Dowel Making Jig Fail, Part 2

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Project by LJackson posted 02-12-2015 03:44 AM 3038 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have once again attempted to make a dowel maker. My inspiration this time has come from another one if Izzy Swan’s videos, Woodturning on a Table Saw. Unfortunately, like my previous attempts, this one too has failed. The wood just wobbles way too much, as the close up on the “dowel” reveals how far from round it really is.

The other problem I have is that the sled rocks a little. As the last picture shows, I have two wooden rails on the bottom, which are supposed to hug the sides of my table saw’s small main table. This table does not have miter gauge slots, so this was my alternative plan. I clamped the rails tight to the table while screwing them into the sled, but despite this it still wiggles a little. I slid my sliding miter table tight up against it and that helps a bit.

I think the main problems of wobble are first that I’m trying to round a 3/4 inch three foot section of pine, and also that the whole thing isn’t held firmly in the drill. The device I have stuck on the end of the drill ensures that the wood will turn, but it is loose in there.

I think I’ve given this enough tries that it’s time to give it a rest. My Veritas master dowel maker set should arrive tomorrow.

14 comments so far

View RMorris's profile


30 posts in 2124 days

#1 posted 02-12-2015 04:27 AM

That is definitely not a circle…. I like the idea though!

-- If you are going to make it, make it last.

View drbyte's profile


845 posts in 4984 days

#2 posted 02-12-2015 01:30 PM

View ohwoodeye's profile


2526 posts in 4075 days

#3 posted 02-12-2015 02:20 PM

Exotic dowel are expensive… are almost there….......stick with it and you will succeed.
Great Job.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View Underdog's profile


1557 posts in 2957 days

#4 posted 02-12-2015 02:26 PM

If you’re going to machine wood, the first thing is that you have to have stability. Having a long thin piece of wood hanging out over a cutting tool is obviously not stability. It’s a fact of life for us woodturners that we either use our fingers for a steady, or make a steady rest for long thin spindles…

You could still make this work, but you would need to place your stabilizer block right on top of your saw blade. The sled should be stationary.
The infeed hole you drill in your stabilizer block should be just slightly smaller than the diagonals across your square blank, and the outfeed hole should be EXACTLY the size you want your dowel to be. Then raise your saw till it just barely hits the diameter of the outfeed hole. Then you run the drill and dowel blank through there, and it should all work out…
It’s a bit like a manual pencil sharpener except you’re not using a static blade or making a cone shape.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Underdog's profile


1557 posts in 2957 days

#5 posted 02-12-2015 02:28 PM


Oh. You can buy dowels made from cherry, walnut, hickory, or exotic woods? And they’re cheap too?

Do tell.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2516 days

#6 posted 02-12-2015 04:50 PM

Thanks for the tips, folks. I’ve already ordered a dowel making jig, so this project is done. Another learning experience, for sure.

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4664 days

#7 posted 02-12-2015 07:11 PM

You can try this

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2516 days

#8 posted 02-12-2015 09:10 PM

DrDirt, been there, tried that. That was part of Dowel Making jig failure, part 1, my previous project.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1349 posts in 2635 days

#9 posted 02-12-2015 09:53 PM

Tryed the method Heiz use as well and had no success at all. But perhaps have a look at the method used in this blog post.

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4664 days

#10 posted 02-12-2015 10:48 PM

The Heinz method was different than the Izzy method where izzy roughed up the entry with a dremel, Heinz made a real cutting tool with the second holes he drilled. That would act kind of like a lathe skew chisel.

Seems like it would work good… but like you point out, it always looks simple on youtube…LOL

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4507 days

#11 posted 02-12-2015 11:06 PM

It would be better to get or make a device out of steel.Which will take the wood in at one end(shorter pieces would be better) and have a hole in the start or top edge side slightly larger than the wood you offer up to it and then the exit hole should be your exact size required,Then hammer the wood through so it comes out nice and round they really work great.Simple but effective.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View isotope's profile


177 posts in 2546 days

#12 posted 02-13-2015 01:15 AM

I understand that you may no longer interested in trying other methods, but M. Wandel shows a method that uses a chisel to build a pseudo pencil sharpener. I have not tried this, but would be interested to hear if others have/can replicate the results.

View kiefer's profile


5812 posts in 3589 days

#13 posted 02-13-2015 02:14 AM

Take a look at this
I have used this myself and also used the table saw in a similar way .


-- Kiefer

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2516 days

#14 posted 02-14-2015 03:53 PM

Gee, DrDirt, you didn’t have to go through all that trouble to explain John’s dowel cutter. I did try that. I tried both Izzy’s roughed-up steel holes and John’s extra side holes. I even clamped a small jig saw blade right at the edge of the hole. None of these attempts provided decent dowels without extreme force and breaking the wood in the drill.

kaerlighedsbamsen, isotope, that is basically what the Veritas dowel making jig is, an expensive, precision, glorified pencil sharpener. I felt that building one of my own wouldn’t be very accurate, what with trying to shove square stock into a larger round hole, banging against the sides of it. I like the aluminum block that the Veritas has.

kiefer, someone mentioned that one before. Maybe you!

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