Line Boring Jigs

Ideas for quick line boring without a line boring machine (and arguments for gettting the machine). June 8, 2008

A line boring machine isn't in the budget right now, nor do I have space for it. I'm looking for ways of drilling shelf pin holes without a machine. There are a lot of jigs out there... Which is best? I'm using pegboard for now and it blows out the holes and is aggravating.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor L:
For my specific use I take a 2 1/4" wide strip of plywood and put an overhanging cleat on the bottom of it. I start my bottom hole at 8" and then every two inches thereafter. The holes are in the center of the board. I have several of them of different lengths and some are specific to a certain job with spacing other than 2" on center. I use a 1/4" Forstner bit for my drilling. This gives a very clean hole in most sheet stocks. I have a length of wood with a 1/4" hole bore through it and I place this on the Forstner bit and use it as a depth stop for the hole in the plywood. Works good, and if you screw it up, it takes only a few minutes to make another. Also since the Forstner bit is only a front cut it will not damage the guide hole in the jig.

From contributor T:
A boring machine was my first machine that I did not pay cash for. I did a tool lease which is a loan but is charged against your business instead of you personally. Anyway, it was $209 per month and saved me more than that right off the start.

From contributor G:
I use the jig from Rockler. It's made of Plexiglas and has holes at 32mm. They sell several sizes of vix type bits to use with it. I think I paid 25.00 for it.

From contributor J:
The Rockler jig is good and inexpensive. The only drawback is its length. Sounds to me like you're using the wrong type of drill bit if you're getting tearout around the holes... It shouldn't have anything to do with the pegboard. Try a sharp Forstner bit in place of a twist bit.

From contributor K:
A long time ago (well, it seems like a long time - 15 years), when we first started out, we just took a piece of 1/4 Plexiglas and drilled 5mm holes every 32mm and used that cost about $0.00 made one for base cabinets and one for uppers. Worked well. But I'll tell you after you get a line boring machine. You'll wonder why you wasted all that precious time. Remember time is something you can never recover no matter how hard you try.

From contributor D:
I don't know what kind of work you're doing but if you're doing roomfuls of cabinetry, find a way to get a machine. Drilling roomfuls of cabinets by hand will keep you right at the poverty line (not to mention the stupid line). Get a loan, a lease, steal it, borrow it, do whatever you can to get a line boring machine. It's the best purchase a small cabinet operation will ever make. They should change the name from line boring machine to money making machine.

From contributor M:
I used a Rockler jig once and hated it the whole time. My shop had burned down and I needed a way to finish some things I had started until my new machine came in. I would see if a small used one would be available or at least find a shop and take your parts to them. I didn't because the cabinets were put in thinking the jig would work well after the installation.

From contributor R:
I use templates. I take 1/4" MDF or melamine and make a template for each cabinet I offer and clamp them with a version of vise grips. I letter them A-Z. I use the Rockler bit and also 1/8" drill bit for screw holes for drawer slides. I don't have to reinvent the wheel each time - 90% of my cabinets are templated (we are truly a custom shop too). I don't have holes where they aren't needed and it's fast. I'm a one man shop and will send 40k of work through my shop this month (80 European boxes). It took me about a day to mill that number of boxes (bore necessary holes, attach hinge plates and drawer slides). I wouldn't do it any other way...

From contributor Z:
Go directly to eBay auction and buy a line boring machine today! Many have already given you the right advice to get a machine. You will save so much time and effort that you will just shake your head and wonder why you drilled by hand ever.

From contributor W:
Before I got my first line boring machine, I had a MEG jig that used a router with a 5mm bit and a collar. It would index from the top and bottom of panel and 37mm in from front with pins. It was bulletproof and well thought out and gave me clean holes in ply and melamine that were accurate. Festool also has a guide rail with holes in it for a setup with their small router.