From Jim Lindsay, Inventor of Dowelmax:
I have been building furniture and repairing household structures for 40 years. Both are challenging for the simple reason, the latter has to be reinforced before repairs can be undertaken and the former has to be extremely accurate so that the end result can provide strength and endurance.
The traditional way to build furniture is to use the mortise and tenon, and if this system is done accurately, the end result is strong; however the process is lengthy and laborious. Set up, measurements and cutting could take an hour or more to complete, whereas our Dowelmax system can complete a stronger more accurate fixture in approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
When arriving in Canada from Scotland, we were not well off, and I made twin beds and end tables for the children using the wooden shipping crates.
I am an engineer, woodworker and inventor and over the years I began to consider creating a device which would not only speed up the process of building and/or repairing furniture, but create a stronger, more accurate fixture. After some considerable time, the design for Dowelmax was completed, following which several more years were taken up refining the design. A further time period elapsed while creating the prototype and preparing the patent application.
Following introduction of the first batch of the Dowelmax Kit in 2001, the unit was featured on the Canadian TV show “In the Workshop” (this show was only aired in Canada). We also took part in the “Woodshows” in Canada and sold out in our first show in Toronto.
Our Description of Dowelmax:
Dowelmax is a unique woodworking hand tool which would also fall under the category “household item”. A young couple wanting to make bunk beds for the kids, or build basic furniture, and for anyone wanting to repair a broken piece of furniture, this tool turns a complicated task into a simple one.
The most complicated procedure in building or repairing furniture is creating the joints. This requires training, good tools and practice. Dowelmax removes all of these set backs and problems. Using sound engineering practice, it has been independently proven that the Dowelmax system is the strongest, most accurate and versatile system, bar none. The Dowelmax system is capable of completing any joint configuration, whether related to length, width or thickness of the material. The system is so advanced, fool proof and simple, it is suitable for both beginners and top professionals.
Besides the modular Dowelmax unit, the kit also includes a total of 8 additional items which enable the user to accomplish virtually any joint configuration. Other accessories are available to complete a perfect package. Materials used in the manufacture of Dowelmax include aircraft aluminum and hard yellow brass. Steel components are heat treated for a lifetime of use. All components are machined to tolerances within thousands of an inch.
The learning curve when using Dowelmax for the first time is approximately 30 minutes, yet Dowelmax has been described as the “Rolls Royce” of joining systems, and a “manual CNC” device. Dowelmax can be disassembled and rearranged to conform to any joint configuration. Use of the system is straightforward, there are no measurements. Machine marks on the device assure easy, perfect alignment. A small wooden joint takes approximately 3 minutes to complete. This is undoubtedly the system of the future.
There are approximately 4 competing products on the market, all of which have considerable drawbacks in the actual process or end result.
The biscuit joining system is fractionally faster (seconds) but lacks accuracy, penetration and is very weak.
The Kreg system is fast, but employs the use of steel screws and leaves visible holes on the surface, and is relatively weak.
The Festool Domino system is fast, but requires some measurement, is not as accurate and is weaker than Dowelmax by approximately 30%.
The mortise and tenon, when done properly, is a sound system, however it is difficult for a beginner to complete, is time consuming, and is weaker than the Dowelmax system.