If you have kids just getting a start in adult life (or maybe you are that “kid”), you know that moving in and out of apartments is an enormous hassle. Huge moving trucks, wrestling giant pieces of furniture up and down stairs, and friendships strained because of help requests are just some of the headaches. What if you could build a suite full of furniture that could knock down to a pile of boards that would fit in the back end of a minivan, fit through any doorway and not have any piece heavier than 8 or 10 pounds? That’s exactly what you can do with a simple piece of hardware called a “cross dowel” and Woodpeckers new Universal Cross Dowel Jig.
K-D, not RTA. The stuff you get at the big box stores is known as “Ready To Assemble”, leaving out the fact that once assembled it is virtually impossible to take it apart and get it back together again. The hardware’s not designed for disassembly and the most common material won’t take much handling before it starts turning back into “particles”. But, cross dowel joinery is different. Cross dowel joints can be taken apart and put back together hundreds of times without any loss of strength. As an example, I have a workbench I use for trade show displays that has been set up and torn down at least 400 times over the last 20 years…completely built with cross dowels.
The trick in cross dowel joinery is getting the hole for the cross dowel exactly centered with the bolt hole. That’s where Woodpeckers Universal Cross Dowel Jig comes in. By wrapping around your workpiece, you have stainless steel guide bushings on the end and the side at the same time, and they’re on exactly the same centerline. The end guide bushing directs your drill bit perfectly straight for the bolt hole and the side guide bushing does the same for the cross dowel insertion hole.
Woodpeckers product development staff worked hard to put the “Universal” into the Universal Cross Dowel Jig. It accommodates all the cross dowel sizes on the market, from tiny 10-24’s up to the massive 3/8”-16tpi versions made for workbench leg stretchers. The cross dowel position can be adjusted from 7/8” up to 2-7/8” from the end of the board. The bolt hole can be centered on stock from ¾” up to 1-3/4” thick.
You can position the bolt hole in the mating piece to give you a flush fitting face or an offset. With a stopped hole you can make the joint virtually invisible, or with a through hole the cross dowel is visible from both sides. To make that feature even more attractive, we’re introducing a line of bright-finished stainless steel cross dowels with a slightly domed end to add some style to your project. The stainless cross dowels look great and will keep looking great regardless of your environment.
The Universal Cross Dowel Jig comes with guide bushings for clearance of #10, 1/4”, 5/16”, and 3/8” bolts and guide bushings for 3/8”, 1/2” and 5/8” outside diameter cross dowels. Scales for locating the bushings are calibrated in both Imperial and Metric measurements. Indicators are laser-cut into the stainless steel locating washers, making it easy to position the jig on your centerline and hit your measurements accurately.