Woodworking Tips Index
Drilling Shelf Pin Holes
I like to use adjustable shelves with many of my storage projects. They add a lot of flexibility, allowing me to store a variety of items without worrying if they'll fit. Of course, alignment and spacing of the holes is fairly critical since you don't want shelves that sit crooked or wobble. To achieve uniform spacing for the holes, nothing works better than a layout jig.
For a recent project, I built a simple jig that leaves a starter dimple at each hole, see the drawing at right. You simply position the jig, give each of the nails a tap, then slide it down to mark the next pair of holes, as shown in the middle drawing.
Once you've located the first set of holes, simply align the edge of the jig with the last dimple for the next set. This assures evenly spaced holes without having to lay out each hole individually.
The dimples help keep a regular twist-style bit from wandering as you drill the hole. But, if you have one, it's best to use a brad-point bit. This way you'll get less chipout around the holes. I also use a stop collar. As careful as you may try to be, it's easy to have an attention lapse after drilling several holes and blow right through the side of the workpiece.
To keep the collar from marking up the sides of your workpiece (I was using melamine), cut a small disk out of a plastic milk jug and slip it over the bit so it rides between the collar and the workpiece, see the drawing at right.
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