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Thread: Sizing Shelf Pins

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Trinity County - 160 miles north of San Francisco. Redwood forest.

    Sizing Shelf Pins

    I foresee boring a lot of shelf pin holes next year, and thought using a plunge router rather than drilling, would be the ticket.

    What size do you bore for shelf pins.

    Lee Valley sells 5mm pins, 5.5 mm sleeves, 1/4" paddles with 5/16" sleeves.

    Are the sleeves for softwood?

    Gary Curtis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    The sleeves go with the 1/4" pins or paddles and give it a more finished appearance. One gotcha with sleeves though, is then the pins fall out more easily, but if your shelves are flat and your holes are straight thats not a problem.

  3. #3
    I always use the sleeves, because it looks so much more 'finished'... and have found that the pins go in easily part of the way, and 'lock' in once they're all the way in place and are quite tight.

    I think they also sell the pins and sleeves in standard and metric, which may account for a loose/tight fit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana

    i tried the router and hated it....the bits would always burn the wood. i was going to try an upspiral bit to help with cleanout, but then i saw this.

    fairly cheap, and fool proof. takes less time than with a router and it's quiter.

    i used this alot before i bought my boring machine


    almost forgot, it comes with a 5mm bit or a 1/4" bit.....also you can buy the appropriate bit for using the sleeves for each size. i prefer the look of the 5mm because it's a little smaller
    Last edited by Chris Mire; 12-22-2007 at 01:26 PM. Reason: added info

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Long Hill Township, NJ

    I also used the Rockler drill jig Chris suggested to build a triple bookcase for the home office. I had a liitle tearout issue with the veneer on the oak ply. I think I reduced that by changing the drill speed - can't remember if it worked better faster or slower (sorry).

    I think the holes look "ok" without the sleeves, but I'd consider using the sleeves on my next shelf pin project.

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited by Jim Mattheiss; 12-24-2007 at 02:15 AM. Reason: fixing smileys

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana
    jim i had some issue with tearout too, it was worse on cheaper plywoods and better on nicer veneers. i was going as fast as i could, because for me time is money, so i would think slow would be better.

  7. #7
    Often I use shelf pins, Never have I used the inserts, I made a jig from some scraps of 1/4" peg board. I skip every other hole making my incruments 2" apart I use a stop block on the drill and bore exact 1/4" holes. Sand a bit and finish properly the results are smooth holes with a slight bit of finish inside that makes for a tight 1/4" fit. Looks good, works fine, why bother with the inserts?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Grove City, Ohio
    I use the 1/4" pins without the inserts and have not had any problems. I use a home made jig and the DrillRite bit from Woodcraft. This bit has a brad point type of bit and tear out has not been a problem. I do use a high speed drill with the bit.

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