had to do carefull shimming to get them in line, and now that they are it's a one-dowell-size-only tool.
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I will examine it but I do not think that is the problem. there is just too much movement of the bar. If the bushing were off then the error would be the same for every drilling. It is not. Sometimes I can get it to line up pretty well. Sometimes it is off by a mile.

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do yourself a favor and get a biscut cutter. so much eazier and next to fool proof. even i can get it right every time. great for styles and rails and for gluing up match boards for making end panels etc. Best Regards Ross www.highislandexport.com
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Why not use pocket holes?

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On Sun, 27 Aug 2006 20:24:25 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Ross Hebeisen) wrote:

You know, I had one of those, a PC 555. I got rid of it a couple of years later on Ebay. The problem is that it wouldn't reliably put the biscuit slot in parallel to the work surface. Perpendicular to the edge, sure. But that lack of parallelism made it useless.
I think the issue there was that the fence was very difficult to keep parallel to the cutter.
Do you know if any other biscuit joiner has a fence that is reliably parallel to the cutter?
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i've got a freud and works well every time after setting up for center according to thickness of lumber used.run mark across pcs to be joined and cut. also keeps surface flush when gluing panels. ross
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Yes! The Dowelmax is the best Doweling jig I have ever used. its build quality is superb as well. Will be something you could pass onto your grandkids. Here's my full review > http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com/reviews/dowelmax.htm
Regards,
Dean Bielanowski Editor, OnlineToolReviews.com http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com Over 110+ woodworking product reviews online! ----------------------------------------------- Latest 6 Reviews: - PowerTwist Link Belts - Ryobi "LiveTool" Range - Triton 2.25HP Router - Coldheat Cordless Glue Gun - Festool Random Orbit Sanders - Kreg Miter Gauge Update ========================
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I have the same jig, but perhpas mine has a little less play than yours. For edge joining, I do find there is a tiny bit of offset between the two joined boards, but not enough to make me start planing afterwards. The Dowelmax system is inherently superior in that one egde is always fixed, so there is no reason for the joints not to be perfect. Well, there's always a reason, but it should be a much better system. I suspect if, on your jig, the central threaded rod is not a really tight fit, there will be some pivoting, which will kill the alignment of the holes. You might want to consider exchanging it for a new one.
--
Bob

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Ok I bit the bullet and ordered the Dowelmax. It should arrive by next week and I will be able to give an update of how it works out. I pulled out the dial calipers and checked the bushings on the other jig and they seem to be concentric. I am convinced that it will never line up well with only the center bearing (threaded rod) to support it and chose to get a refund rather than exchange for another one. I think the self-centering design is better suited to edge-gluing thick panels than what I am using it for. You would plane those after glue-up anyway.
My plan now is to fill all the holes with glued dowels and cut them flush rather than cutting fresh pieces of lumber and starting over, or attempting to glue it up as is and then plane away a good amount of stock hoping to get it to look anything but horrible.
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Andrew, I also had problems with the Task and the Grizzly brand. Although the Task was better I still had problems. I purchased the Dowellmax also and was very pleased with it. Good luck.
Jonesy
Andrew Williams wrote:

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