How To Cut Wooden Dowels? (4 EASY Steps!)

how to cut wooden dowels

Wooden dowels can be used to fill gaps and cracks, fix large screw holes, make strong joints, for making furniture, cabinets, and a lot more. Basically, wooden dowels are one of the essential materials that I personally use in many projects.

There’re several different methods you can use to cut wooden dowels. Each method has its pros and cons. You need to walk through all those methods and find the one that suits you the most.

So, in order to make things go, let’s discuss, How to cut wooden dowels?

You can cut wooden dowels with the table saw, band saw, miter saw, or circular saw. Use a cutting jig, serrated knife, or garden shears to cut wooden dowels without a saw. To cut wooden dowels, First cut a square wood bigger than the dowel you want to cut. Then, drill a hole and make cuts.

But there’re lots of things you need to know and lots of different methods you can use to cut wooden dowels.

Let’s find out what suits you the most.

In this article, we’ll explore, how to cut wooden dowels using a saw, how to cut wooden dowels without a saw, the fastest way to cut a wooden dowel, and a lot more.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Let’s dive in!

how to cut wooden dowels

Methods To Cut Wooden Dowels?

You can cut wooden dowels using two different methods. They are,

  • Cutting wooden dowels using a saw
  • Cutting wooden dowels without a saw

Cutting wooden dowels using a saw is the most popular and efficient way of making wooden dowels since saws are specialized for cutting wooden objects.

When cutting wooden dowels using a saw, the table saw is the tool that is mostly used.

Other than that, you can also use a miter saw, band saw or circular saw to cut wooden dowels.

But if you’re not familiar with a saw and if you don’t have a saw how can you cut wooden dowels?

Don’t worry. You can cut wooden dowels even without using a saw. Never invest a huge amount of money in saws just to make wooden dowels. There’re some good options out there.

You can cut wooden dowels without a saw by using a cutting jig, serrated knife, or garden shears.

Cutting wooden dowels with a cutting jig is the popular and most accurate method of making dowels without a saw.

Let’s have a look at some differences between cutting wooden dowels with a saw and without a saw.

how to cut wooden dowels

Differences Between Cutting Wooden Dowels With Saw And Without Saw

Cutting Dowels With SawCutting Dowels Without A Saw
Fastest methodSlow method
Need more skillsBest for beginners
Tools need to be well sharpenedTools need to be well sharpened
Table saw is the main toolCutting jig is the main tool
Need woodworking skillsNeed cutting skills
Able to cut dowels with less effortAble to cut multiple pieces quickly in the same length

Now you have a clear idea about what method works best for you. But we’ll discuss both.

First, let’s have a look at cutting wooden dowels using a saw.

Tools And Materials To Cut Wooden Dowel Using A Saw

  • Table saw or miter saw or band saw or circular saw with a sharp blade
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Clamps
  • Pencil

You can use a table saw, band saw, miter saw or circular saw to cut wooden dowels.

Table saw is a popular tool used to cut dowels of different sizes and lengths. Plus, it’s much easier to use.

how to cut wooden dowels

How To Cut Wooden Dowels Using A Saw?

Cutting wooden dowels with a saw is a fast and efficient method of making dowels.

Here’re the steps you need to follow when cutting dowels using a saw,

  1. Find a piece of wood
  2. Cut a slot in wood
  3. Drill the hole
  4. Cut wooden dowels

So, let’s discuss each of the above steps in detail to get good knowledge about cutting wooden dowels with a saw.

1. Find A Piece Of Wood

First, you need to find a chunk of square stock wood which is bigger, and the wooden dowels you’re going to make. It should have enough room to drill and make dowel cuts.

You can select any wood you want. But I highly recommend using hardwood since they have good structural strength able to cut wooden dowels without tearing the wood.

You can buy square wood stocks from the nearest local stores.

Select stock wood with more than enough length since you need to have a good allowance to clamp it onto the table saw sled. 6” or more is recommended.

2. Cut A Slot In Wood

Now make a slot in the square stock wood you selected. Pass completely through a ¼” hole for the wooden dowel.

The dimensions of the slot cut depend on the diameter and the length of the wooden dowels you’re going to cut.

For example, in order to cut 1 ½” long dowels the cut should be placed 1 ½” from the end of the stock square wood.

I have used 6” long and 2*2 hardwood stock wood to make a 1/4” hole for the dowels.

The height should be at least 7/8” and recommend using 1” height as a safe point to measure accurately.

3. Drill The Hole

Now it’s time to drill the hole as per the dimensions. Drill a hole as per the diameter of the dowels you’re going to make.

