How To Make A Doweling Jig And Dowels

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Project by James E McIntyre posted 03-05-2019 11:22 PM 677 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Needing a dowel jig for a medicine cabinet I’m building I built my own from some 1/4” plexiglass my son gave me from a discarded display cabinet from his work.

I bought the 3/8” x 1” bronze bushings from Lowe’s and used the same QSWO for the jig I’m making the project from. Using the same thickness of of wood as your project will insure that the dowels will be centered.
I made 3 jigs (one not shown) with different spacings for a few projects I have planned.

If you make this jig use a fence on you drill press or clamp your vice to the table and move the wood under the drill to insure the holes are equal distance from one edge of the wood.
This is a mistake I made and had to correct.

Since the O.D. Of the bushing is 1/2” a 1/2” Brad point bit was used.

Hammering the bushings into the oak.

A laminate saw blade was used to cut the plexiglass. You can use any good blade to do this.

Sawing a strip off the larger sheet of 1/4” plexiglass then sawing it down to 3 1/4” x 3 1/4” (83mm) pieces.

Cut the wood the same lenght as the bushings. In this case 1” X 13/16” x 3 1/4”. QSWO comes 1/32” or 1/16” thicker than most lumber.

The plates, wood and the bushings.

Holding the jig in a clamp and vice I drilled the holes and used a counter sink for the SS screws.

Keep the jig in the clamp and vice until the two screws are fastened to the Plexiplate and wood.
Some people use CA glue but I like the option of removing the plate.

Instead of using a marker to draw a center line on the plexiglass I scored it with a sharp utility knife. It contrasts well with the dark pencil marks on the work piece.

I cut the wood for the dowels from the same white oak that my project is being made from. Cutting the wood approximately 18” x 3/8” x 3/8”, cut it in half to 9” long after taking off the edges with a spoke shave.

Make sure you use wood with the straightest grain or the dowels may fail.

Then start the blank in the dowel making jig with a metal hammer.
Start the dowel with the grain to get a smoother finish.

I then hammer it through using a piece of hard maple under the metal hammer to prevent splitting.

I tap the dowel through again to smooth it out.

Don’t worry if the dowels seem a little lose the wood is compressed when forced through the dowel making jig.

When you add glue they swell up like some of my friends at a buffet.

Using a 3/8” brad point bit with a stop
Drill the hole a little deeper than the dowel to allow for the glue.

Drill the holes on the same side of the pieces that are being joined to insure the dowels will line up. Example; place the jig on the back side of each part. I cut the dowels to lenght and ease the ends on a belt sander.

-- James E McIntyre

5 comments so far

View majuvla's profile


14032 posts in 3170 days

#1 posted 03-06-2019 07:01 AM’s on ’’got to do’’ list!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Notw's profile


708 posts in 2056 days

#2 posted 03-06-2019 03:02 PM

I’ve made several of these but never with the plexiglass, i really like that idea

View Kelster58's profile


715 posts in 842 days

#3 posted 03-09-2019 12:26 AM

That is a cool solution. No need to purchase an expensive tool. GREAT job!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

287 posts in 1595 days

#4 posted 03-09-2019 08:04 PM

Thanks for all the nice comments. Well all three of them.

-- James E McIntyre

View RituGupta's profile


20 posts in 101 days

#5 posted 03-15-2019 04:47 AM

It looks like you guys are becoming totally unbelievable these days! What a unique creation that I would have bought off the shelves. I have to admit though your personal masterpiece is far more ingenious than the one displayed online.

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