Dowelmax Dowel Jig - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Dowelmax Dowel Jig

O.M.S. Tool Company - Dowelmax Dowel Jig

The Dowelmax from O.M.S. Tool Co. is a reversible jig for aligning dowels for joined parts.

$310 (As of 10/1/2004)

(5 user reviews) Write a Review

Editor's Review:

by Mark Edmundson

review date: October 1, 2004

The Dowelmax from O.M.S. Tool Co. bills itself as a “precision engineered joining system.” Based on my experience with the tool, I’d have to agree. Although at first glance it resembles the more common self-centering dowel jigs available at most hardware stores, a closer look reveals a well-thought-out and versatile design.

The jig consists of a central drill guide that contains a series of five equally spaced, 3/8-in.-dia. guide bushings. Dowelmax also offers 1/4-in.-dia. guide bushings as an option. Each side of the drill guide has a pair of removable threaded posts that accept an array of fences, shims, and clamping brackets. The interchangeable accessories make it possible to use dowel joints in almost any situation. Although the jig came with a couple of shims for joining pieces of different thicknesses, it was simple to mill my own shims for less-common dimensions.

The jig also came with a stop collar for setting the hole depth, an indexing tool for drill-hole alignment, and an adjustable gauge used to increase the distance between holes. A drill bit included with the jig was sharp and drilled many holes into hardwood (wenge) with no sign of dulling.

Note: Price updated 1/2009

Editor Test Results:

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer O.M.S. Tool Company
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number 877-986-9400
Materials Aluminum Body; Steel Drill Guides; HSS Drill Bit

Excellent results. I guess you get what you pay for. I do like how I can interchange all the parts depending on the circumstance.

Absolutely the best jig ever. I stop doing mortise and tenons since joints made with this jig are stronger and so easy to do. I strongly recommend.

I was pleased to find a well engineered dowel jig, and happy to pay good money for it. There are certain applications that work exceedingly well, though don't expect that it will be a good all rounder and do everything for you. I wouldn't trade this little beauty for anything. I have written Jim, the designer, indicating some potential improvements to any new models. He was receptive to the ideas. So depending on what you are trying to achieve, this may be the perfect tool. I don't believe, though, that it makes others tools such as Festool's Domino nor biscuit joiners obsolete. I think that each tool has weaknesses that can be offset by the strengths of other tools.

I have 3 doweling jigs rusting in a drawer because they are notoriously inaccurate and useless. The Dowelmax is expensive, by comparison, but worth every cent. I'm using it to build a black walnut sideboard for a client and it is saving me a lot of time and frustration. I just used it to build 4 raised panel doors and it is not only fast and easy to use, it is deadly accurate. The placement of the bushings allowed me to easily place 2 - 3/8" dowels into each rail and stile joint (2" wide) with plenty of room for the groove to mount the panel. The drilling and assembly took less than 6 minutes per door.This is the most beautifully designed and machined jig I have ever seen. For my kind of work it makes my biscuit joiner obsolete. I strongly suggest that you contact OMS for a free DVD and brochure - - both are excellent. You might like to know that the inventor, Jim Lindsay, is the guy who answers the phone if you have any questions.

Easily the best of its kind, may be the best of any kind.A real problem solver for a pro carpenter. Simple to operate, and extremely versatile. The DowelMax was originally created to join furniture. I purchased it to join cabinetry and have since used it to complete tasks including:Kitchen cabinetsClosetsCountertop edgingRailingsNewelsBalustersCasingMantlesTo name a few...There are other modern methods to join wood and wood products.Buy a DowelMax.

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