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Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig
Fast and easy to use
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 5-21-2013
The invention of shelf pins made it possible for home woodworkers to build versatility into cabinet and other box-type projects. Adjustable height shelves can also prevent a project from becoming obsolete. While there are many ways to drill the needed holes for these nifty shelf pins getting them located so that the shelves do not rock can be more difficult than we thought. The Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig goes a long way towards simplifying this drilling operation. It also makes this task faster.
The Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig comes with a matching self-centering drill bit with a speed hex shank so it fits just about any drill or drill/driver on the planet. You also get an indexing pin that fits in a storage receptacle on the jig body so you don’t lose it.
The jig itself is made from tough ABS plastic that appears to be thicker than they could have gotten away with. That extra thickness is bolstered by webbing molded into the rear face to insure rigidity. Five precisely located holes sized to fit the drill bit collar snugly have their centers located the standard 1-7/16” from the guide fence and inside edges. And the holes are spaced 1-1/4” (32mm) apart which is also the norm. In addition to the storage hole for the indexing pin the drill bit can be stored in the guide fence handle on the jig body.
To both sides of the five drill guide holes are diamond shaped windows with slits to either side that serve as sights to align the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig to a layout line. This means you can draw one square line across the piece and then use these sights to align the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig on both sides of the piece to get the holes precisely placed. That means uniform looking shelf pin holes and more importantly shelves that don’t rock.
The guide fence has a rubber face that prevents marking on the wood as well as limiting slippage. Each end of the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig is extended another 1-1/4” so you can automatically space the first hole correctly from the top or bottom of the space you are working with. This top and bottom space is also marked as “Clamping Zones” because they have supporting webbing on the backside to resist crushing.
In the Shop
Using the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig is very simple. You simply align the first hole with your layout mark or the top or bottom edge of the piece, clamp the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig in place and drill the first 5 holes. Move the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig down so the first hole is over the last hole drilled, insert the index pin and clamp it in place for drilling the remaining four holes. Repeat as much as needed for the length you need.
The included self-centering bit drills very clean holes that need little sanding later. The guide collar fits the jig holes closely so they are drilled wobble-free to fit the shelf pins snugly. The spring-loaded barrel works smoothly and keeps the bit covered until you push down on it to drill the hole.
The Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig is an obviously well-made tool with features woodworkers and contractors need and will use. The jig itself is very durable as is the self-centering bit that comes with it. The Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig is very accurate and its design makes it easy to achieve that accuracy in your shop.
Incidentally, the full name for this tool is the Bench Dog “Mini” Shelf Pin Jig but I have been leaving the “Mini” part out because I think makes this tool sound somewhat limited in some way which it is not. I suppose they could have made the jig longer but that would limit the space in which it could be used and make storage a little more difficult. As it is using the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig is both very accurate and very fast.
Perhaps the best news is that the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig sells for just $19.99 (5-21-2013). Considering the toughness and usefulness of the Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig and the self-centering bit that comes with it I think that is short money for what you get. The Bench Dog Shelf Pin Jig may not be an everyday tool for many of us but when needed it lets you be spot on accurate and do it quickly.
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