For example, if you’re going to cut ½” dowels, drill a hole with ½” diameter using a suitable ½” drill bit on the center of the cutting jig.

When you’re drilling the hole make sure to use a drill press to keep the wood steady and to flush the hole perfectly with no tear outs in the jig.

Follow the same procedure above to make wooden dowels of different sizes. The only requirement is your square wood stock need to have enough room to drill the hole from the size you want.

how to cut wooden dowels

4. Cut Wooden Dowels

Now place the slot edge that we made in good alignment with the table saw blade.

Please note that your table saw blade needs to be well sharpened before cutting dowels to avoid wood from splitting and tearing.

After aligning the slot edge with the table saw blade, clamp the wood well onto the table saw sled on the long end with clampers.

Set the height of the table saw blade below the height of the slot. 1” above the surface is recommended for most occasions.

Now insert the dowel from the long end of the square wood stock and stop the installation when it pops out from the other end.

You can use your fingers to stop the dowel from passing the edge or use cardboard paper. Apply some pressure on the end when you’re driving the dowel inside to make it steady when moving.

Then start to make cuts. When the first cut is done, insert the small piece into the hole to keep the dowel from moving inside.

Using this method, you can cut lots of wooden dowels in a little time with no tear outs and without any issues.

Here jig places the dowel steady and keeps it from moving and the table saw blade does the cutting part. All the resulting dowels are in the exact same shape.

This is the most effective and accurate method of making wooden dowels. It doesn’t waste wood like other methods.

The table saw blade needs to be sharp and the dimensions you’ve taken need to be accurate since readjusting is difficult once wood stock fix to make a certain size of wooden dowels.

You can make both small and big wooden dowels using this method. select the wood stock with enough room and clamp it well on the table saw sled to stop individual movements during the cuts.

Keeping the same alignment during the whole process is a must.

You can follow the same procedure above when cutting wooden dowels with a miter saw, band saw and circular saw only with slight adjustments.

That’s it, folks! This is how you should cut wooden dowels using a saw.

Let’s talk about the other method of making wooden dowels which is without a saw.

how to cut wooden dowels

Tools And Materials To Cut Wooden Dowels Without A Saw

  • Cutting jig
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Clamps
  • Pencil

You can use a cutting jig, serrated knife, or garden shears to make dowels without a saw. But cutting jigs is the most efficient tool.

Cutting jig seconds only to saw when cutting wooden dowels.

You can make all the dowels of the same length and are easy to use since you don’t have to adjust the length from time to time when cutting dowels.

how to cut wooden dowels

How To Cut Wooden Dowels Without A Saw?

Cutting wooden dowels without a saw is unique and uncommon. Obliviously this method is slower than cutting wooden dowels using a sawing method and tries this out only when you don’t have a saw.

Here’re the steps you need to follow when cutting dowels without a saw,

  1. Find a long dowel rod
  2. Insert dowel into the jig for measurements
  3. Drill the hole top and bottom of the jig
  4. Cut wooden dowels

So, let’s discuss each of the above steps in detail to get good knowledge about cutting wooden dowels without a saw.

1. Find A Long Dowel Rod

First, you need to have the final long dowel rod with bigger diameter and longer than the dowels you’re going to cut.

You can buy long dowel rods from local stores or make one by yourself. In order to make a DIY long dowel rod, you need to use a table saw.

Since we’re not using a saw, you’ll probably have to buy a long rod from a hardware store.

Make sure to buy a hardwood rod since hardwoods have good strength and the able to tolerate the stress that applies when drilling and cutting without tearing the wood apart.

2. Insert Dowel into The Jig for Measurements

Your cutting jig should be just like a long wooden rectangular box. First, you need to drive the long rod through the cutting jig.

You will make dowel cuts through a slit that you make on the cutting jig.

Measure the diameter and length of the end side that you’re cutting. The length of the end should be the same as the length of the wooden dowels you’re going to cut.

For example, if the length of the wooden dowel needs to be 1”, the end part length should be exactly 1”.

3. Drill The Hole at the Top And Bottom Of The Jig

The hole you’re going to make at the top and bottom of the jig needs to have a slightly larger diameter than the wooden dowels you’re going to make.

Otherwise, wooden dowels will not be able to fit inside.

Make sure not to drill the hole too big since that will not keep the dowel steady when making cuts and individual movements can cause troubles like cutting through an incorrect angle.

Make the hole in the jig using the correct size of the drill bit. The drill bit size needs to be the same as the dowel size. This helps to keep the hole alignments steady.

