I’m a big fan of Woodpeckers’ tools, and own quite a few of their layout and measuring pieces. I’ll probably be ordering a Woodpeckers router table setup from them sometime in the next 6 months.
They have a One Time Tool program where unique one-off designs, often problem-solvers, are made available to woodworkers in a preorder program. Once the preorder window closes, the tools ship out a few months later after sufficient machining time is found for the tools.
Some of Woodpeckers’ One Time Tools have evolved over the years, some are simply repeated, and some have yet to be available a second time.
I am generally defensive of Woodpeckers’ pricing. Their tools are often highly functional and built to high quality standards. They’re made in the USA, and in small batches. Producing these One Time Tools in smaller quantities means that certain costs are distributed over a fewer number of products.
That all said, their newest One Time Tool, The Ultimate Doweling Jig, is way too expensive. They say that the Jig’s on Steroids, but I’m thinking that this also applies to the price.
I am reluctant to start the discussion by being so unsupportive of the pricing, but the high pricing has really dominated my attention more than the features or functionality.
What Does it Do?
As a doweling jig, this new system is designed to make it easier for woodworkers to drill holes precisely where they need them.
Woodpeckers’ site shows how the jig can be used to place dowels in complex ways. There’s no way to achieve these results with many of the simpler and inexpensive jigs on the market.
It’s got beefy clamping jaws, and can be used for centered or offset dowel placement.
What Else Does it Feature?
It has an adjustable end stop and auxiliary work support.
An adjustable edge guide.
A beautifully effective hole spacing adjustment (you need to watch the video to see this).
It can be used to drill shelf support holes.
- 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ drill bushings and guide pins
- Metric bushings are available separately for $60 per size kit
- Edge guide
- Adjustable stop
- Extension rods
This is the main product intro video:
And this is a new “Behind the Design” video:
Pricing and Availability
$600 for the Ultimate Doweling Jig in a Case
$640 for the Ultimate Doweling Jig in a Systainer Style CASE
5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10 mm bushing sets: $60 each
The ordering window ends 8/29/2016.
Shipping ETA: Feb 2017
There are a lot of parts and pieces to this product, each requiring machining and finishing. From the design video, the clamps are made using Acme rods.
I can appreciate that this is a product designed around a purpose, with seemingly no compromises. It costs what it costs.
But $600 for a doweling jig seems like a lot of money.
And what if you want to drill 5/16″ holes? 5/8″? 3/16″? You can’t – it only comes with 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ bushing sizes. Smaller, larger, or intermediate sizes simply aren’t an option.
I have a project coming up where I need 5/16″ holes drilled down the middle of 2″ stock. 5/16″ through-holes, and then counterbores for socket head screws. If I had this jig, I would still need something else.
I have several other tool storage accessory projects coming up where I’ll need to drill centered and off-centered holes. I have a simple doweling jig, Woodpeckers’ center gauge plus doweling jig components (I didn’t want to pay extra for a bigger case), and I also splurged on a Bridge City Tools drilling jig.
The Bridge City Tools jig was partially inspired by an interest in checking out their quality. But it was also done with the fact that Bridge City Tools’ products have high resale value. When I’m done, if I want to recoup the investment, I could probably sell it for near what I purchased it for.
Bridge City Tools operates on a batch production process, similar to Woodpeckers’ One Time Tool process, but with waiting lists and the knowledge that many of their tools will be available again sometime in the future.
I can definitely see the utility in this Ultimate Doweling Jig. This jig looks amazing, there’s no doubt about that. And some of the features are certainly clever, such as how the dowel spacings are adjusted quickly and easily all at once. But if you ask me, $600 can be better stretched a lot of other different ways.
If this was priced lower, or was better equipped to be a Bridge City Tools-like Ultimate Drilling Jig, I’d have ordered one on Day 1.