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How to Create Professional-Quality, Adjustable Shelving
Adjustable shelves are awesome, but creating them can be challenging. Shelf-pin holes have to be aligned and equally spaced or you’ll end up with shelves that won’t sit level, and they will wobble. Trying to drill the holes by hand is very difficult. An easy solution is to use a shelf pin jig.

Anatomy of a Shelf Pin Jig

A shelf pin jig can be as simple as a plate with evenly-spaced holes. The holes align your drill bit so that you can get consistent spacing. Most jigs are set up with 32mm (1 1/4") spacing, which is standard for cabinet builders.

Consistent spacing isn’t enough, though. You also need to make sure that you drill straight. If holes are crooked, shelves will still be out of level and wobble. The Kreg® Shelf Pin Jig (available in 1/4" and 5mm versions) goes one step further with drill guides that ensure holes are straight and perpendicular to the surface.
Shelf Pin Jig

Just the Right Depth

Drilling depth is important as well, because it keeps you from drilling too shallow or from going too deep through the material. The jig should have some sort of a stop, such as a stop collar on the bit. Look for a jig with a good-quality bit that won’t cause tearout. Holes without pins are often visible, so they need to be smooth. Kreg® uses brad-point bits, which are stored on the underside of the jig (pictured), to ensure clean drilling.

Just the Right Depth

A Fence for Vertical Alignment

The guide holes in the jig will maintain consistent spacing, but there are other important features to look for. The jig should have a fence to register against the edge of a workpiece so that all holes align vertically. Some models, like the Kreg® Shelf Pin Jig, include a removable fence so that they can be used inside already-built structures as well. Jig Fence

Ensure Evenly-Spaced Holes

In order to maintain uniform spacing between shelf-pin holes, you need to make sure that you start drilling at the same height on both sides of the cabinet. Do this by registering the starting position of the jig using the jig itself, or with the help of a spacer board (pictured). Spacer Board

Double Your Drilling Range

Some projects may require more shelf-pin holes than the jig can drill. In those cases, you’ll need a way to move your jig and still maintain consistent spacing. The Kreg® Shelf Pin Jig has an alignment pin (pictured).

Another option if you drill long runs of holes often is to connect two jigs end to end. It’s easy to connect two Kreg® Shelf Pin Jigs together using the included jig extender. This will double your range for drilling.
Locating Pin

Whether you need shelves in one cabinet or a whole kitchen’s worth, having the right jig makes drilling the shelf pin holes a breeze.



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From Kreg and Woodsmith Magazine
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