No matter what power tool I use, I can never get clean, flush cuts on wooden dowels.This 5-minute dowel cutting jig will give you perfect cuts every time.
The problem with cutting dowels (especially small ones) on a chop saw is that the bottom of the dowel always chips out. The table saw usually makes for slightly better results, but the same problem occurs. On the band saw I can sometimes get a cleaner cut since the teeth are much smaller, but there’s still some degree of chipping and they’re never perfectly flush.
With a dowel cutting jig, not only can you avoid chipping altogether, you can cut multiple pieces the same length very quickly.
Step 1: Cut a Slot
Get a piece of square stock that’s big enough for the dowel you want to cut. I’m cutting 1/4” dowels, so I used a piece of 2X2 (1 1/2” X 1 1/2”) hard wood.
I wanted to make sure there was enough stock leftover to clamp the stock to the table saw sled, so I made the piece 6” long. I’m cutting several dowels that are 1 1/2” long, so I measured 1 1/2” from the end of the stock to cut the stock. This cut is going to pass completely through the 1/4” hole for the dowel, to it has to be at least 7/8” high through the middle of the stock. I made it 1” high for good measure.
Step 2: Drill a Hole
Since my dowels are 1/4” Ø, I drilled a hole with a 1/4” bit on the center of the jig. It’s important to use a drill press for this hole to make sure you’re getting a perfectly flush hole in the jig.
This same method would work for dowels of any diameter provided there's enough material for the
Step 3: Make Some Cuts
Make sure the edge of the slot is aligned properly with the side of the blade, then clamp it to the table saw sled on the long end. With the height of the blade set to 1” above the surface of the sled, insert the dowel from the long end and stop it at the edge. You could probably be more sophisticated with stopping the dowel at the end, but I just used my finger and put some pressure on the long end of the dowel to keep it from moving. When the cut is done, just put the small piece through the hole.
Once you get the hang of it, you can crank these out very quickly. The cuts are prefect every time because the hole in the jig keeps the wood fibers together while the saw does the cut. This would work with larger dowels as well, but it's especially useful on smaller ones.