4. Cut Wooden Dowels

Now all setup and you only have to make cuts. Dimensions are all set.

First, insert the wooden dowel into the jig and place it carefully. Then make the cut on a wooden dowel through the slit you made.

Keep the wooden dowel steady during the cuts to make every wooden dowel in exact same size.

The resulting wooden dowels will have the same diameter and same lengths. You don’t have to readjust anything when you’re making more wooden dowels unless you don’t wish to change lengths or diameters.

Cutting wooden dowels using a jig is the fastest method to make wooden dowels without a saw.

If you have taken and marked the measurements accurately nothing should go wrong. Simple as that!

That’s how you cut wooden dowels without a saw.

how to cut wooden dowels

What Is The Fastest Way To Cut Dowel?

The fastest way to cut dowels is by using a table saw. The table saw was able to make better results when cutting wooden dowels over a band saw, a miter saw a circular saw and a cutting jig.

You’ll have to select a square wood stock, mark the diameter and lengths of wooden dowels that need to be cut, cut a slot in the wood, drill the wood, align the wood stock slot edge with the table saw blade and make cuts.

With a table saw you’ll be able to make lots of wooden dowels in a limited amount of time and the resulting dowels will be in exact shape and size.

Make sure to use hardwood for making wooden dowels to keep the structural strength during cuts with no tear outs and use a sharp table saw blade when cutting.

Hope you learned everything you need to know about, how to cut wooden dowels perfectly with no issues.

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

How To Cut Wooden Dowels In Half?

You can cut wooden dowels in half by holding a pair of V blocks firmly with a dab of wood glue or screws to run a table saw and make cut the dowel in half.

Or you can make a square wood stock for the front and rear of the dowel and make the square the same dimensions as the wooden dowel rod.

Then attach the dowel using glues and pins. Start the table saw or band saw and cut the wooden dowel in half.

What Length Should The Dowel Be?

The length of the dowel is determined by how many dowels can be inserted into the two pieces’ joints. Twice this length should be equal to the length of the dowel.

Generally, the length of the dowel should be 36” and 48”. But this can vary on the type of project.

Length is proportional to the diameter of the dowel.

How To Cut Wooden Dowels For Cake?

Use straws to cut wooden dowels for the cake. Yes, you can use the wide straws that we use to drink out of.  Straws are easier to cut and are able to cut wooden dowels with no stress at all.

Tip:

 If you’re curious about using straws, here’s a little experiment for you to try out:

First, place the straw in between the palms of your hand vertically and try to press the palms together. It won’t rush easily as you are though. This shows how strong a hollow cylinder is.

Better if you select wider ones with thick walls. If you go for thin straws, you’ll have to use more of them.

how to cut wooden dowels

What Are Wooden Dowels  Used For?

Wooden dowels are used to fill holes in gun stock, fix screw holes, cracks, and gaps in furniture, make the wood joints stronger, for cabinet making, and a lot more.

Wooden dowels are necessary to hold two parts of wood firmly and to make accurate strong bonds between them.

Wooden dowels need to glue. Otherwise, they tend to lose the bond between the woods over time and that can damage the dimensional stability of the joint.

What Can I Use Instead Of Wooden Dowels?

You can use the following tools as an alternative to wooden dowels,

But I highly recommend you use wooden dowels since they are specialized to be accurate and have strong bonds. Plus, they are available in almost any local hardware store.

What Is The Strongest Wooden Dowel?

Hickory wooden dowel is the strongest wooden dowel since it is made of hardwood with high density and strength. Hickory wooden dowel is able to stand against high stress and pressure.

Therefore, hickory wooden dowels are used to make large constructions and to build luxurious furniture.

Hickory is a strong hardwood with excellent strength. It has good wear and tear resistance with a Janka hardness rating of 1,820 lbf.

This makes hickory dowels stronger over other woods.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: How To Cut Wooden Dowels?

In this article, we deeply discussed, how to cut wooden dowels perfectly using simple steps. We discussed the main two methods of making wooden dowels with a saw and without a saw with all the tips and techniques.

You can cut wooden dowels using a saw or without a saw. To cut wooden dowels with a saw, take wood stock, cut a slot, drill a hole as a dowel and make cuts. To cut wooden dowels without a saw, use a cutting jig, insert the dowel rod, take measurements, drill a hole and make cuts through the slit.

Simple as that!

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you knew everything about, how to cut wooden dowels with simple little steps. Try to make DIY wooden dowels and enjoy the feeling.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

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