In Tricks of the Trade

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I find cutting dowels on the band saw to be a hassle. For one thing, the blade can grab the round stock and twist it out of your hand if you’re not using a support cradle guided by the miter gauge. And if you’re cutting several dowels to the same length, you have to set up a stop of some sort. Even then, the cut dowels tend to fly to the floor afterward.

Instead, I use this simple fixture for most of my dowel-cutting chores. It’s nothing more than a 10″-long pine 2×4 with a V-groove sawn into one edge. I attached a plastic 6″ ruler to the right side’s front face with double-sided tape and extended the inch marks across the flats on the top face. I cut a saw kerf at the zero end of the ruler, a bit deeper than the depth of the groove and screwed two 1⁄4″-thick plywood vertical guides on the left side of the saw kerf.

To use the jig, clamp it in a face vise, then feed the dowel stock from left to right. Line up the end of the dowel with the desired length on the ruler, and cut it off with a small backsaw. If I have a large number of dowels to cut, I put a bucket on the floor to catch them as they fall off the end of the jig. — Craig Bentzley

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