Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Dowel Cutting Jig
 
Here's a jig that will make "short work" of accurately cutting dowels into small pieces with a hand saw.

It can be used on three common sizes of dowels (1/4", 3/8" and 1/2"). And the dowels are cut without any splintering, in lengths from 1/4" to 2" long.

Best of all, the jig is easy to make and it has just two parts: a hardwood body and a hardboard stop that pivots on a screw.
 
To make the jig, first drill three holes along the edge of the body. Then cut the kerfs out with a back saw. Each kerf is labeled so you can quickly establish the length of the dowel you want to cut. Then I attach the stop to the jig with a woodscrew.

 

Another nice thing about this jig is that it's easy to use. Start by clamping it in a vise. Then with the stop in the up position, insert the dowel into the jig until it butts up against the stop. Finally, slip the saw blade in the appropriate kerf and cut the dowel to length, see Figure 1. To retrieve the dowel, just flip the stop down and push the cutoff dowel out from the end of the jig, see Figure 2.
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