Works for me #15: Band Saw Dowel Cut-off jig

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Blog entry by Dave Owen posted 11-02-2011 10:17 PM 17908 reads 18 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I frequently I need to cut multiple dowels to a uniform length. Some projects require only a few, while others – like the small race cars I make – require hundreds. In the past, I usually drilled an appropriately sized hole through a block of scrap wood, clamped it to my miter gauge, and rigged a stop block on my table saw fence to gauge the cuts. Although this worked reasonably well, ends were often splintered, and I never seemed to be able to find the block the next time I needed it.

This jig for my band saw was easily made from scraps. It’s a little rough – but effective. The base is 1/2” MDF, and the 3/4” x 1-1/2” x 8” long block with the holes, and the miter slot runner are oak. The two photos below show the jig top and bottom. While unlikely that I’ll ever need some of the holes, while I was about it, I drilled holes from 1/16” to 3/4” by 1/16” increments. When the jig is pushed down the miter slot, the blade moves through the previously cut center of the block, neatly slicing any inserted dowels. To prevent cutting further and further into the block, I inserted a short length of 1/2” dowel in the top as a stop.

In use, I clamp a stop block thick enough for ejecting the cut dowel to the fence directly beside the blade at the desired dowel length (a pair of stacked ¾” stop blocks works great). A dowel is inserted through an appropriately sized hole until it hits the stop. Then the jig is pushed until the dowel has been cut, and is then pulled back and the cut dowel pushed out of the hole by remaining dowel. I discovered that ejecting the cut off dowel behind the stop block took more time and care. The evenly cut dowels are of uniform length, and the thin blade lets me cut more dowels from each rod.

I’ve found dowel cutting on the band saw to be both quicker and safer than on a table saw.

-- Dave O.

13 comments so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4574 days

#1 posted 11-02-2011 10:27 PM

This is a genuinely great idea. Thank you!.

I use dowels quite a bit and I have never been comfortable cutting them on the table saw or miter saw. Too many splinters. The bandsaw gives me a cleaner cut, but I have never been comfortable with the “control issue”. This is a great solution.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4786 days

#2 posted 11-02-2011 10:29 PM

I like it

Great design


View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 4531 days

#3 posted 11-02-2011 10:44 PM

Definitely going on my ‘to do’ list. Hope you don’t mind…

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1110 posts in 5306 days

#4 posted 11-02-2011 10:52 PM

Now that’s cleaver and useful! Thanks.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3974 days

#5 posted 11-02-2011 10:57 PM

clever idea which has many more uses….thanks.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Pdub's profile


926 posts in 4679 days

#6 posted 11-02-2011 10:59 PM

I don’t cut dowels very often, but when I do I have done them on my scroll saw. This will be quicker and cut them straighter. Gonna have to steal your design. Hope ya don’t mind. Thanks!!!

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View blackcherry's profile


3351 posts in 5322 days

#7 posted 11-03-2011 02:19 AM

Dave you come up with some great shop tips, I still love the Lestoil cleaning tip for blades and router bits, thanks for sharing your friend in woodworking…Blkcherry

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 4573 days

#8 posted 11-03-2011 02:54 AM

Thanks to all of you for your responses. It sounds as though some of you may make something similar. I hope you do, and that will let me know your thoughts for improvement. This one was sort of ‘down and dirty’ – but for now, it suits my purposes.

I’m glad you’ve found some of my ramblings useful, Black Cherry. Especially coming from someone with your great woodworking skills. I’ll be posting a project soon, and a blog that I expect will be more interesting than useful.

-- Dave O.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4189 days

#9 posted 11-03-2011 04:07 AM

Thanks for posting this solution to a common problem. If this is ‘down and dirty’, don’t ever scrutinize my jigs too closely! This one looks pretty polished to me. I’ll start on mine tomorrow. I think i’ve already figured out how to cut REALLY short pieces (ones that won’t reach the stop block) using this jig. THANKS!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4614 days

#10 posted 11-03-2011 08:34 AM

niiice :-).... thank´s for sharing


View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 5244 days

#11 posted 02-03-2012 02:41 PM

This is another handy jig, that I could surely put to use, if I can ever take the time to build one. Thanks for all the great ideas on this blog. I think this is the first time I’ve seen these. Some of these are rather old, so it’ll be good to bump them up to the front again.

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 4573 days

#12 posted 02-03-2012 06:06 PM

Hi tenotim – Thanks for taking the time to comment on this jig, as well as on the band saw angle jig. It’s always a good feeling to know an idea has some value to someone. One of my earliest posts was about my introduction to wooden quilt squares. In that post I showed the miter jig I used to make a small square – and ultimately larger sized ones shown as shown in my latest project post. In the interim, I have refined that jig and it’s ‘stops’. With the revised jig, I can set the stops to let me cut all the quilt square pieces without having to reset any stops – and by resetting only the most simple one, also cut all the pieces for tangrams (another old post). I expect to be posting that revised jig within the next few weeks.

-- Dave O.

View JudgeMike's profile


1 post in 2683 days

#13 posted 02-28-2015 10:15 PM

Was looking for some advice on how to do just this. I made a jig like yours. Works great. Thanks for sharing!

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