Tool Review: Dowel Wizard doweling jig
Add some magic to dowel joints
Dowels are one of the quickest ways to put furniture together. It’s good to use more than one dowel at each joint to keep adjoining surfaces parallel and prevent racking, but lining up mating holes can be tricky. The Dowel Wizard makes the process easy. Two hardened steel drill guides are spaced 1 in. apart with a registration line in the middle. The drill guides are threaded for easy and accurate interchange, and three sizes (3⁄16 in., 1⁄4 in., and 3⁄8 in.) come with the tool.
The overall design is stellar. Two pivot arms connect the guide block to the side plates, creating a parallelogram that automatically and quickly centers the guides to accommodate workpieces of different thicknesses. The Dowel Wizard will accept stock up to 2 in. thick. A clearly marked centerline makes alignment a snap. The manufacturer recommends using a clamp to hold the guide in place, but I found I could hold it securely enough by hand to drill the holes. When you’re finished using the jig, it folds flat to fit easily in an apron pocket.
One drawback to the tool is that when you’re drilling only one hole, your registration mark will have to be offset 1⁄2 in. to match the offset of the centerline. Also, while the jig can handle face to edge joints—all you do is remove one of the side plates—I found it inconvenient.