Introduction: Simple Dowel Maker Jig

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This is a quick and simple build - but it works great, is very functional and easy to adapt.

This is not my original idea. I have seen many variations around, but I have never seen anyone built with a washer before. Most other jigs/dowel makers use a steel bar of somekind.

I made this because I was in need of some dowels for another project, and I put this togheter for that purpose. it worked better than I expected.

This takes less than an hour to make.

I used the following parts and tools.


  • Block of wood (2x4) around 20 cm long or so.
  • Washers (construction washers used for framing or deck construction). Get the square ones if possible. I used a 9 mm washer in this instructable.
  • Wood screws.
  • Wood to make dowels from (with straight grain and no knots)
  • Some wood screws.


  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Bandsaw
  • Block plane
  • Knife
  • Pen
  • Drill (with at least 13 mm chuck).
  • Sanding paper
  • 3 mm drill bit (HSS for steel)
  • 10 mm drill bit (HSS for steel)

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There is also a small video - if you want to see the steps in motion pictues here!

Step 1: Start With the Parts

I used a small cut off (2x4). Around 20-22 cm long. I can put several sized washers in the same block to make different sized dowel. I will add more later. For this instructable I will make a 10mm size.

Start with a smaller sized washer. The washers usually have odd sizes not to catch with your screws or bolts. So use a size 9 mm washer for making a 10 mm dowel maker jig.

Step 2: Place the Washer

Place the washer adn trace around it with a pen.

I figure there will be a lot of force with this design on the washer. The torque will come from the dowel turning inside the washer and some fibers may catch.

I made a small recess in the block with a chisel to make the washer fit inside.

Step 3: Fasten the Washer

After that, I will make a small hole (3 mm).

To stop the drill from wondering off, I make a small indent with a screw and hammer (in the washer) where I want to make the hole.

After the hole is made. I use the larger 10 mm drill bit to make a countersink in the washer. You can see it in one of the picture.

Then I secure the washer with an ordinary wood screw.

Step 4: Make It Look Sharp

Now I make the center hole of the washer the final size. I use the same 10 mm drill bit and drill trough the washer and wood.

With the same technique (making an indent) I countersink 3 holes around the center holes.

The outer edge of these holes need to overlap the center hole. This will create a very sharp edge that will grind and cut away the wood, when it is forced into the center.

If this jig gets dull. You can do a few more turns with the drill to make the edges sharp again. Or make an new washer if needed.

Step 5: Adding a Second Screw

Lastly I will add a second screw to the washer, securing it to the wooden block.

Step 6: Preparing the Stock

If you dont have a bandsaw, you can ofcourse make your stock in anyway you like. This works for me. I make the stock aroind 11 mm x 11 mm.

I use a blockplane and round over the edges. Making the stock as round as possible.

I use a knife to make one end of the stock pointy. This will make the start of the cutting go a lot easier.

Step 7: Using the Dowel Maker Jig

I clamp the jig in my vise and secure the stock in my drill (right in the chuck).

Push the pointy end into the hole. When it catch the wood, it will start cutting, scraping and scale the wood. After you get the dowel started it doesnt require as much force.

Also it depends on how much wood it needs to cut of.

Step 8: The Dowels Are Done

Cut of the ends of the dowels.

The result is very smooth and consistent. My first dowels were made of pine. A soft wood. But it worked well with oak too.

If needed, you can sand them a bit too. Just led the drill rotate them and hold the sanding paper in the other hand.

Now I need to add other sizes to the block with other sized washers, so I can make more dowels when needed. :-)

I also think this is a great way to make arrows (arrow shafts). I will try this in the future.

Here is that small video again!

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