Shelf Support Template

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A shop-made template, a guide bushing, and a plunge router are all you need to bore clean, accurate, precisely placed support-pin holes for adjustable shelving.

Here's a jig to make boring ranks of holes for adjustable shelving a whole lot easier and more accurate. It's a template that clamps to the work-piece. You use a plunge router with a '/2-inch template guide and a '/«-inch straight bit to actually bore the holes.

With this shelf adjustment approach, of course, you have sets of four holes, two in each of two sides, and all arc-in the same level plane. A pin in each hole will support a shelf. Wanna move that shelf up or down a little? Need to make lieadroom for a new book that's an inch taller than the others? Move the four pins to a different set of holes and move the shelf.

line hitch Is that stipulation that each set of four holes must a ll Ik- in the same level plane. If the ranks of holes in one side are a fraction out of line with those in the other side, the shelves won't be level. Worse, if one side's two ranks of holes are- slightly out of alignment with each other, each shelf will be supported by only three pins. It'll be unsteady and rattly.

Nevertheless, this approach for providing adjustability in shelving and cabinctry is flexible and popular. If you use-wooden pegs rather than manufactured pins, the materials bill is low. On the other hand, it's fairly labor-intensive. (So a pro may choose plastic or metal shelf standards, which require less labor.)

If you are like me. you've seen different gizmos and tricks for boring these holes. Most depend upon a ; portable drill to bore the holes. Such approaches have ; never proved satisfactory to mc. The tool wavers as 1 drill hole after hole, so the holes aren't consistently square to j the surface. The bottoms aren't flat. Whatever jig I use gets worn and distorted by the drill bit, and eventually, the holes that arc drilled get out of alignment. It's a messy business.

This jig solves these problems.

A router bit bores a clean, flat-bottomed hole. No tear-out around the surface edge.The plunge router's structure I guarantees that the holes will be perpendicular to the sur-1 face. Its depth stop ensures that all the holes will be the same depth. Because the bit never touches the template (the template guide does), the template doesn't get worn. | Because the template doesn't gel worn, the holes are in j consistent alignment.

Making the Jig

You can make this jig either of two ways, and error «.-an creep in no matter how you do it.

The easy way is to lay out the template holes, then drill




Plastic knob with steel studs

Toggle clamp

Approximate position of router ft"-dia. holes


Reference edge

Toggle clamp



Indexing pin Template


Cutting List

Qty. Dimensions




Hardwood dowel Plywood


3 brass threaded inserts. ft"-16

3 plastic knobs with steel studs. 5/$"-l6 x I >/?"; #DK-97 from Reid Tool Supply Co. (800-253-0421)

2 toggle clamps (De-Sta-Co #TC-207-U)

2 spindles. 8 x 2Vte"; #TC-225208 from Reid Tool Supply Co.

8 panhead screws, #8 x Y*" (for mounting the clamps)

2 hex-head bolts, x 1 (to serve as indexing pins)


Reference edge

Approximate position of router ft"-dia. holes


Reference edge



Threaded insert l

Plastic knob with steel studs them on the drill press. This is fast. You can get the holes in a straight line, and you can get the first and last holes exactly 24 inches apart. But the spacing of holes between the first and last can vary. That spacing inconsistency can lead to tippy, rattling shelves, I think.

So I'm recommending that you make and use a special baseplate, which I call the incremental boring baseplate.

You use it to guide the router when boring the template holes. If error creeps into the making of the baseplate, it doesn't matter (in my opinion), because the hole spacing on the template will be consistent .The hitch is that the first and last template holes may be more or less than 24 inches apart: You have cumulative error.

Here's an example. If, to be extreme, your baseplate ends up spacing the template holes consistently "h inch apart instead of I inch apart, your template will measure 21 inchcs from lirst hole to last, not 2-1 inches. I don't view this as a problem, because the holes are spaced consistently, and the template can be repositioned to extend the ranks of holes.The incremental spacing will be consistent, though the cumulative spacing may not be dcad-on. So don't be q) surprised.

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  • Gilly
    How to set router to plunge holes for shelf pegs?
    4 months ago

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