Dowel Joiner from the 1980’s

Many years ago, I went to The Woodworking Show in Columbus, Ohio and bought this Dowel Crafter jig after seeing it being demonstrated.

I can count on my hand how many times I used it over the decades. There’s really nothing wrong with it, I just never got excited about dowel joinery.

The concept is simple. You draw a line on two mating boards and use it as a guide for the jig. You mark one piece “X”and the other piece “O”.

You then line up your mark with one of the alphabet letters on the jig and clamp it down. Then you flip it over and drill your holes through the circular black guides. The two guides spin and lock in place with a nut depending on how big of a dowel you’re using. Once you drill your “X” hole you repeat the process for the “O” hole.

You now have four holes that correspond with eachother. Next you can either use dowels or in my case, make a dowel with my Stanley No77 Dowel Making machine. I then cut the dowels and punch them through my Lie Nielsen Dowel Plate so they are the perfect diameter. When sticking them in the holes, they line up perfectly, giving me a nice tight fitting and strong joint.

This jig can also make dowelled miter cuts but you have to do it bass-ackwards. You first take your two pieces and mark your line. Then you drill your holes just as before. The jig had plastic 90 degree dowels you could buy as a kit. You can see how many plastic dowels I have used over the past 35 years.

After the holes are drilled, you cut your 45’s on the miter box and glue them together. The joint is remarkably strong. By far the strongest miter joint I’ve ever made.

You can buy this jig on eBay for about $20 but good luck finding the 90 degree plastic dowels. I love using this jig so much that I went out and bought a Festool Domino. Go figure. I hate dowel joints!

Resizing another Shelving Unit

I was in the process of building another shelving unit for my wife’s new booth in Milford, Ohio. She originally asked me to build it four feet long. However, once I started to attach the shelves to the unit, she wasn’t too thrilled with the overall dimensions. I asked if she wanted it cut down to 36″ long instead of 48″, but she was afraid that it would be too much work. I assured her that I could cut it down without much problem.

20170916_143343.jpg

I slapped the unit on top of my workbench and carefully measured where the rails were to be cut. I then grabbed my Festool plunge saw and rail system, clamped it to the lines and ran down the rail cutting as deep the blade would go.

20170916_145039.jpg

I then flipped the unit off the bench and cut the two attached shelves in half.

20170916_145418.jpg

After one side was free, I unscrewed the pocket holes and broke away the rails with a hammer. I then cleaned the side up with a random orbital sander.

20170916_145846.jpg

I then flipped the other side of the unit back onto the bench and re-drilled the pocket holes to the shortened rails. For the two shelves that already had plywood nailed in place, I had to bust out the plywood with a hammer.

20170916_151515.jpg

After about twenty minutes, the shelving unit came back together a foot shorter. I cut the remaining plywood to the new measurements and installed them using cleats on the inside of the rails.

20170916_153255.jpg

Now it was time for the antique shutters to be screwed onto the sides.

20170916_184259.jpg

After a coat of black paint, the shelving unit looks really nice in her new booth.

20171012_202337.jpg

Turning a Door into a Headboard

My wife Anita and I bought an old door off of Craigslist a few months ago with the intentions of using it as a headboard for our full size bed in our spare bed room. This type of “recycled” work is new to me but it’s all the rage nowadays and my wife has just opened up a business called Bella Chic Decor where she rehab’s old furniture. We’ve been antiquing for a few weeks picking up a whole bunch of old furniture to build up her inventory and she spends time sanding and repainting it. She also has rented a space at a local antique store to sell her stuff.  She’s been doing really well and the furniture she rehab’s looks the bomb so her future looks bright.

Once we got this door home I needed to measure it and decide where to cut it in half so it would work as a headboard. I ended up using three panels of the five panel door in order for the design to make sense. Cutting the door was the easy part. I whipped out my Festool panel saw and cleanly ripped the door in half. Then I filled the door knob hole and latch with scrap wood and putty.

Turning the door into a headboard was a sinch. I knew the headboard needed to be at least 54″ long in order to fit the bolt holes for the full size bed frame so I added extra wood on each side from a 2×8 ripped down to 6 1/2″.

For the top, I simply added a piece of 3 1/2″ wide ash I had lying around and nailed it to the top with my pneumatic finish nailer. From there I cut and nailed a piece of crown molding I bought at Home Depot.

After I was done, Anita painted the headboard with chalk paint and applied a coat of dark wax then clear wax on top in order to protect the finish. The old door really came out nice and makes a stunning headboard.